EMCC European Monitoring Centre on Change

Supporting business knowledge

Phase: Anticipation
  • Access to finance
  • response to COVID-19
  • Advice
  • Support of SMEs
Last modified: 03 August, 2021
Име (на собств. език):

Förderung unternehmerischen Know-hows

Име на английски:

Supporting business knowledge


The measure is aimed at:

  • young companies that have not been on the market for more than two years (young companies);
  • companies in their third year since the foundation (existing companies);
  • companies that are experiencing economic difficulties - regardless of company age (companies in difficulty).

The enterprises must comply with the EU definition of small and medium-sized enterprises.

Main characteristics

During a downturn, a given SME can apply for financial support for consultation services. When qualifying criteria are met, 90% of the consultation costs of up to €2,700 will be covered. 

Young businesses located in the East German federal states (excluding Berlin and the Leipzig region) are able to get up to 80% and a maximum of €3,200 of consultation costs covered, while young businesses in Lüneburg get 60% and a maximum of €2,400 covered. All other young businesses located in the West German federal states, in Berlin or in the Leipzig region, will receive a funding of 50% or a maximum of €2,000 for consultancy services. Young businesses are defined as having entered the market no longer than two years ago.

Existing businesses in the new federal states (excluding Berlin and the Leipzig region) are also able to get up to 80% of consultation costs covered. However, the maximum grant is €2,400. Existing businesses in Lüneburg get 60% and a maximum of €1,800 covered, while all other existing businesses in the old federal states, Berlin and Leipzig get 50% and a maximum of €1,500 covered.

The employer must first apply to a regional agency, for example, the Chambers of Commerce or Chambers of Craft, which check the company’s eligibility. Following approval, the employer is free to choose any certified consultant agency for advice.  

The instrument forms part of a broader programme meant to improve the business knowledge and competitiveness of young businesses and SMEs. The instrument grew out of four previous programme lines and was set up in 2016. It takes a targeted approach and also provides special financial support for consultation for female entrepreneurs, micro businesses and integration of migrant workers. 

The instrument, which is co-funded by the European Social Fund, was set up by the Federal Ministry for Economics and Energy (BMWi) and is run by the Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control BAFA.  

COVID-19 Update: 

In April 2020, the BMWi announced that all businesses affected by the pandemic will get 100% and a maximum of €4,000 of consultation costs covered. The improved conditions will be available until the end of 2020. However, in early June 2020 BAFA announced that all of the programme’s financial support has been exhausted.  


  • National funds
  • European funds
  • European Funds (ESF)

Involved actors

National government
The Federal Ministry for Econcomic Affairs and Energy hosts the programme. Administration is with the Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control (BAFA).
Employer or employee organisations
Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Chambers of Crafts.
Financial institution (KfW); funding from the European Structural Fund (ESF).


No information available.


This measure proactively supports young businesses and SMEs in avoiding mismanagement and insolvency. 


The annual financial resources have been exhausted since early June 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A full evaluation of the new programme (set up in 2016) is not yet available. However, the German newspaper 'Sueddeutsche Zeitung' reported in June 2020 that some consultants provided false information to clients and promised financial support, though clients were not eligible for funding. In the report, the media also warns about unprofessional consultants that provide services within the scope of the programme without having sufficient expertise. 


No information available.
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