Unemployed? Self-employment via the start-up grant

The start-up grant is one of the government’s most important tools for helping the unemployed start their own business. And of course, for some people the question arises: unemployed – what to do? You can take advantage of funding, support and advice to get your business idea off the ground.

Apply for the start-up grant

The start-up subsidy can be applied for in particular by founders of new businesses who live in Germany. It is considered the basis for a start-up from unemployment in order to be secured by the start-up subsidy, especially during the first phase of self-employment.


The start-up grant thus serves as a small cushion for you to make your first experiences in self-employment without having to worry about your livelihood. This can be very advantageous, because it is the only way you can devote yourself to important things like building up your business or acquiring customers and concentrate fully on them. In this article on the topic of “applying for a start-up grant”, you will learn what exactly the start-up grant is, how to apply for the start-up grant correctly and how to get free start-up coaching.

Are you entitled to a start-up subsidy?

Who can apply for start-up subsidies?

  • Alle die ALG 1 beziehen
  • All those who become self-employed on a full-time basis from unemployment
  • And have a remaining entitlement to unemployment benefits of 150 days

It serves as start-up financing to successfully establish a company on the market with a good business idea. The amount and duration of the start-up grant depend on various factors.

Applying for a start-up grant: Don’t let it get you down

Think to yourself: Unemployed, what now? In our experience, the current practice of awarding start-up grants at the Employment Agency seems somewhat questionable in some cases. This is probably due to the austerity measures announced by the federal government in 2010 for federal subsidies and especially for the awarding of the start-up subsidy.

Since then, we have observed that job seekers or potential founders are sometimes turned away by their advisors, sometimes with obscure arguments. Here is our clear advice: If you do not allow yourself to become unsettled and present a flawless business plan, your application for a start-up grant will usually be approved even today.

Obtain information about the application for the start-up grant

Especially when working with the Employment Agency, it makes sense to find out in advance how the application process works, what you should pay attention to, what mistakes you should not make and how the business plan must be written. We recommend to start 4 to 6 weeks before the beginning of the 150 days remaining entitlement.The best contact points to get information about starting your own business from ALG 1 are in this case so-called founder consultants or certified business consultants, like we are.

The basis for the approval of the start-up grant is the business plan

We would like to invite you to contact us. We will go through the foundation of your project with you step by step and explain to you how best to apply for the start-up grant. We score with many years of experience as start-up and business consultants, have specialized in start-up coaching and are experts in this field. In addition, we explain what else you can use a business plan for.

Meet requirements for the start-up grant

In order to be able to apply for the start-up subsidy, it is mandatory to meet some requirements before being allowed to claim as a founder. The following requirements must be met:

  • You receive unemployment benefit 1 (ALG 1) for at least one day
  • Have at least 150 days remaining entitlement to ALG 1
  • A convincing business idea

Only under these conditions are you allowed to present your business idea to the Employment Agency and, if necessary, replace your unemployment with your business start-up.

Applying for a start-up grant: preliminary discussion at the employment agency

The preliminary meeting serves to go through the start-up idea with you. After you have been allowed to visit the employment agency and have been able to explain your plans and any questions have been clarified, you will be sent the documents for applying for the start-up grant immediately. The preliminary interview is also the right time to mention that you would like to participate in a founder coaching for a well-founded suitability for self-employment and that you would like to apply for an AVGS for this purpose.

The AVGS entitles you to receive free AVGS coaching from certified start-up consultants. During this coaching you get the chance to develop your entrepreneurial skills, ask questions to a professional business consultant as well as further develop your idea.

It is very important that this is all done before you register your business and that you have all the necessary documents together beforehand.

Start-up assistance: Apply for pre-start-up coaching or AVGS

Business founders who want to ask technical questions or feel that you have deficits can apply for pre-founder coaching in some federal states. If you, as the founder of a business, can face your deficits and overcome them with coaching, this is a positive signal for your case worker. Another way to get start-up coaching is to apply for an AVGS, which you can submit yourself to a certified consultant.

Necessary documents: Admission, professional qualification, if necessary permission

For some self-employed activities you need a permit or a license from the IHK (Chamber of Industry and Commerce) or HWK (Chamber of Crafts), for example a concession in the case of a bakery business that wants to offer food and beverages on site. Nevertheless, bakers need a special professional qualification – the master craftsman obligation applies – says the legislation. Although it is possible to bypass the master craftsman requirement as a founder yourself, there must be an explicit master craftsman in the business, albeit as an employee. The presentation of such a suitability, permit or license for the respective industry is a prerequisite for start-up assistance. So inform yourself before you submit the application and get the necessary documents – this is very important.

Writing business plan – the most important task before the application.

The business plan! For many, the preparation of the business plan is the biggest hurdle when applying for the start-up grant. It contains the planning of the first years and must describe the concept of the enterprise comprehensively. It must also include a detailed financial plan and a sales forecast. Would you like to know how to write your own business plan? Click on the link for more information.

Have business plan checked by expert body

The expert opinion or sustainability certificate is absolutely necessary for the final approval by the employment office when you apply for a start-up grant. As soon as you have a certificate of viability, this means that the assumptions in your business plan are plausible and feasible.

You should have your business plan checked in any case if you do not want to give the employment agency a reason to reject it. We are exactly the right contact for the check and further questions – we are start-up consultants with many years of experience and have the necessary know-how. We are also happy to help you with all your hurdles. Contact us, we have successfully brought 97% of all start-up grants to approval.

Start-up grant: Officially register self-employment

Before you finally apply for the start-up grant, you still have to establish your future company, i.e. officially register it with the trade office or the tax office. The date of the foundation may well be a few weeks in the future. However, make sure that you still have at least 150 days of remaining entitlement to ALG 1 at this time.

Application for start-up subsidy in 2023

Carefully fill out the forms you received by asking for an application for a start-up grant and also have them checked by us or by another expert agency.

All documents at a glance:

  • The completed forms of the application
  • The business plan, including financial plan and sales forecast
  • Possibly necessary permit, approval or professional qualification
  • Expert opinion (certification of the viability of your concept)
  • Proof of registration of self-employment in due time

Apply for extension of the start-up grant early

If the start-up grant has been approved, it will also expire immediately after 6 months. In some cases it can be advantageous to apply for an extension for another 9 months. For this reason, you should obtain all the necessary information 4 months after founding your startup and take advantage of the opportunity to receive additional funding.

The following article reveals how to extend the start-up grant and how to secure an additional 300 euros per month.


Apply for start-up subsidy step by step with the help of a free counseling session

We will help you with all your questions, with obtaining the right documents and with the correct application for the start-up grant. 100% free of charge and without a catch.