Is consultancy necessary at all?

The right external consultancy is a competitive advantage. It can support a business with manpower in a specific area, provide specialized skills for a task or provide an outside eye for a new innovative perspective. As soon as a company is running, areas in the company appear where external expertise is needed, especially in the public sector. For example, a business plan for a potential investor needs to be perfect, contextual, and formal. As time is your most important asset, a consultant can take over the business plan while you can focus on the important day-to-day business.

Who is this Bafa Förderung guide for?

The BAFA Förderung is bound to a set of requirements to be applicable. First of all, the company’s registered office has to be in Germany, and it has to match the SME definition for small and medium-sized enterprises. To fit these criteria, your company would need to have its headquarter in Germany, less than 250 employees and an annual turnover of fewer than 50 million euros.

Three groups of companies are applicable for the BAFA Förderung:

- Start-up Enterprises: defined as young enterprises that have been on the market for less than two years
- Existing Enterprises: defined as enterprises from the third year after their foundation
- Enterprises in Difficulty: defined as enterprises in economic difficulties – irrespective of the age of the enterprise

The date of the business registration or the extract from the commercial register counts as the date of formation in the case of commercial entities like a UG or GmbH. The date of registration with the tax office for freelancers.

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If you are a company or a freelancer registered in Germany and you haven’t used the Bafa Förderung yet, you have a high chance of being applicable for the funding program.

What kind of consulting does the BAFA Förderung cover?

Young and existing enterprises can receive support in the following advisory areas:
General advice on all
- economic,
- financial,
- personnel and
- organizational questions of business management

special counseling for companies:
- which are run by female entrepreneurs
- which are run by migrant women or men,
- run by entrepreneurs with recognized disabilities,
- to improve the integration of employees with a migration background into the company,
- to design work for employees with disabilities,
- to recruit and secure skilled workers,
- equal opportunities and better reconciliation of work and family life,
- aging-appropriate work organization,
- sustainability and environmental protection.

enterprises in difficulty receive funding for:
- business safeguarding advice to restore performance and competitiveness in an economically difficult situation
- Follow-up counseling to deepen the knowledge gained from the business continuity counseling to restore performance and competitiveness on all economic, financial, personnel, and organizational issues of business management.

What consulting topics does the BAFA Förderung cover?

The consulting topics are numerous and include economic, financial and organizational consulting services. Let’s have a look at these sections in more detail:

Economic consultations

These can include marketing and sales, Technology, and innovation consultations to clarify the opportunities and risks of innovation and the application of new products, processes, and services. A list of topics can be anything from the following:

- Improvement of the business concept

- Location and competition

- Purchasing

- Production

- Product range

- Warehousing/system

- Marketing and sales

- Business expansion

- Succession

Financial consultations

The challenge for many entrepreneurs is to keep their finances under control. More than often, this comes down to a lack of the necessary financial planning and know-how. For example, when it comes to financing investments, not all available offers from capital providers can be taken.

These include for example banks, investors, funding institutions and venture capitalists. The following consulting topics can help:

- calculation of investment needs and profitability

- Review of liquidity

- Development of a financing strategy

- Clarification of suitable capital procurement

- Possibly financing through redeployment of capital

Organizational consultations

Entrepreneurial processes come to a standstill, the desired quality goals are not achieved, and competitiveness declines All these are the result of one of the most overlooked areas: Organization. With poor organization, your valuable resources and time will be wrongly allocated instead of increasing the productivity and sales of your business. Consulting topics to improve the organization of a company would be:

- Entrepreneurial orientation / strategy

- Process optimization

- Structural and process organization

- Restructuring

Further topics include:

- Staff consultations.

- Female entrepreneurs.

- Entrepreneurs with a migration background.

- Entrepreneurs with a recognized disability.

- Integration into the operation.

- Designing work for employees with disabilities.

- Recruiting and securing skilled workers.

