For many founders and startups, the founding a company stands or falls with financing and funding. There is a whole range of funding programs for young Berlin companies. This includes special offers for startups, which are particularly innovative with their products, services, business models and technologies and also aim for strong growth in sales and personnel.

Pre-seed phase for startups

In the pre-seed phase, the business model is developed in startups. In addition, the founding team is formed here, which must cover all necessary competencies. For technology, knowledge or research-based startups, two funding options are available in this phase:

EXIST Business Start-up Grant

It grants support to students, graduates and scientists from universities and research institutes, who want to turn their business idea into a business plan. The startup projects should be innovative technology or knowledge based projects with significant unique features and good commercial prospects of success.

More informationen concerning EXIST Business Start-up Grant

EXIST Research Transfer

It supports outstanding research orientated projects that involve expensive high-risk resource development.

More informationen concerning EXIST Research Transfer


All around founding

The following programs support all types of founding projects:

Berlin Start

Investitionsbank Berlin (IBB) and Bürgschaftsbank Berlin fund start-up and consolidation projects with financing of up to € 500,000 with a combination of low-interest loans and guarantees.

Funding is available for founding new companies, taking over existing companies and projects to consolidate a start-up in the first five years after founding.

Applications should be submitted to Bürgschaftsbank Berlin via your own bank (your bank or savings bank).

Microloans from the SME Fund

IBB makes loans of up to € 25,000 available through microloans from the SME Fund. Under certain conditions, the programme is also open to refugees with temporary residence and settlement permits.

Applications can be submitted to IBB online.

Guarantees from the BürgschaftsBank Berlin - Credit

BürgschaftsBank Berlin acts as a guarantor for loans to support founders without sufficient security. Start-up founders, SMEs in the commercial sector (trade, industry, skilled trades, service sector) and members of the freelance professions in Berlin are entitled to apply.

Applications should be submitted to the BürgschaftsBank Berlin through your own bank.

Startup BONUS (GründungsBONUS)

GründungsBONUS is a funding programme run by the Federal State of Berlin that supports start-ups that are less than 12 months old and based in Berlin with initial start-up funding of up to € 50,000 in the establishment phase. Do you want to develop, manufacture or introduce innovative applications, products, services, methods or processes - or ones that are not yet on the market? Then visit the and read more about the program.

More information and application:

IBB Business Team
Bundesallee 210
10719 Berlin
Phone: 030 2125 2351
Fax: 030 / 2125 4680

Female Startup BONUS (GründerinnenBONUS)

The funding program builds on the already established Startup BONUS (GründungsBONUS) for innovative start-ups. In it, up to 50,000 euros can be applied for as a grant. If this application is successful, women have the opportunity to receive a funding of 10,000 euros for their project.

Further information and 

Startup Funding from the Federal Government

The Federal Government also offers funding programmes for founders and SMEs. The Federal Government’s funding database contains all the relevant Information.


The following programs primarily support startups in this phase:

In the seed phase, the company is founded. In addition, the business model and business plan are further adapted to the market and, in most cases, contacts to funders are already established.

Berlin Startup Grant

The Berlin Senate uses the Berlin Startup Grant to fund the development of innovations and the internationalisation of Berlin’s economy. When choosing projects, priority is given to proposals that develop sustainable, innovative, technical solutions for key social and policy issues: Smart City, Zukunftsorte (future locations)/Innovative Districts, sustainable urban development, energy transition, electromobility, local public transport, health, food, closed-loop economy, social economy, authorities as (launch) customers, clean urban industry, internationalisation and transnational cooperation.

The Berlin Startup Grant supports founders with a technology-based startup concept over a period up to twelve months, provided that the prototype in development still requires further development for market launch to be realised. Only teams are encouraged (2-5 people). Every founder of the team receives a scholarship of up to 2,200 euros per month during this period.

Information and contact:

Micromezzanine Fund Germany

Funding is provided in the form of silent participation by the Mittelständische Beteiligungsgesellschaften, which are represented in all German states.

