So you’re waiting in the wings, your idea is ripe and ready, but you just don’t know where to begin? Well, we’ve made up a handy guide on how to get your startup on its feet in these 6 easy steps.
Step 1: Ask the right questions
Where does my idea fit in? What legal form should I register under? What taxes must I pay? Before taking the big step, it’s necessary to address these questions to avoid trouble later. Whether it’s the Chamber of Skilled Crafts, or the Chamber of Commerce and Industry you need to join; IHK Berlin and Handelskammer Berlin, the Business Start-up Portal by the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), and the Senate Department for Economics, Energy and Public Enterprises are all equipped to help you with your most pressing questions. The latter even provide a central support helpline at (030) 9013-8444 dedicated to helping you deal with all issues related to setting up a new business.
Step 2: Register your business
Starting up is a tough process, especially when it comes to those dire questions of administration and business approval procedures. Luckily, Berlin organisation ea.berlin (Single Point of Contact) helps you in solving the most urgent problems by providing you with a service to register, de-register and re-register your business online 24/7.
Step 3: Develop a steady business plan
For presentation and pitch situations, it’s vital for every business idea to be organised into a concrete business plan. But what is a business model? And what should be included in a business plan? How do I even start writing a business plan? All these questions and more can be answered in one of the many coaching programmes the city of Berlin has to offer. Just to name a few, there’s; Gruendercoaching Deutschland, IBB bank’s Coaching Bonus and BBB start. The Berlin-Brandenburg Business Plan Competition (BPW) is Germany’s largest regional start-up initiative, and is another great choice. The programmes provide entrepreneurs with support in the development of their business concepts, with over 100 events and a network of more than 300 consultants.
Step 4: Find sponsors and funding
You’ve got to spend money to make money, and the best ideas are of no value if there’s no financial backbone. Berlin offers a broad funding portfolio to support your business ideas. You might start at the Business Customer Centre at the Investitionsbank Berlin or the Business Support Guide. Together, they present the full spectrum of support programmes available in Berlin for startups, providing funding and consultancy services in business loans, funding, investments and loan guarantees. ibb.de offer a quick finance questionnaire to find suitable sponsors for your venture.
Other venture capitalists:
- bmp (Team)
- Earlybird (Team)
- estag (Team)
- Hasso Plattner Ventures (Team)
- IBB Beteiligungsgsellschaft (Team)
- Point Nine Capital (Team)
- Ventegis Capital (Team)
Regional funding programmes:
- Berlin Start (IBB)
- BHT-Gründerstipendium (Beuth Hochschule für Technik Berlin)
- ProFIT (IBB)
- Technologie Coaching Center (IBB)
Step 5: Find the perfect base for your business
Berlin’s technology and new business centres offer affordable office space, a chance to network with other entrepreneurs, and advice, consulting and other services.
A few are listed below, and for more information on the topic, look into our Brain City article:
- Charlottenburg Innovation Centre – CHIC
- Entrepreneur Centre for Technical Services
- WeiberWirtschaft – Centre for Women Establishing New Businesses
- Business Incubation Centre, Berlin School of Economics and Law
- Innovation and Business Incubation Centre Berlin-Adlershof – IGZ
- International Business Incubator Berlin-Adlershof – OWZ
- Innovation and Incubation Center – IGZ – Campus Berlin-Buch
- Wuhlheide Innovation Park
- Medien-Technologie-Centrum – MTC
- PHÖNIX Business Incubator at the Borsigturm
- Spreeknie TGS Technology and Start-up Centre
- Women’s Business Centre Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf – UCW
- WISTA Science and Technology Park in Berlin-Adlershof
Step 6: Make friends
Like anything else in life, what’s the point of building a business if you can’t have fun? There are plenty of opportunities to connect and make friends for a lifetime, find potential business partners, or even just a chum for those coffee breaks. Berlin 2.0 for example, meet up twice a year to bring Berlin’s brightest digital pioneers and visionaries to a festive networking evening. The Online Marketing Lounge meets up several times a year to talk about the Internet sector. likemind is a globally connected platform to connect like-minded throughout all branches. It always helps to have a friend, especially when you’re new in town. So don’t be shy and go mingle!
Useful links for starting up in Berlin:
Berlin’s corporation for economic development and location marketing.
The Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology’s Business Portal.
Business Start-up Network Berlin.
Official website of the city of Berlin.
Germany Trade and Invest.
Development bank of the Federal Land of Berlin.
Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Berlin.
Chamber of Skilled Crafts Berlin.