———————— Tip ————————

The right consultant will be able to tell you where you can expect the most return on investment. Thus create the best impact on your business.

Get the BAFA Förderung now!

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Who is not eligible for the BAFA Förderung, regardless of the need of a consultation?

Companies and members of the liberal professions with a focus on advisory services are excluded from BAFA funding. Most of these can be split up into the following:

- consulting and auditing companies
- tax consultants
- lawyers and notaries
- companies that are in or facing insolvency
- non-profit organizations
- legal persons under public law

What is the BAFA-Förderung funding amount?

The amount of the subsidy for counseling depends on two factors: maximum eligible counseling costs as the assessment basis and the location of the company.

The location-dependent subsidy rates are:

New federal states: 80 % (excluding Berlin and Leipzig region).
Lüneburg region: 60 %
Other locations: 50 %
For companies in difficulty, 90 % of the consultancy costs are covered.

The funding for management consultancy does not depend on the age and location of the enterprise.

How do I apply to receive the BAFA Förderung?

The most important point regarding the BAFA-Förderung is that the order of the application steps must be followed in order to avoid financial loss. The costs of consultancy carried out before the BAFA funding is approved, will not be covered.

The application for funding is submitted via the BAFA website and contains only a few questions. M&M Consultants can help with the application. After a control centre has reviewed the funding application, the applicant receives an information letter with the result of the review. If the funding for the consultancy is approved, the consultancy contract can be concluded and the business consultancy can begin.

Young enterprises and enterprises in difficulty are required to attend a free information meeting (by telephone or in person) with a regional partner before submitting the BAFA application. This could be for example a partner from the IHK ( Industrie-und Handelskammer). You can find the list here. After this, the funding application must be submitted within three months.

Application portal for funding for German consulting

Below you will find instructions on how to fill out the Bafa fund for German consulting:

In the company type section, click on the term that suits your company.

Jungunternehmen = no longer than two years on the market

Bestandsunternehmen = from the third year after foundation

Unternehmen in Schwierigkeiten = independent of the age of the company, e.g. economic difficulties due to the loss of a major customer

In the Company / Managing Director section, fill in your information from the business/commercial register application. Legal forms of natural persons (natürliche person) include sole trader, GbR and registered trader (e. K.). Legal forms of legal entities (juristische person) include UG, GmbH and Aktiengesellschaft (public limited company).

Your company is entitled to a preferential deduction (Vorsteuerabzugsberichtigt) if it collects VAT and passes it on to the tax office. Freelancers and small entrepreneurs are exempt from this, according to §19 of the Value Added Tax Act.

You can find the list of DIHK contact persons here. In the case of existing companies, there is no need for an interview. Select “DIHK” here.

The business classification (Wirtschaftszweigklassifikation) is used to classify your business. BAFA has published a short guide on this. You can simply copy the business object (Geschäftsgegenstand) from your business registration. You then need to tick off a few confirmations and can submit your application for funding for a management consultancy.

What is the process after the application?

STEP 1: The DIHK (German Chamber of Industry and Commerce) checks the formal requirements for funding and sends a confirmation via EMail.

STEP 2: The consulting can now start. It is essential to wait for the confirmation, otherwise, subsidies might not be granted. The date on the consulting contract counts as the beginning of the counseling.

STEP 3: The consulting must be concluded within six months after the receipt of the information letter.

STEP 4: The applicant must provide proof of payment of his contribution as part of the funding procedure.

Final step: The coordinating office, like the DIHK, checks the formal requirements and documents. It then forwards the documents to the Federal Office of Economics and Export Control (BAFA) for a decision.

Further links on the BAFA-Förderung

The following links lead to German websites, and the BAFA primarily communicates in the German language. If you need any help, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Online portal for application
Proof of use form “Management consultancy
Online status enquiry at BAFA
Upload option for documents to apply for funding
Brochure “Förderung unternehmerischen Know-hows”