Informationen concerning Micromezzanine Fund Germany

High-Tech Founders Fund (HTGF)

HTGF is a venture capital investor for innovative technologies and business models. As a seed investor, it has already financed more than 650 startups in the industrial tech, digital tech, life sciences and chemicals sectors.

More informationen concerning High-Tech Founders Fund

INVEST - Venture Capital Grant

The Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection promotes private investors, especially as business angels, when they acquire newly issued shares (business shares or shares) in young, innovative companies. The INVEST venture capital grant can be obtained as

  • Acquisition grant at the time of an investment and
  • Exit grant when shares are sold.

Both grants can be applied for at the Federal Office of Economic Affairs and Export Control (BAFA).

Informationen concerning INVEST - Venture Capital Grant


Crowdfunding refers to the accumulation of smaller financial contributions via special crowdfunding platforms on the internet. IHK Berlin offers an overview of various forms ofCrowdfunding.


Growth of startups (equity capital)

In the growth phase, the company continues to expand its production and and especially its sales. Access to international markets gains in importance. Additional employees are hired. Additional capital providers for venture capital come on board. These grants are available:

IBB Ventures

IBB Ventures invests public funds as venture capital. The focus is on innovative ideas from start-up teams: financing for the development and market launch of innovative, scalable products or services for rapid company growth.

  • VC Fonds Technologie Berlin invests in Berlin startups in various technology sectors.
  • VC Fonds Kreativwirtschaft Berlin invests in Berlin startups from various creative industries.
  • VC Fonds Impact Berlin invests in Berlin startups that consciously achieve a measurable positive social and/or ecological impact.

Information and applications:IBB Ventures, Tel.: (030) 2125 3201

Venture Tech Growth Financing

This program offers loans to young innovative and fast-growing technology companies that have a resilient and promising business model to finance their future growth.

More informationen concerning Venture Tech Growth Financing

Micromezzanine Fund Germany

Funding is provided in the form of silent participation by the Mittelständische Beteiligungsgesellschaften, which are represented in all German states.

Informationen concerning Micromezzanine Fund Germany

DeepTech Future Fund

The DeepTech Future Fund (DTFF) is a new investment fund in the field of high technology (deep tech), financed with funds from the “Zukunftsfonds” and the ERP Special Fund. It invests in the hidden champions of tomorrow, helping to create the next technology-based generation of Germany’s “Mittelstand”.

More informationen concerning DeepTech Future Fund

Co-investment fund Coparion

It helps young technology companies achieve swift and sustained growth. It supports entrepreneurial vision with ist know-how, but without intervening in daily business operations.

More informationen concerning Coparion

INVEST - Venture Capital Grant

The Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection promotes private investors, especially as business angels, when they acquire newly issued shares (business shares or shares) in young, innovative companies. The INVEST venture capital grant can be obtained as

  • Acquisition grant at the time of an investment and
  • Exit grant when shares are sold.

Both grants can be applied for at the Federal Office of Economic Affairs and Export Control (BAFA).

Informationen concerning INVEST - Venture Capital Grant

Business Angels

They invest their capital in the early stages of innovative and high-growth startups. Business angels are experienced managers or entrepreneurs who contribute their private capital, their business and technical expertise and their network of contacts to young companies. Business angels are often organized in networks, some of which operate nationwide, others regionally. Business angels can be found, among others, in theBusiness-Angels Club Berlin-Brandenburg or theFounder Centers of Berlin's universities.


Crowdfunding refers to the accumulation of smaller financial contributions via special crowdfunding platforms on the internet. IHK Berlin offers an overview of various forms ofCrowdfunding.

Employee profit sharing

The most common model of employee share ownership is profit sharing. Employees become shareholders in the company and pay an agreed share into its "share capital". They share in the profits in proportion to this share. In this way, the company obtains long-term equity capital, rewards performance and retains creative minds.

Employee loans are an alternative. Employees receive a fixed or performance-related interest rate in return for a loan.

Further information


Innovation financing

Innovations in startups, and as well in existing companies, are of particular importance for their success and future viability. That is why they are given special support.


