I need a dollar: this is where founders get money

I need a dollar: this is where founders get money

To collect money for the start-up, there are many possibilities. Some types of financing are easier to implement than others. Because no one gives away their money. Investors want shares for their capital investment, business angels want a say and banks want certain securities or guarantees. Which financing fits the respective project depends on various factors. An important point of contact here are the development banks of the states, which often have a large toolbox for financing at the ready.

The development bank, also known as the state development institute, is the federal state counterpart to KfW Bank, which operates throughout Germany. Here loans are granted that come from public funds. In some cases, these subsidized loans do not have to be repaid, they start repayment much later than conventional loans, or they do not require the collateral that a bank would demand. So accessing money through a development bank is particularly lucrative.

The way to a subsidized loan

In order to obtain such a subsidized loan or start-up loan, the first point of contact for founders and those interested in founding a company is usually the company's bank. Individual products of the development banks can also be applied for directly at the development bank. How founders obtain the individual subsidies must therefore always be examined individually.

If the route leads via the house bank – which can be any bank or savings bank – it forwards the loan application to the relevant development bank, provided it is convinced of the start-up project. If the subsidized loan is approved, the loan commitment is returned to the house bank, which regulates the further loan conditions and takes over the disbursement of the subsidized loan.

Now that you know the concept of the development bank, all you need to know is what the development bank has to offer in your federal state. Therefore, in a three-part series, we will introduce you to all of the development banks in Germany. We start with these six development banks:

  • Investitionsbank Berlin
  • Investment Bank of the State of Brandenburg
  • Investitions- und Förderbank Niedersachsen
  • Landesförderinstitut Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
  • Schleswig-Holstein Investment Bank
  • Investment Bank Saxony-Anhalt


Today we present six of a total of 16 development banks

IBB: Development bank in Berlin

In Germany's capital, Investitionsbank Berlin (IBB) is the responsible development bank for Berlin's founders and those interested in setting up a business. The bank focuses primarily on loan-based and investment-oriented financing. IBB also supports small and medium-sized enterprises in Berlin with consulting services. The Förderbank's product range is supplemented by a number of grant programs to promote technologies and investments. Overall, the focus of Berlin's development bank is on companies operating in the healthcare industry, ICT, media, creative industries, optical technologies, transportation, mobility, logistics and energy technology.

Selected programs of the IBB

For the target group of founders of new businesses, young entrepreneurs and freelancers, IBB offers several funding products at once. The most important programs for founders include "Berlin Kredit", "Berlin Start" as well as the grants for the "Improvement of the Regional Economic Structure (GRW)" and for research, development and market introduction of innovations ("Pro FIT").

  • For those seeking financing for investments and working capital, the low-interest "Berlin Loan" may be relevant. The loan can be used, for example, to finance land, machinery, equipment, furnishings, materials or goods. The loan amount can vary between 100.000 euros and 1 million. Euro lie.
  • Berlin Start" is a low-interest loan offered in conjunction with a guarantee from BBB Bürgschaftsbank zu Berlin-Brandenburg. It can be used for investments, operating funds or company takeovers between 5.000 euros and 250.000 euros.
  • The joint task "Improvement of the regional economic structure" (GRW) serves to support existing companies and start-ups with investment projects to create and secure jobs. Subsidies are available for investments starting at 10.000 euros.
  • Pro FIT early-stage financing" supports technology-oriented start-ups in building up their business infrastructure and financing general business operations. The total grant of 500.000 euros can be divided into two phases.

