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Love your startups!

Christian Miele, President of the German Startups Association, demands a fundamental mindshift in Germany

“Germany is still way behind compared to its neighbors” – that’s what Christian Miele, the President of the German Startups Association, is concerned about. “Many people in our society don’t really understand the importance of startups and entrepreneurship”, he said during his talk at Bits & Pretzels’ recent live event.

“Entrepreneurship as a whole should be much broader in the reception of our society.”

He demands more love for startups and a fundamental change in political regulations to enable more innovation. Firstly, the rules around employee stock ownership must be elevated to a level where they can compete internationally, according to Miele. 

Secondly, the so-called „Zukunftsfonds“, a fund with a focus to support startups in the growth and later stage phase, should be promoted as well to make sure German VCs can keep up with their US and Asian competitors. 

The lack of political support for startups also shows during the current Corona crisis, according to Miele. 70 percent of German startups fear bankruptcy within the next 6 months a survey conducted by the German Startup Association amongst 1000 startups showed recently. “We are trying whatever we can in order to secure a little bit of the startup world”, says Christian to Bits & Pretzels.

The German Startup Association amongst others pushed very hard to get funds from the German government to support startups in times of crisis and the German Ministry of Finance has just released a 2 billion matching-fund which includes two pillars: 

  • For startups who have received VC funding: The public funds KfW Capital and the European Investment Fund can step in to ensure the liquidity of startups. If investors provide a certain percentage of that financing, the state will add the remaining part to ensure the startups’ liquidity.
  • For startups who did not obtain external funding yet: These companies can get support from existing funds, providing up to 800.000 euro per startup, which is the limit set by the European Union. 

“Still, a lot of details are not yet defined but the government really tries to help holistically and tries to help big and small companies with the tough and difficult issues they are facing”, Christian says.