The aim of the business development program "Digitalprämie Berlin" is to support the digitalization process for self-employed individuals and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

More information concerning DIGITALPRÄMIE BERLIN


The aim of the Programme to Fund Research, Innovation and Technology – ProFIT is to advance technological competitiveness, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises, by increasing the intensity of research and development in single and joint projects and to launch the innovations on the market.

ProFIT project finance:
Grant: Research projects by companies and, in the case of joint projects, research institutes in industrial research and experimental development Projects.
Loan: Single and joint projects for experimental development and setting up production, market preparation/market launch carried out by companies.

ProFIT early phase:
Grants and loans: Support for newly founded businesses in the development and operation of business infrastructure, before and/or parallel to the implementation of an innovation project

Information and applications: Investitionsbank Berlin, Tel.: (030) 2125 4747

Program to promote business-oriented real laboratories (pilot program)

Activities are supported in individual or joint projects that aim to implement business-oriented real laboratories. Projects should take place particularly in the area of innovation, but also in research and development, and should deal with the associated regulatory issues. Projects are funded in the following subject areas:

  • A: Climate-friendly design of energy supply (especially heat) and water management
  • B: Mobility and logistics (including micrologistics)
  • C: Organization of climate-neutral material cycles and supply chains
  • D: Optimization of space use (multicoding)
  • E: Soft infrastructure (especially safety and health)

Innovation Assistant

The goal of the programme is the personalised transfer of expertise from science, especially to small and medium-sized enterprises. The project-oriented placement of qualified university graduates helps companies master operational and/or technological innovation challenges. 

Personnel Cost Grant: Innovative projects to be implemented in the context of qualified, newly concluded employment contracts.

Information and applications:
Investitionsbank Berlin, Tel.: (030) 2125 4747

Transfer Bonus Design

The Transfer Bonus Design funding programme supports the transfer of expertise from the design sector and universities to SMEs that develop technology-oriented products or services. The goal of the funding programme is an application-oriented incorporation of design skills into the innovation process as early as possible.

Information and applications: zukunft im zentrum GmbH, Tel.: (030) 27 87 33 – 0
Contact SenWEB: Nadja Clarus, Tel.: (030) 9013 8477


Non-technical innovations (NTI), such as new product, service, process or organizational concepts, are funded. The relevant criterion for the funding decision is the newness of the problem solving, which is offered by the introduced innovative project, for example in the form of a new service concept or business model. It is also important that the economic, ecological and social sustainability of a project and its results can be demonstrated. All small and medium -sized companies can submit an application, including social economy, with a company headquarters, branch or a permanent establishment in Berlin.


IGP-Funding program for non-technical innovations

With the IGP-Program, the BMWK is offering a funding for non-technical innovations. There are various rounds of tenders for specific subject areas, such as digital and data-driven business models, innovations in the cultural and creative industries and innovations with a special “social impact”.


Environmental protection/climate protection

Environmental protection and climate protection in companies are increasingly supported:

Berlin Program for Sustainable Development (BENE)

The funding program consists of a package of measures for climate protection (BENE Climate), which includes five funding priorities, and an environmental protection part (BENE Environment), which supports the goals of sustainable urban development.

More information concerning BENE

Economical Electromobility (WELMO)

TheWELMO program grants Berlin-based companies grants for the electrification of motor vehicles, charging infrastructure and related advice.

Cargo bike Plus (LastenradPLUS)

TheLastenradPLUS program grants companies based in Berlin grants for the purchase of cargo bikes and transport trailers.

Green Start-up Sonderprogramm

The German Federal Environmental Foundation funds innovative, exemplary and solution-oriented projects for the protection of the environment, with special consideration of small and medium-sized enterprises. The funding activities focus on environmental technology and research, nature conservation, environmental communication and protection of cultural assets.


KfW Climate protection offensive for SMEs

The Climate Protection Offensive promotes investments in measures to reduce, avoid and eliminate greenhouse gas emissions in order to help SMEs to operate accordimng to the upcoming EU taxonomy for climate-friendly activities.

More information concerning KfW Climate protection offensive for SMEs


The BMWK portal„Energiewechsel“ offers an overview of all funding for energy efficiency in companies.


Startup Financing for Skilled Trades

In crafts, the start of self-employment is usually the master craftsman's examination.

Masters Founding Premium

Masters in skilled trades who - found or- take over a company or- actively invest in an existing companyin a skilled trade in Berlin, in which they completed their training as a master, are granted a premium by the Federal State of Berlin under certain conditions. The master craftsman founding bonus can be up to 25,000 euros. The basic subsidy for the founding master's premium is a one-off amount of 10,000 euros upon founding. It is a conditionally repayable grant. In the case of a business start-up by a woman in a female-atypical craft, the funding in the 1st stage can be increased to 15,000 euros (female bonus).

You can find everything associated with the Master Founding Premium on the HWK information pages: Information on the Master Founding Premium


Social enterprises

Social enterprises want to achieve specific social goals with their commercial activities. Values such as solidarity and cooperation as well as sustainable management are in the foreground.

REACT with impact - Founding for social enterprises

The "REACT with impact - promotion of social entrepreneurship" program of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection (BMWK) is intended to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and social start-ups in their special actions for the environment and society. Advice and support services are funded by qualified consulting companies. More information:


Cultural and creative economy

Federal energy culture fund

Thefederal energy culture fund takes into account the additional costs for gas, district heating and grid-related electricity that have arisen as a result of the increased energy prices. The eligible additional energy costs will be reimbursed proportionately. Public and private cultural institutions are eligible to apply, provided they are open to the public.


Startup from Unemployment

The main focus supporting startups from unemployment is on the cost of living in the startup phase.

Set-up grant

If you take up an independent, main occupation from unemployment, you can apply for a Set-up grant from the Agentur für Arbeit (Employment Agency) pursuant to Article 93, para. 2 No. 2 German Social Code Book III to secure your livelihood and social security. All the relevant information is available on the IHK Berlin website.

Information about the Set-up grant


Qualification, advice and network promotion

The following programmes offer the opportunity to apply for a grant for coaching or consultancy services associated with founding. In addition, both young and established companies can seek advice by help of the nationwide program “Förderung des unternehmerischen Know-hows”.

Coaching in the pre-founding Phase

The Berlin funding programme “Coaching in the pre-founding Phase” offers coaching services for startup founders in the pre-founding phase. People intending to found a company must conduct an orientation interview with the contact person before submitting their application and outline their startup project regarding the purpose of the business, customer target group and financing aspect.

Applicants then undergo a four-day assessment to evaluate their level of knowledge and abilities. The startup founder will only receive coaching if the assessment results in a recommendation for supporting coaching. The coaching services can only be provided by facilities or coaches listed with the programme sponsor.

More information:

Coaching BONUS

The Berlin Coaching BONUS funding programme supports small and medium-sized enterprises and start-ups with their headquarters in Berlin with grants for business management coaching. Selected and qualified coaches for everything to do with business plans, financial planning, marketing strategies, organisational structure, etc. are available. Coaching BONUS therefore offers “help to help yourself” for both the idea and startup phases and the subsequent restructuring phases of existing companies. Find out more

More information and applications:

IBB Business Team GmbH
Coaching BONUS Bundesallee 210
10719 Berlin
Tel: 030 / 2125 2352
Fax: 030 / 2125 4680

Transfer BONUS

Transfer BONUS is a funding programme offered by the Federal State of Berlin for small and medium-sized Berlin enterprises (SMEs). The aim is to bring together industry and science and to fund companies with a link to technology or technology-oriented projects for cooperation with science and research facilities in Berlin/Brandenburg. Find out more about the programme and receive a grant of up to € 45,000 for your knowledge and technology transfer.

More information and applications: 

IBB Business Team GmbH
Transfer BONUS 
Bundesallee 210
10719 Berlin
Tel: 030 / 2125 4668
Fax: 030 / 2125 4680