Coronavirus - Information and contacts for companies
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Corona - Information and contacts for companies

The current situation surrounding the corona pandemic continues to develop very dynamically and presents us all with major challenges. We have compiled the most important information for companies, self-employed persons and freelancers in connection with the corona virus.

Bridging assistance (‘Überbrückungshilfe’) for small and medium-sized enterprises

Brief description:

In principle, companies with global sales of up to EUR 750 million in 2020, solo self-employed persons and self-employed members of the liberal professions in their main occupation in all sectors are eligible to apply for the funding period November 2020 to June 2021 if they have suffered a Corona-related drop in sales of at least 30 percent in one month of the funding period compared with the reference month in 2019.

For whom:

An enterprise is defined as any legally independent entity (with its own legal personality), regardless of its legal form, that is economically active on the market and had at least one employee (regardless of the number of hours) as of the reporting date February 29, 2020 or December 31, 2020 (including non-profit enterprises or social enterprises, organizations and associations). Non-profit companies or social enterprises, organizations and associations without employees may also count volunteers (including persons who receive remuneration under the lump-sum allowance for exercise leaders (Section 3 No. 26 EStG) or the lump-sum allowance for voluntary work (Section 3 No. 26a EStG)) as employees. In the case of civil law companies and companies of other legal forms without further employees (in addition to the owners), at least one partner must work for the company in the main occupation. The same applies to one-person companies, in particular one-person GmbH and one-person GmbH & Co. KG, whose only employee is the shareholder as managing director exempt from social insurance.

The central program has now been extended as Bridging Assistance III Plus until the end of September 2021 and has been significantly expanded once again. A new addition is the Restart Premium, which allows companies to receive a higher subsidy for personnel costs. The new start-up assistance for solo self-employed persons will also be continued as New Start-up Assistance Plus.

Links:

Financial assistance for companies, self-employed persons and freelancers

KfW Loan for Growth

Brief description: Support for investments and operating resources for larger projects in the fields of innovation and digitization of commercial enterprises.

For whom:

  • For domestic and foreign companies with a turnover of up to EUR 2 billion

Funding type: Loan

Scope:

  • KfW participates directly as a consortium partner or indirectly as a risk sub-participation in debt financing of financing partners. The scope of risk assumption is as follows
    • For projects up to EUR 50 million a maximum of 70 percent of the project financing, provided that the risk assumption by KfW does not exceed 50 percent of the total financing,
    • for projects over EUR 50 million, a maximum of 50 percent of the project financing.
  • KfW's share of risk is usually between EUR 7.5 million and a maximum of EUR 100 million. The total volume of risk sub-participation plus refinancing funds is limited to a maximum of EUR 100 million per measure.

Application procedure:

  • KfW participates at the invitation of your financing partner, either directly as a consortium partner or indirectly through risk sub-participation.

Links / Hotlines:


KfW Quick Loan 2020/2021

Brief description: Subsidized loan for purchases (investments) and running costs (operating resources). The loan is 100% secured by a guarantee of the Federal Government. This significantly increases your chance of receiving a loan commitment. 

For whom

  • 11Self-employed persons and companies (regardless of the number of employees) that have been on the market since at least January 2019.
  • Companies that have made a profit in the sum of the years 2017-2019 or in 2019 (if your company has only been on the market for a shorter period so far, this period will be used).

Scope

  • 100% risk assumption by KfW
  • No risk assessment by the bank
  • Max. Credit amount: up to 25 % of annual turnover in 2019
    • Companies with up to 10 employees receive max. EUR 675,000
    • Companies with up to 50 employees receive a max. EUR 1,250,000
    • Companies with more than 50 employees receive a max. EUR 1,800,000
  • Up to 10 years term

Application procedure: The application is made at your own bank or Sparkasse. 

Links / Hotlines


KfW Corona aid: Loans for enterprises

Brief description: Financing of investments and operating resources of medium-sized and large commercial enterprises, sole traders and freelancers.

For whom:

  • Companies and freelancers
  • KfW Unternehmerkredit: Companies that have been active on the market for at least 5 years.
  • ERP-Gründerkredit-Universell: 
    • Young companies that have been active in the market for less than 5 years. 
    • SMEs and large enterprises that have been active in the market for less than 3 years.

