Berlin guarantees founders without permanent residence rights

Economic policy

Berlin guarantees founders without permanent residence rights

Preparing school meals is an industry into which the social enterprise Gräfewirtschaft with refugee workers has successfully entered. With a guarantee, the expansion should now be successful

Picture: Jens Kalaene / dpa

The Bürgschaftsbank provides cover for refugees of young entrepreneurs and social enterprises under two new funding programs.

Berlin. Naser Latif has a plan. The Syrian has developed a special lightweight component that can be used to quickly erect refugee shelters and other structures. In order to start a business well, a mechanical engineer, like almost every founder, needs a loan. he doesn’t get it that easily as he only has a three-year residence permit in Germany.

Support for founders from non-EU countries and social entrepreneurs is the first of its kind

The Bürgschaftsbank Berlin (BBB) ​​is now helping with these dilemmas. With the support of the Senate Department of Economics, the BBB launched the BBBwelcome program. This means that start-ups created by migrants from non-EU countries who cannot obtain a loan from commercial banks due to their residence status can be secured with guarantees. Another BBBsocial program targets social enterprises that are not profit maximizing and therefore also have difficulty obtaining funding.

Senator Schwarz: “We look forward to better immigration laws”

“This is breaking new ground,” Economic Senator Stephan Schwarz said on Tuesday. Both funding programs are the first of their kind in the country. Berlin is home to 780,000 people from non-EU countries, which means there is enormous entrepreneurial potential, said the senator. The social economy has been developing in the city for some time.

also read: Companies hope for employees: “Berlin needs you”

Schwarz does not find it easy that Berlin now wants to compensate for the pitfalls of the German residence permit with its own funds. But with the warranty program, you create a “super instrument” to compensate for the deficits. “As the state of Berlin, we are looking forward to one day better immigration laws,” said Schwarz.

Loans totaling € 50 million can be secured with state aid

A guarantee framework of EUR 50 million is available for both programs combined. Each founder or company can obtain a maximum of 80 percent guarantees on loans of up to 1.5 million euros. “Most of the funding goes up to 1.5 million euros,” said BBB chief Steffen Hartung. His management colleague Peter Straub said many refugees are highly skilled, have ideas and absolutely want to flee employment agencies. You can now “offer top-class loan collateral.”

Maria Kiczka-Halit has been advising migrants from third countries for the Lok.a.Motion agency for 20 years and has already accompanied 190 start-ups. Apart from the language, financing was usually an issue. Some projects submitted to the microcredit program of the state-owned investment bank. But it foresees a repayment from the first month in order to be able to pay off the sums in just three years. Building materials distributor Latif had to immediately raise 1,000 euros a month for a loan. “It was difficult,” said the Syrian. The consultant is confident that if there is really money for the immigrant founders, the demand will increase significantly.

Due to their non-profit orientation, social enterprises hardly receive credit from banks

It was also difficult for entrepreneurs in the growing social economy sector to obtain loans from ordinary commercial banks. Annette Jankowski, founder of Gräfewirtschaft, which prepares 3,500 school meals every day for 70 immigrant women in a catering company.

also read: Berlin bakeries offer jobs to refugees

Annette Jankowski started out with a restaurant in Gräfe-Kiez in Kreuzberg, where she wanted to hire refugees. “The problem was where we get the money from,” reported Jankowski. Eventually, she received an award from her previous job in the industry. Now he wants to develop and supply more schools. However, since they allocate profits to new jobs and qualifications, banks hesitate, also because the Banking Act imposes limits on them. The company works. “We have more orders than we can handle,” says the social entrepreneur.

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