A funding programme of the Federal Office of Economics and Export Control (BAFA) subsidises consultations of small and medium-sized enterprises in economic, but also financial, personnel and organisational subject areas. The programme called “Promotion of Entrepreneurial Know-How” is aimed in particular at companies in economic difficulties and provides them with a consulting grant for all questions concerning the restoration of performance and competitiveness.

The funding programme is initially aimed at companies based in the Federal Republic of Germany. Included are start-ups that are not older than two years, existing enterprises from the third year after foundation and enterprises that are in economic trouble – regardless of their enterprise age. The last mentioned must in addition to having their registered office in Germany fulfil the conditions of the guidelines on state aid for rescuing and restructuring non-financial undertakings in difficulty (2014/249/01), point 20(a) or point 20(b).

However, entrepreneurs or freelancers who carry out advisory or training economic activities and those for whom insolvency proceedings have been opened or who fulfil the requirements for this are not eligible to apply. Furthermore, such enterprises are excluded that are in a participation relationship with religious communities, legal persons under public law or their own enterprises and also non-profit enterprises. In addition, agricultural enterprises and those active in fishing and aquaculture are not eligible to apply.

The funding programme “Promotion of Entrepreneurial Know-How” covers various advisory areas, which are divided into general advisory services on all economic, financial, personnel and organisational issues of business management and many special advisory services.

This also includes advice on the subject of digitalisation and procedural documentation.

The special consultations include, among others, those enterprises that are run by women, migrants or migrant women, or by entrepreneurs with a recognised disability or enterprises that provide special support to people with disabilities or migrants. In addition, for example, special consultations are also possible for companies that contribute to gender equality and better compatibility of family and work or especially to sustainability and environmental protection.

Enterprises in difficulty receive subsidies for counselling for business security counselling to restore economic performance and competitiveness and can also take advantage of further general follow-up counselling.

While young enterprises and enterprises in difficulty can claim the subsidies over the entire subsidy period of 6 months, the subsidy for existing enterprises is limited to a maximum of five consulting days.

The amount of funding depends on the type of company and the respective region. Start-ups receive a subsidy rate of 50%-80% depending on the region, with an assessment basis of 4,000 euros. The same applies to existing companies, whereby the assessment basis here is 3,000 euros. Unternehmen in Schwierigkeiten erhalten unabhängig vom Standort einen Fördersatz von 90% bei einer Bemessungsgrundlage von 3.000 Euro.

Advisory services under the funding programme are provided by self-employed advisors or by advisory firms that generate their predominant turnover through advisory services. In addition to the approval in the funding procedure, they have to provide a certain proof of quality in order to ensure that the counselling is carried out in accordance with the guidelines.

Before submitting an application, start-ups and companies in difficulty must have had an informational interview with a regional person of contact, which is free of charge for them. This requirement does not exist for existing companies. The application must be submitted via BAFA’s online application platform no later than three months after this interview. After receiving an information letter, certain documents must be submitted until finally the registration and, after approval, the payment of the grant can take place.
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