Funding type: Loans

Scope: Assumption of a partial risk of the bank by KfW when applying for loans for investments and working capital.

  • Up to 80 % risk assumption for large enterprises
  • Up to 90 % risk assumption for SMEs
  • Up to EUR 1 billion can be applied for per group of companies
    • Credit limit is limited to: 
      • 25 % of the annual turnover in 2019 or 
      • twice the wage costs of 2019, or 
      • the current financing requirements for the next 18 months for small and medium-sized enterprises or 12 months for large enterprises, or 
      • 50 % of total debt or 30 % of the group's balance sheet total in the case of loans exceeding EUR 25 million.

Application procedure: Application must be submitted to the house bank or another financing partner before the start of the project. 

Links / Hotlines:


NRW.BANK Universal loan

Brief description: Low-interest loans with flexible terms in the event of liquidity bottlenecks and for financing working capital and investments.

For whom:

  • Companies with an annual turnover of up to 500 million EUR, founders and freelancers

Type of funding:

  • Installment loans and loans at final maturity

Scope:

  • Indemnity in favor of the house bank - with immediate effect for companies that have run into liquidity problems due to the Corona crisis, in addition to the existing 50% risk assumption, also an 80% risk assumption. The minimum loan amount previously required for this will be suspended.
  • For indemnity amounts up to EUR 250,000: loan commitment usually within 72 hours

Application procedure:

  • The application must be submitted to a credit institution of the applicant's choice (house bank).

Links / Hotlines:


NRW.BANK.Mittelstandskredit (NRW.BANK SME loan)

Brief description: In the case of growth projects to be financed in North Rhine-Westphalia, companies can obtain a loan of up to EUR 10 million with the NRW.BANK Mittelstandskredit under certain conditions. From now on, this loan will also be available for coping with the economic consequences of the Corona crisis.

For whom:

  • Commercial companies (SMEs; also for foreign companies) and freelancers, which are mainly privately owned and whose group turnover does not exceed EUR 500 million and which have generally been active in the market for at least five years.

Type of funding: Loans

Scope:

  • Support for further growth, e.g:
    • acquisition of land and buildings,
    • Construction measures and costs for outdoor facilities,
    • Acquisition and/or manufacture of operating and business equipment,
    • Purchase of intangible assets, provided that they are capitalized in the balance sheet for at least 3 years,
    • Procurement and replenishment of the material, goods or spare parts warehouse.
  • Loans between a minimum of EUR 25,000 and a maximum of EUR 10 million

Application procedure:

  • The application for financing is submitted to the house bank. The bank then forwards the application to NRW.BANK.

Links / Hotlines:


Extraordinary economic aid for the month of November (Novemberhilfe)

Brief description:

  • Novemberhilfe is a support offer for companies, businesses, self-employed persons, associations and institutions that are particularly affected by the measures to contain the Corona pandemic that were decided on October 28, 2020. It offers centralized support in the form of a pro rata reimbursement of turnover. It is paid in the form of a one-off lump sum.

For whom:

  • All companies (including public ones), businesses, the self-employed, associations and institutions that had to cease business operations on the basis of the closure ordinances issued by the federal states on the basis of the resolution of the Minister-Presidents' Conference (MPK) of October 28, 2020 (directly affected companies). Accommodation establishments and event venues are regarded as directly affected companies.
  • All companies that demonstrably and regularly generate 80 percent of their sales with companies directly affected by the above measures (indirectly affected companies).
  • Eligible for application are also companies that regularly generate 80 percent of their sales through deliveries and services on behalf of companies directly affected by the measures via third parties (e.g. event agencies). These companies must prove beyond doubt that they will suffer a drop in sales of more than 80 percent in November 2020 due to the closure orders based on items 5 and 6 of the above-mentioned resolution.

Scope:

  • Solo self-employed persons will receive a simplified direct access route for subsidies of up to EUR 5,000; other companies will receive an advance payment of up to EUR 10,000.

