Economic Affairs Minister Peter Altmaier

© picture alliance/Jörg Carstensen/dpa

The German Bundestag today adopted the Immediate Assistance Programme to support small enterprises, own-account workers and freelancers and the Economic Stabilisation Fund. The German Bundesrat will take a decision on the assistance package on Friday. The supplementary budget that has become necessary for the programmes is also to be adopted this week by the Bundestag and the Bundesrat. The immediate assistance funds for small enterprises will be available to the Länder as soon as the supplementary budget is adopted this week.

Economic Affairs Minister Peter Altmaier said: “The German Bundestag today demonstrated again how quickly it can adopt important legislation when this is urgently needed. It is now important to secure the economic survival especially of own-account workers and microenterprises and to do everything we can to help our companies to cope with the crisis as well as possible. We need to safeguard the economic substance of our country. It is now important to act together - and quickly!”

In parallel to the parliamentary procedure, the Economic Affairs Ministry is working very hard with the Länder to finalise the administrative agreement on the rapid and unbureaucratic implementation of the Immediate Assistance Programme for small enterprises by the Länder. The immediate assistance is paid out by the Länder, for example through the promotional banks (e.g. in Lower Saxony via Nbank, Lower Saxony’s promotional bank).

Key elements of immediate assistance for small enterprises

Immediate financial assistance (grants) for small enterprises with up to 10 employees is granted to all industries and to own-account workers and freelancers. The programme has a volume of up to €50 billion. More specifically, there will be

  • one-off payments of up to €9,000 over a period of 3 months for businesses with a maximum of 5 employees,
  • one-off payments of up to €15,000 over a period of 3 months for businesses with a maximum of 10 employees.

The grants intended are to secure the economic survival of applicants, as the immediate assistance can be used to cover costs, including rents, loans for operating expenses and leasing instalments. The one-off payments do not need to be paid back. The key elements of the immediate assistance for small enterprises adopted by the Cabinet can be found here (PDF, 431 KB).

Additional liquidity assistance for enterprises

In addition to immediate assistance for small enterprises, there are comprehensive loan programmes for companies. The KfW’s new 2020 Special Programme was launched on 23 March 2020. Applications can now be submitted. Numerous firms have already applied for loans. KfW has already received applications for loans totalling more than €3 billion (www.kfw.de/KfW-Konzern/Newsroom/Aktuelles/KfW-Corona-Hilfe-2.html) (in German).

Small, medium-sized and large businesses can benefit from the KfW’s 2020 Programme. The terms of the loans have once again been improved. Lower interest rates and simplified risk assessment by KfW for loans of up to €3 billion are further facilitations for firms.

We are covering the maximum share of the loan risk permitted by EU legislation as KfW is assuming up to 90% of the financial risk for investment and operating expenses of small and medium-sized enterprises. This makes lending for banks and savings banks easier and makes bank loans more easily accessible for enterprises.

You can find the fact sheet here (PDF, 485 KB). More information and contact persons can be found on the website of KfW: www.kfw.de/KfW-Konzern/Newsroom/Aktuelles/KfW-Corona-Hilfe-Unternehmen.html (in German).

In addition to loans, enterprises can also make use of the instrument of guarantees via the guarantee banks. Guarantee banks can grant fast-track guarantees of up to €250,000 within 3 days on their own, i.e. without involving the Länder. More information can be found on the websites of the guarantee banks.