Financing and funding tips

Where can I find information from the start-up scene?? What are the possibilities of financial support for start-ups?? Where can I find out about funding opportunities? How do I get to know other founders??
Anyone who founds a start-up sometimes has many questions. This page provides a small overview of contact points, financing offers and information possibilities (without claiming to be complete).

A group of founders kneels on the floor and looks at papers spread out in front of them. ©bullrun – stock.Adobe.Com | A group of founders kneels on the floor and looks at papers spread out in front of them.

First things first: financing tips

Here a notary fee, there operating costs, necessary investments, unforeseen additional costs – reasons can be quite expensive. Supplementary to the resp. Following on from the NRW start-up grant, there are a number of other ways in which young start-ups can obtain financial support.

Basically, a distinction must be made between different forms: grants, which usually do not have to be repaid, loans and credits, which have to be repaid, guarantees, which support you if you cannot show sufficient own collateral for a loan/credit, and participations.
For all these forms of financial support, there are public development programs in addition to private providers. These are often particularly interesting for founders, z. B. As they usually have little equity and little collateral, but banks are very reluctant to grant loans because the novelty of the business idea makes it difficult to assess the risk.

First overview: databases

A first point of contact can be the funding database of the start-up platform of the federal ministry of economics and technology and the kfw (reconstruction loan corporation). It enables a targeted search for funding programs or financing opportunities that meet certain criteria (e.G. B. (e.G., funding area, type of funding or funded sector).

Development banks: strong partners for all cases

In the case of public sector funding programs, the development banks of the federal government or the states are often involved. They act on behalf of the public sector and focus u. A. On business development. At the federal level, there is the kfw (kreditanstalt fur wiederaufbau) development bank. Kfw offers founders about three different loans and, together with the bmwi, manages the start-up platform (s. Above).

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Offers of the NRW-bank

At the state level, the NRW.BANK as a funding bank. Here, too, there is a database to search for financing options. Above all, the NRW.BANK, as the development bank of the state of north rhine-westphalia, itself offers numerous advisory services and development products. This includes personal counseling sessions, also on possible subsidies or preparation for the bank interview (initial contact: [email protected], 0211 91741-4800), there are regular funding consultation days, and there is a wide range of seminars and events on the subject of start-ups, which take place throughout NRW.

However, the financing offers of NRW are particularly interesting.BANK. A development loan with favorable conditions for founders is applied for in the so-called "house bank procedure" at the respective house bank of the start-up company. The house bank in turn forwards the application to the NRW.BANK, which ultimately approves the loan. The loan agreement is then concluded between the house bank and the founders or. Founders closed. Particularly if founders have little collateral of their own, this model can be combined with an offer from burgschaftsbank NRW, so that sufficient collateral is available vis-A-vis the house bank.

An alternative that does not require the house bank procedure is the NRW.Microloans: here, too, the development funds are ultimately provided by NRW.BANK made available. Applications can simply be submitted to the respective STARTERCENTER.NRW can be provided on site. And the best thing is that founders do not have to provide any collateral!

Equity

Young start-ups can also raise equity capital via NRW.Acquire a BANK – be it by means of consulting offers and mediation platforms, thanks to which private investors can be found, or an investment on the part of NRW.BANK itself, if there are already other private investors. Here there are z. B. The NRW.BANK.Venture fonds or the NRW.BANK.Seed fund initiative.

At the federal level, the high tech grunderfonds (HTGF) is a seed investor for high-tech start-ups. It invests up to 600.000 euros in start-ups that are in the seed phase. HTGF has already funded 600 german start-ups. It is a public-private partnership enterprise in which private companies are involved in addition to the federal ministry of economics and kfw.
A database for searching for private and public investors and seed investors can be found at the bundesverband deutscher kapitalbeteiligungsgesellschaften (german private equity and venture capital association).

Pace yourself: accelerator programs

Accelerator programs can be particularly interesting for young start-ups in the pre-seed and seed phases. These are usually relatively short but intensive support programs, during which the start-ups are supported not only financially, but above all with resources of various kinds, for example mentoring, workshops or free places in the co-working space.

Further information and a database of accelerator programs in north rhine-westphalia is provided by accelerate.Nrw. A nationwide accelerator program is the german accelerator of the federal ministry of economics and technology, which supports startups in their international expansion.

How do you actually do it?? Networking & mentoring

No one wants to work alone in the long run – networking is the magic word. With other founders, with potential customers and service providers, and perhaps even with interested investors.
The six digital hubs in aachen, bonn, dusseldorf, essen, cologne and munster and their event calendars are also good places to start. Larger, singular events are also listed in the events calendar on this page.

A nationwide overview of events that might be of interest to young start-ups and those interested in founding a company is provided by the event search on kfw's start-up platform (currently, unfortunately, only searchable by zip code, not by topic). Through the ministry of economic affairs, innovation, digitalization and energy (MWIDE) and the federal office of economics and export control, there is also the opportunity to participate favorably in joint stands of north rhine-westphalia and germany respectively. Present your german company at international trade fairs. By participating in the INVEST program, start-ups can secure grants for potential investors when they acquire shares in the company.