Application procedure:

  • Applications are submitted and paid out fully electronically via the platform www.ueberbrueckungshilfe-unternehmen.de   
  • Applications must be submitted electronically via tax consultants, auditors, sworn accountants or lawyers. Exceptions are solo self-employed persons who do not apply for more than EUR 5,000 in funding. They can submit the application themselves, provided they have not yet applied for bridging assistance.

Links / Hotline:


Extraordinary economic aid for the months November and December (Dezemberhilfe)

The application deadline for initial applications was April 30, 2021.

Guarantees NRW

Brief description: 

  • Bürgschaftsbank NRW provides guarantees of up to EUR 2.5 million per company
  • Guarantees of EUR 2.5 million or more are provided by PWC-PricewaterhouseCoopers in the form of a state guarantee.
  • SchnellBürgschaft 100: The Bürgschaftsbank Nordrhein-Westfalen provides guarantees to secure loans for small enterprises for working capital and investment financing caused by the "corona crisis" (liquidity shortage).

For whom:

  • Classic guarantee: Small and medium-sized existing companies and startups in the commercial sector, including horticultural businesses and members of the liberal professions.
  • Express guarantee: Established small and medium-sized enterprises, including horticultural businesses and members of the liberal professions.
  • SchnellBürgschaft 100: Small commercial enterprises including horticultural businesses and members of the liberal professions with <= 10 employees. Young companies are also eligible for funding, provided that they were founded before/on 01.01.2019 (company has been on the market at least since January 2019).

Scope:

  • Classical guarantee - extension of funding possibilities:
    • Increase in guarantee amount from EUR 1.25 million to EUR 2.5 million
    • Increase in the credit volume to be guaranteed to EUR 3.125 million
    • Term Working capital financing up to 10 years with a maximum of 2 grace years possible (classic guarantee 80% and EXPRESS 80%)
  • Optimization of the express guarantee 80 % (decision in 72 hours).
    • Increase of the maximum guarantee amount from TEuro 150 to TEuro 250
    • Increase in the guarantee rate from 50-60% to 80%. 
  • New: 90% guarantee (product overview)
    • classic guarantee 90%: maximum guarantee amount EUR 2.5 million, maximum loan amount EUR 2.777 million
    • Express guarantee 90%: maximum guarantee amount EUR 250,000, maximum loan amount EUR 277,000
    • New program Immediate Guarantee 90% (for credit lines and working capital loans): Max. Guarantee amount EUR 90,000 Euro, max. loan amount EUR 100,000
  • New: SchnellBürgschaft 100
    • With immediate effect, small companies with a maximum of 10 employees can apply for a 100% guarantee for loans of up to € 250,000 via their house bank.
    • Scope of support: up to 100% of the loan amount for loans up to € 250,000
    • Funding period: up to 10 years, up to 8 years for overdraft facilities

Application procedure:

  • The application for guarantee is made by the house bank. The Bürgschaftsbank NRW offers online application forms for this purpose in its application portal

Links / Hotlines:


Export credit guarantees (Hermes guarantees)

Brief description: The Federal Republic of Germany provides these guarantees to cover the foreign trade risk in order to protect German exporters in their foreign business. Further information can be found on the homepage of the BMWi.

For whom:

  • German companies

Application procedure:

Links / Hotlines:

Brief description: Mezzanine capital is a hybrid of equity and debt capital. The company receives economic equity. The "Mikromezzaninfonds Deutschland" can enter into silent partnerships (max. EUR 75,000) without the involvement of the principal bank and without collateral and contributes to strengthening the economic equity base.  

For whom:

  • Small businesses, startups and freelancers who are not subject to the professional code of conduct
  • Special target groups are companies that provide training, that are founded out of unemployment or are managed by women or people with a migration background
  • commercially oriented social enterprises and environmentally oriented enterprises

Scope:

  • Amount of participation: maximum EUR 50,000; up to EUR 150,000 for applicants from the specific target groups of the Fund (maximum EUR 75,000 per project)
  • Duration: 10 years
  • Repayment: after the 7th year in 3 equal annual instalments

Application procedure

The application must be made using the KBG NRW application form.

