Integration of self-employed persons; application for benefits.

If you receive unemployment benefit II and would like to become self-employed or are already self-employed, your job center can support you with necessary purchases of material goods and with free advice and training.


You can receive the subsidy if you

  • receive unemployment benefit II or are entitled to it
  • want to become professionally self-employed (start-up),
  • want to expand a previously marginal self-employed activity into your main occupation, or
  • are already self-employed on a full-time basis.

The aim is to enable you to support yourself permanently within a reasonable period of time and no longer require unemployment benefit II (Hartz IV).

Financial support for the purchase of material goods

If you want to purchase material goods that you need for your work, you can get a loan or a grant for this from your job center. Material goods can be, for example:

  • Computers,
  • software,
  • telephone,
  • office furniture,
  • marketing measures (for example, creation of a homepage)
  • Vehicles, machinery, equipment, tools
  • Deposit for commercial premises
  • Initial equipment and operationally necessary stocking up of your material, goods or spare parts warehouse.

No ongoing operating costs will be covered, such as

  • Wages and personnel costs,
  • rent,
  • telephone bills or
  • maintenance costs.

Financial support for the purchase of material goods is usually provided in the form of a loan. In individual cases, grants are possible up to an amount of EUR 5,000, loans even beyond that. A combination of both is possible. Loans and grants are paid out in monthly installments or as a total amount, depending on the intended use. You must repay the loan later, but not the grant.

You must apply for Jobcenter funding before you make the purchase. It is not possible to receive a loan or grant for material goods that have already been purchased.

Free advice and training for the self-employed

If you are already self-employed on a full-time basis, you can also receive support through

  • Consultations that help you to maintain or reorient your self-employed activity (tax and legal consultations, however, are not subsidized)
  • Training courses that provide you with entrepreneurial knowledge, for example in the areas of marketing, accounting, acquisition or project management.

Both are free of charge for you. Your job center will commission your local Chamber of Industry and Commerce or Chamber of Crafts, private training providers, innovation, technology or start-up centers, for example.

Your integration specialist will check and decide which of the aforementioned services you can receive. This also applies to the amount of a loan or grant. This means that you have no legal claim to it.


In order to receive the benefits, the following requirements must be met:

  • You are receiving unemployment benefit II (Hartz IV).
  • You want to become self-employed or are already self-employed, which means that
    • You work in your own name and on your own account and
    • You bear the economic risk of your activity (entrepreneurial risk).
  • Self-employment must be your main occupation, which means
    • you work at least 15 hours per week on a self-employed basis and
    • You are able to support yourself entirely or to a significant extent with the income you generate within a reasonable period of time.
  • You must be personally suitable to successfully pursue a self-employed activity. To do this, you must prove that you have the knowledge and skills you need for self-employment, for example, through
    • Evidence of your professional and entrepreneurial qualifications,
    • professional experience or
    • participation in measures that prepare you for starting your own business.
  • Your self-employment activity must be economically viable, which means that
    • Your business model must be elaborated and thought out in such a way that your business start-up can be successful in the long run
    • The viability of your self-employed activity must be proven by an expert opinion. Expert bodies can be chambers, professional associations or start-up initiatives. Your job center will provide you with the name of the competent expert office in your region. You will usually have to submit detailed documents to them (see "Required documents" above).
  • The material goods you wish to purchase must be appropriate and necessary for your work.
  • Other sources of funding are out of the question, e.g. special federal and state programs, local business development or micro-loans
  • The funding must comply with EU state aid law (de minimis regulation).


You must apply for funding before you can receive financial support for purchases or take advantage of the consulting services.

  • To do this, first make an appointment with your responsible job center.
  • Your integration specialist will discuss with you whether self-employment can be a realistic strategy for you to integrate into the labor market and end your need for assistance, and which type of support is suitable for you.
  • Loans and grants for the purchase of material goods:
    • Your integration specialist will hand you the application form. It is important that you submit the application for the subsidy before you purchase the material goods.
    • The job center will check your application and the attached documents.
    • The Jobcenter assesses your personal suitability for the specific self-employment activity and the economic viability of your business. This includes a forecast of whether you will be able to earn your living through self-employment within a reasonable period of time.
    • You will receive written notification from the responsible job center as to whether your application will be approved.
    • After positive feedback, you can make the purchases.
    • You must then submit evidence to prove what you have spent the funds on, for example, purchase contracts, receipts or bank statements.
  • Counseling and skills training:
    • Your Job Center contracts counseling and training with outside educational providers. You can find out more from your job center.


Prior application required / deadlines are set by the respective job center (for example, deadlines for submitting documents)

Processing time

If you have submitted your documents in full, the review and decision and the issuance of the notice usually takes about 4 weeks.

Required documents

  • Required Documents

    In order to receive funding, you must submit the relevant documents. Your integration specialist will inform you which of the following documents are necessary for the funding you are applying for:

    • Expert opinion confirming that your self-employed activity is economically viable.
    • De-minimis declaration (EU state aid law)
    • Capital requirement/financing plan
    • Business plan in text form
    • Curriculum vitae
    • Tax registration/trade registration/registration with the chamber of handicrafts
    • Certificate of participation in a business start-up seminar
    • Quotations of the investments necessary for the business
    • If applicable, contract documents such as articles of association or rental agreement
    • At least 2 rejections from banks to which you have submitted loan applications
    • Other individual documents that the job centre may request


  • None


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