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Applying for benefits for the integration of the self-employed

You can get the funding if you

  • Receiving or being entitled to unemployment benefit II
  • want to become self-employed (business start-up),
  • want to expand a previously marginal self-employed activity into your main occupation or
  • are already self-employed full-time.

The aim is for you to be able to earn your own living on a permanent basis within a reasonable period of time and no longer need unemployment benefit II (Hartz IV).

Financial support for the purchase of material goods

If you want to buy material goods that you need for your work, you can get a loan or a grant from your job center. Material goods can be, for example:

  • Computer
  • Software
  • Telephone
  • Office furniture
  • Marketing measures (e.g. creation of a homepage)
  • Vehicles, machines, plants, tools
  • Deposit for commercial premises
  • Initial equipment and operationally necessary replenishment of your material, goods or spare parts warehouse.

No ongoing operating costs are covered, such as

  • wages and personnel costs,
  • Rent
  • Phone bills or
  • Maintenance costs.

Financial support for the purchase of tangible assets is usually provided in the form of a loan. In individual cases, grants of up to EUR 5,000 are possible, loans beyond that. A combination of both is possible. The loans and grants are paid out in monthly installments or as a total amount, depending on the intended use. You have to repay the loan later, but not the subsidy.

You must apply for funding from the job centre before you make the purchase. It is not possible to grant a loan or subsidy for material goods that have already been purchased.

Free consultations and training for the self-employed

If you are already self-employed full-time, you can also be supported by

  • Advice to help you maintain or reorient your self-employment (however, tax and legal advice is not funded)
  • Training courses that provide you with entrepreneurial knowledge, for example in the areas of marketing, accounting, acquisition or project management.

Both are free of charge for you. For example, your job centre commissions your local Chamber of Industry and Commerce or Chamber of Crafts, private educational institutions, innovation, technology or start-up centres.

Which of the aforementioned services you can receive will be checked and decided by your integration specialist. This also applies to the amount of a loan or grant. That is, you have no legal claim to it.

Process flow

You must apply for funding before you can receive financial support for purchases or take advantage of the consulting services.

  • To do this, first make an appointment with your local job center.
  • Your integration specialist will discuss with you whether self-employment can be a realistic strategy for you to integrate into the labour market and end your need for assistance and what kind of support is suitable for you.
  • Loans and grants for the acquisition of tangible goods:
    • Your integration specialist will hand over the application form to you or activate the online application process for you. It is important that you submit the application for funding - online or in writing - before you purchase the material goods.
    • The job centre will check your application and the attached documents.
    • The job centre assesses your personal suitability for the specific self-employed activity and the economic viability of your company. This includes the prognosis of whether you will be able to earn your living by becoming self-employed within a reasonable period of time.
    • You will receive a written or digital notification from the responsible job centre as to whether your application has been approved.
    • After positive feedback, you can make the purchases.
    • You will then need to submit evidence that proves what you spent the funds on
    • , for example, sales contracts, receipts or bank statements.
  • Consultations and training courses to impart knowledge and skills:
    • Your job centre commissions the consultations and training courses from external training providers. You can find out more at your job centre.


In order to receive the benefits, the following requirements must be met:

  • You receive unemployment benefit II (Hartz IV).
  • You want to become self-employed or are already self-employed, which means
    • They work in their own name and on their own account, and
    • They bear the economic risk of their activity (entrepreneurial risk).
  • Self-employment must be your main job, which means
    • You work independently for at least 15 hours per week and
    • Within a reasonable period of time, you can make all or a significant part of your living from the income you earn.
  • You must be personally qualified to successfully pursue a self-employed activity. To do this, you must prove that you have the knowledge and skills you need to become self-employed, for example through
    • Proof of your professional and entrepreneurial qualifications,
    • Professional experience, or
    • participation in measures that prepare you for business start-ups.
  • Your self-employment must be economically viable, which means
    • Your business model must be elaborated and thought through in such a way that your business start-up can be successful in the long term
    • The viability of your self-employment must be proven by an expert opinion. Expert bodies can be chambers, professional associations or start-up initiatives. Your job centre will tell you the competent office responsible for you in your region. Usually you have to submit detailed documents there (see point "Required documents" above).
  • The material goods you want to purchase must be appropriate and necessary for your work.
  • Other sources of financing are ruled out, for example special federal and state programs, local economic development or microcredits
  • The funding must comply with EU state aid law (de minimis rule).

Which documents are required?

In order to receive funding, you must submit appropriate documents. Your integration specialist will inform you which of the following documents are required for the requested funding:

  • Expert opinion confirming that your self-employed activity is economically viable
  • De minimis declaration (EU state aid law)
  • Capital Requirements/Financing Plan
  • Business plan in text form
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Tax registration / business registration / registration with the Chamber of Crafts
  • Certificate of participation in a start-up seminar
  • Offers of operationally necessary investments
  • If applicable, contractual documents such as articles of association or rental agreement
  • At least 2 refusals from banks where you have made credit requests
  • Other individual documents that the job centre can request

What deadlines do I have to pay attention to?

There is no deadline. Prior application required / deadlines are set by the respective job center (e.g. deadlines for submitting documents).

Applications / forms

Forms available: Yes
Written form required: Yes
Informal application possible: Yes
Personal appearance required: Yes
Online services available: Yes


  • Contradiction
  • Action before the Social Court

Technically approved by

Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS)

Professionally released on



The text was automatically translated based on the German content.

competent Bodies

Landkreis Emsland - Fachbereich Arbeit
Address: Ordeniederung 1 , 49716 Meppen
Postal address: Post Office Box 15 62 , 49705 Meppen
Telephone: 05931 44-0
Fax: 05931 44-3621
Transport Connection:
Station Haltestelle Kreishaus
Bus: 993
Building Access:
elevator available : yes
wheelchair-accessible : yes


Telephone: 05931 44-0
responsible for:

Data protection information

Landkreis Emsland
Address: Ordeniederung 1 , 49716 Meppen
Postal address: Post Office Box 15 62 , 49705 Meppen
Telephone: 05931 44-0
Fax: 05931 44-3621
Transport Connection:
Station Haltestelle Kreishaus
Bus: 993
Building Access:
elevator available : yes
wheelchair-accessible : yes
bank account:
recipients: Landkreis Emsland
bank: Emsländische Volksbank
IBAN: DE26266600600120050000
recipients: Landkreis Emsland
bank: Sparkasse Emsland
IBAN: DE39266500010000001339
recipients: Landkreis Emsland
bank: Postbank Hannover
IBAN: DE36250100300012132306


Marc-André Burgdorf
responsible for:
Bernd Otten (Datenschutzbeauftragter)
Telephone: 05931 44-1605
Fax: 05931 44-391605
responsible for:
Landesbeauftragte für den Datenschutz Niedersachsen
Address: Prinzenstraße 5, 30159 Hannover
Telephone: +49 511 12045-00
Fax: +49 511 12045-99
Building Access:
elevator available : unknown
wheelchair-accessible : unknown

Source: Serviceportal Niedersachsen (Portalverbund des Bundes und der Länder)