Links / Hotlines

Brief description: In the event of general operational difficulties (loss of orders, supply problems, etc.) and officially ordered closures of operations, companies have the option of applying for short-time work compensation (KUG).

For whom:

  • German companies
    • At least 10 percent of your employees have lost pay of more than 10 percent
    • your employees have worked off overtime and positive time credits (with certain exceptions).

The above-mentioned requirements apply for a limited period until December 31, 2021, if you receive short-time benefits for the first time no later than June 2021.

Application procedure:

  • The application for KUG is granted by the respective competent employment agency. This agency checks on a case-by-case basis whether all requirements for the granting of short-time work compensation are met.

Links / Hotlines:

Promotion of entrepreneurial know-how through management consultancy

Brief description: The Federal Office of Economics and Export Control extends BAFA support for entrepreneurial know-how.

Important note: The BAFA received more applications for the attractive support module for companies affected by corona than budget funds available.

Due to the great demand, the funds earmarked for this special support module have already been exhausted, and no additional funds can be made available. Funding from the special corona module has therefore been discontinued prematurely. Therefore, for the time being, only applications that have already been granted can be approved and the funding paid out to the consultant. The prerequisites for this are also that you have submitted a proof of use eligible for funding and that sufficient budget funds are available.

The other modules for the promotion of entrepreneurial know-how allow for further subsidized consultations at favorable conditions. You can find more information here.

For whom

  • Young companies that have been on the market for no longer than two years (startup companies)
  • Companies from the third year after foundation (existing companies)
  • Companies in economic difficulties, regardless of age (companies in difficulty)

Scope

  • The companies concerned receive a subsidy for a consultancy service amounting to 100%, up to a maximum of EUR 4,000, of the invoiced consultancy costs (full financing).
  • The amount of the grant is based on the maximum eligible consultancy costs (assessment basis) and the location of the company.

Application procedure

  • The Federal Office of Economics and Export Control (BAFA) is responsible for implementing the program
  • Before submitting an application, young companies and companies in difficulty must hold a free information meeting with a regional contact person about the conditions for funding. Existing companies are free to take advantage of an information meeting.
  • Online portal for submitting applications 

Links / Hotlines:


Promotion of home office (go-digital)

Brief description: The go-digital funding program supports small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and craft enterprises that want to optimize their business processes using digital solutions. New: Companies can now have home office workplaces subsidized.

For whom:

  • Small and medium-sized enterprises (< 100 employees) in the industrial or craft sectors

Application procedure:

  • In a total of 3 modules that can be combined with each other, companies are supported by one of over 1,000 authorized consultants. 
    • Digitalized business processes, including home office
    • Digital market development
    • IT security

Links / Hotlines:

Support for founders and startups

NRW.SeedCap

Brief description: Investments by the NRW.BANK in corporations in the startup phase (up to 18 or 36 months after the foundation).

For whom:

  • SMEs (corporations) being in the founding or startup phase (up to this point not older than 18 months or 36 months). New: Generally up to 36 months after the foundation.

Scope:

  • Measures are financed that are related to the establishment of a company or companies that need financing for investments and/or working capital. In general, the Business Angel and the NRW.BANK take over the financing in equal parts.
  • In principle, the NRW.BANK provides equity capital in form of an investment in the same amount as the business angel and pari passu on its terms. The financing part taken over by the NRW.BANK must amount to at least EUR 15,000. The maximum amount in the first round of financing is EUR 200,000.

Application procedure:

NRW.BANK
Bereich Eigenkapitalfinanzierungen
Abteilung 101-68100
Kavalleriestraße 22
40213 Düsseldorf

Links / Hotlines:


NRW.BANK.Venture Fonds

Brief description: The NRW.BANK.Venture Fund promotes innovative companies as a co-investor in North Rhine-Westphalia in attractive future industries.

For whom:

  • Startups and young growth companies (corporations) with a convincing business model, first or second institutional financing round (Series A or B). New: Also possible in a later growth phase (e.g. financing rounds C or D).

Scope:

  • Equity capital is usually provided in form of a direct minority stake or a convertible loan.
  • The minimum amount of equity financing is EUR 0.25 million; the maximum amount in the first step is EUR 3.0 million. In total, the maximum amount is EUR 6.0 million per company.