Other support products offered by Investitionsbank Berlin that fall within the scope of start-up support are:

  • Microloan from the SME Fund: short-term financing up to 25.000 euros
  • Berlin Kredit Innovativ: Loans between 100.000 Euro and 1 Mio. Euro
  • Per FIT project funding: grants of up to 400.000 euros and loans of up to. Euro
  • VC Fonds Kreativwirtschaft/Technologie: open investments up to 3 Mio. Euro
  • SME Fund: Loans up to 250.000 euros (start-up) and up to 10 million. Euro (growth)
  • EFRE guarantee fund: guarantees for start-up/expansion investments
  • State guarantees: Guarantee with a quota of 70% of the loan amount
  • Coaching BONUS: Grants for business coaching services
  • Innovation assistant: Subsidy for newly hired assistants
  • Transfer BONUS: Funding of applied R&D projects
  • Interim financing of film productions together with ILB

ILB: Development bank in Brandenburg

The Investment Bank of the State of Brandenburg (ILB) supports start-ups, freelancers and agricultural companies in Brandenburg with subsidies. The ILB's funding covers outside capital in the form of loans and guarantees, grants and equity capital in the form of open or silent participations. But also free consultations and qualification offers are part of the offer.

Selected programs of the ILB

The "Brandenburg-Kredit", the "BFB Frühphasenfonds Brandenburg" and the subsidy "ProFIT Brandenburg" are among the most important subsidy products for founders. But grants such as "Gründung Innovativ" also aim to support Brandenburg founders.

  • The "Brandenburg-Kredit" is an essential funding product of the ILB. It should be used to finance a start-up, business succession, active participation or for working capital and investments. The loan amount for founders and SMEs up to max. 5 years can be up to 25 Mio. Euro amount.
  • The "BFB Frühphasenfonds Brandenburg" is designed, among other things, to support R&D projects in the early stages, company set-up, feasibility studies, production of prototypes, patent, market and competition research, completion of the business plan, process and product development or coaching with a maximum contribution of up to. Euro financing.
  • The "ProFIT Brandenburg" subsidy is used to implement technologically new ideas. Specifically targeted at projects in the phases of industrial research (grant), experimental development (loan) and production set-up, market preparation and market launch (loan). A loan can be granted up to. Euro per project, a grant of up to 400.000 euros per project partner.
  • The grant "Gründung Innovativ" between 25.000 euros and 100.000 euros is aimed at innovative SMEs in the first three years. The funding topics are aimed at investments in tangible assets, personnel costs for new jobs and consulting services by external consultants.

Further funding offers of the Investitionsbank des Landes Brandenburg, which fall into the area of start-up support, are:

  • Microloans: Loans between 2.000 euros and 25.000 euros
  • BFB Wachstumsfonds Brandenburg: open/silent investment of up to 3 mio. Euro
  • Brandenburg Garantie innovativ: Loans between 100.000 euros and 5 million. Euro
  • GRW-G growth program: Grant for expenses between 60.000 Euro and 2 Mio. Euro
  • Master craftsman start-up premium: grant for start-ups/acquisitions by master craftsmen
  • Market development abroad and trade fairs: Grant for trade fair promotion/market development
  • Brandenburg innovation specialist: employment support for working students/assistants
  • Brandenburg innovation voucher for scientific research/short R&D projects

NBank: Development bank in Lower Saxony

Investitions- und Förderbank Niedersachsen, or NBank, is the universal development bank for all of Lower Saxony. In addition, the NBank is the contact in Lower Saxony for the funding programs of the European Union, the federal government, the state and the local authorities. The NBank's remit includes securing and improving the SME structure of the economy. Here, the focus is primarily on the financing of start-ups. The Investitions- und Förderbank Niedersachsen (investment and development bank of Lower Saxony) offers start-ups loans, development services and grants.

Selected programs of the NBank

MikroSTARTer Niedersachsen" is a microloan from the NBank, which can be granted in the amount of 5.000 euros up to 25.000 euros can be taken out. The loan can be used for expenses related to the project of establishing or expanding or. the growth of the company. This means that the money can be used for investments, operating resources or training and further education. Another loan is the "Niedersachsen-Gründerkredit". This can be used to finance business start-ups, business succession, consolidation measures, investments and operating funds that are up to 500.000 euros, are financed.

NBank offers funding as an "integration project" to business founders who, for example, want to create new jobs for severely disabled people by expanding their business. These are projects that meet the challenge of employing severely disabled people who have hardly any opportunities for integration in the general labor market. For the creation of such jobs, companies in Lower Saxony receive a personnel cost subsidy as well as a lump sum for the special expenses of severely disabled employees.

Development bank in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania

The Landesförderinstitut Mecklenburg-Vorpommern is active on behalf of the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern in the areas of business, housing and urban development, environment and energy, and agriculture, among others. The LFI offers support from the first overview consultation to the individual coordination of a support concept.

Among other things, the following funding offers of the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern State Development Institute are displayed when searching for funding for founders on the website of the development bank:

  • GA supplementary financing program
  • Joint task "Improvement of the regional economic structure
  • Trade fair funding
  • Company succession in the skilled trades (master craftsman premium)

IB.SH: development bank in Schleswig-Holstein

Investitionsbank Schleswig-Holstein supports the state of Schleswig-Holstein in its economic and structural policy development.

Selected programs of the IB.SH

The main programs of the IB.SH are the start-up loan, the micro-loan, the investment loan and the working capital loan.

  • With the "start-up loan", the focus is on the start of self-employment. In addition to start-ups, the development bank also supports takeovers of existing companies, consolidation projects or active participations. Support is provided for all business start-ups in Schleswig-Holstein as well as for fixed financing within 5 years after the start of business activities. The maximum external financing volume per founder is 100.000 Euro for investments and/or a maximum of 50.000 euros for liquidity requirements.
  • The "microloan" supports the start of self-employment with a low-interest loan. In a simplified application procedure, the development bank supports not only start-ups but also takeovers and consolidation projects of existing companies within five years of their foundation. Support is provided for start-ups, takeovers and consolidation of sole proprietorships or GbRs in Schleswig-Holstein. The loan can be between 3.000 Euro and 25.000 euros.
  • The "investment loan" is aimed at promoting trade and industry by granting low-interest, long-term loans. Co-financing of investments in the context of business start-ups, new establishments, relocations, expansions, rationalization measures and reinvestments is supported.
  • The "working capital loan" is intended for the promotion of trade and industry by improving the financial structure of medium-sized enterprises. Long-term co-financing/refinancing of part of the inventories and long-term debt rescheduling of investments previously financed on a short-term basis are supported.

IB: Development bank in Saxony-Anhalt

Investitionsbank (IB) Sachsen-Anhalt offers start-ups in Saxony-Anhalt a wide range of individual financing and support modules as well as start-up assistance from programs of the European Union, the federal government and the state of Saxony-Anhalt. Currently, several different funding products can be found on the funding bank's website.

Selected programs of IB Sachsen-Anhalt

  • "Saxony-Anhalt IMPULS" is a loan for small and medium-sized businesses and start-ups. Hereby, founders, SMEs and freelancers can secure the financing of necessary business investments, working capital or even expenses for research, development and innovation. The loan can be between 25.000 euros and 1.5 million. Euro amount.
  • With "Sachsen-Anhalt IDEE", the development bank is targeting start-ups, freelancers and SMEs with innovative ideas. In concrete terms, this is intended to bring innovative product ideas to market, secure financing and consolidate economic strength. This innovation loan is designed to prepare companies for the post-product development phase. The loan can have between 25.000 euros and 1.5 million. Euro amount.
  • "Sachsen-Anhalt WACHSTUM" is a financing instrument for entrepreneurs who need additional funds for start-ups and growth. The loan between 25.000 Euro and 1,5 Mio. Euro can be used for advance contract financing, operating expenses, R&D expenses, land, buildings, machinery, equipment and facilities, and intangible assets.
  • Saxony-Anhalt MUT" aims to relieve the financial burden on companies by providing loans to pre-finance orders. The loan can be granted between 25.000 and 500.000 euros.
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