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Starting point

The starting point from which people make a decision to set up their own business can be as different as the individuals themselves. No matter where you come from or where you are: we show you the features of various reasons the starting up a business and advise you as you embark upon your route to self-employment.

Self-fulfilment - setting up a business from or alongside your job

The idea for a business start-up often arises from a person’s wish to realise their own concepts and ideas. Anyone who moves into self-employment as a previous employee opens up new opportunities, e.g. for greater decision-making freedom, more money, determining their own working hours and selecting staff. However, a start-up also comes with its own set of risks: responsibility for all business decisions, periods of no income, a lot of work at the expense of free time. Perhaps you don’t want to give up all that security all at once and would rather just “try out” self-employment? If that’s the case, setting up a sideline alongside your job might suit you.

Do you know why you want to set up your own business?

A group of young women and men sit together and talk.

Do you have a creative idea and do you want to make real money with it? Are you looking for a better job or do you want to develop yourself and take on more responsibility as a manager? Are you still studying, unemployed or returning to work after parental leave? Or do your parents want you to take over their business, whilst you would rather do something completely different? The clearer you are about your reasons for wanting to set up your own business, the more focused you will be when you get started!

Young ideas - setting up whilst at school or college

People often come up with good ideas when they are still at school or college. So why don’t they pursue these ideas and opt self-employment when they are young? Young entrepreneurs can counterbalance shortcomings, such as a lack of professional experience and a lack of funds, with greater courage and good funding opportunities. In any event, get advice in advance to ensure that you take account of all the formalities required in your situation. You only stand to gain: no matter how successful your first business turns out to be, you will gain invaluable experience for life!

Tip: Funding for students and graduates

The EXIST start-up grant is one of the sources of funding available from the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK):

Tip: Funding for innovative business ideas

The GRÜNDERSTIPENDIUM NRW is one of the sources of funding available from the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Industry, Climate Action and Energy of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia (MWIKE):

A new opportunity - starting up from unemployment

Being unemployed is no obstacle to setting up your own business! A business start-up can bring an end to unemployment and even create new jobs in the long term. The Employment Agency provides support to people in receipt of unemployment benefit I and II by means of the start-up grant or the integration bonus. If you set up your own business from the position of being unemployed, thorough preparation is essential to convince your contact that you are worthy of being granted funding.

Quote Carsten Grünewälder, Weighing Machine Engineer
Carsten Grünewälder

I had been thinking about becoming self-employed for a long time. After all, I had enough professional experience, knew the market situation and had undertaken comprehensive personal development. However, it was only when I became unemployed in the middle of the 2009 economic crisis that I found the necessary motivation to set up my own business.

- Carsten Grünewälder, Weighing Machine Engineer

Following in someone else’s footsteps - setting up as a successor

Anyone wanting to step up to business succession has the advantage of being able to build on something that is well-established and the disadvantage of having to fill the void left by their predecessor. Whether you are taking over a company as an outsider, or as a son or daughter in the family business, a change of leadership is often accompanied by strong emotions for everyone involved. Focus on communication: be open about how you want to lead the company and allow others to help you so that the good times can continue.