Application procedure

Links / Hotlines:


NRW.Start-up akut

Brief description: Convertible loan from the NRW.BANK to corporations in the seed or startup phase due to the corona crisis.

For whom:

  • Funding is given to innovative, growth-oriented corporations in the seed or startup phase (not older than 36 months) that have been verifiably affected by the effects of the corona crisis.

Scope:

  • Companies receive up to EUR 200,000 over a period of six years. The loan is due or can be converted into equity capital at the end of the term or with the entry of a new investor.
  • Advantage: in the acute crisis, the company is not burdened by interest and principal payments.

Application procedure: 

NRW.BANK
Bereich Eigenkapitalfinanzierungen
Abteilung 101-68100
Kavalleriestraße 22
40213 Düsseldorf

Links / Hotlines:

Financial aid for particularly affected sectors

Companies in the hotel and catering trade receive sector-specific information from DEHOGA.

The Competence Center Creative Industries CREATIVE. NRW provides information on support measures for the cultural and creative industries.

The special support program of the Ministry of Culture and Science, which was launched on the 20th of March as a bridging aid in the amount of EUR 5 million, has now been exhausted. A follow-up solution is currently being worked on. Support continues to be available through federal and state programs.”

The federal and state sponsors have developed a joint aid program for projects that are generally funded jointly with measures in the areas of production, distribution and cinema.

Other useful links

Information page (FAQ) of the German Association of Chambers of Industry and Commerce about the COVID-19 pandemic.

NRW hotline for the state government's aid package: ZENIT takes over the central NRW hotline for the "Unternehmen-Soforthilfe NRW" rescue package The hotline can be reached on weekdays between 8:00 and 18:00 hrs on the telephone number 0208 30004-39

You will find current information from the Federal Employment Agency for companies on the short-time working allowance under the following link:

Further up-to-date information from the NRW Regional Directorate of the Federal Employment Agency can be found at the following path:

Decrees to combat the corona pandemic: The relevant decrees to combat the corona pandemic can be found on the homepage of the NRW Health Ministry in chronological order.

Current case numbers for NRW can be found here:

Important questions and answers about the corona virus are prepared for the following topics in the FAQ list on the national portal.

Basic information, situation in North Rhine-Westphalia, companies, employees, child care, schools, universities, hospitals / nursing and old people's homes, justice, cultural institutions, consumers:

Contact persons/hotlines, current news, collected information etc. are compiled on the Corona site of the country:

The Chambers of Industry and Commerce in North Rhine-Westphalia have compiled helpful links and tips for companies:

The Landes-Gewerbeförderungsstelle des nordrhein-westfälischen Handwerks (LGH) summarises on its Corona service page mainly information for handicraft enterprises in form of a link list. The offer is updated several times a day. The range of information is supplemented by a service hotline for the NRW craft organizations and an overview of the service hotlines of the NRW Chambers of Trade for their member companies:

Unternehmer NRW provides the most important information on current developments from the perspective of labor law and economic policy:

In North Rhine-Westphalia, the Regional Associations of the Rhineland (LVR) and Westphalia-Lippe (LWL) are responsible, depending on the location of the permanent establishment, for compensation in the event of a ban on work and loss of earnings as well as school and kindergarten closure in connection with the Infection Protection Act:

What employees need to know: Labor law, home office, short-time working allowance.

14 questions and answers for employees. Additional information in case of dismissal and unemployment but also on company pandemic planning can be found here:

Municipal online platform for the coronavirus launched: On the initiative of the KGSt and the German Association of Towns and Municipalities, a separate section on the corona virus has been set up on the DStGB's "Network of Municipalities" exchange platform:

Database that supports from the finding of subsidies to the preparation of documents for banks:

Digital solution for the intuitive application for short-time work benefits. With simple and understandable questions, the newly developed chatbot fills out the form for notification of short-time work for the Federal Employment Agency with the employer and assists with the rest of the process.

The Federal Association of German Startups has presented a 4-step plan to protect German startups in the corona crisis: