Women Entrepreneurship

Facts and figures

The proportion of self-employed women in Germany has risen significantly over the last 15 years. Thanks to the positive labor market development, the number of women in employment has also risen considerably. This trend is reflected in entrepreneurial activities. The “KfW-Gründungsmonitor” registered 550,000 persons who took up full- or part-time self-employment in 2022, of whom 257,000 were women. This means women account for 37 percent of new businesses. This includes starting out as either with a business or a liberal profession.

Liberal professions are growing at the heart of the service society and are becoming more female. This is shown by figures from the IfM Bonn: around 51,920 women took up self-employment in the liberal professions in 2023. As in previous years, women account for more than half of freelance start-ups. The proportion of self-employed women in the liberal professions was 54.8 percent. “At the beginning of 2023, women were most strongly represented among psychotherapists, publicists, veterinarians and visual and performing artists,” reported the IfM Bonn.

However, female entrepreneurs are significantly under-represented in the start-up ecosystem. According to figures from “Deutscher Startup Monitor 2023“, women make up 20.7 percent. Founding teams are still predominantly male. Teams with both women and men make up less than a third (28.2 percent). More than half (54.2 percent) of female founders are flying solo, a far higher percentage than male founded companies (18.6 percent). In terms of startup financing, the “EY Startup Barometer Gründerinnen” reveals that there is a large gender investment gap: in 2023 female-led startups received significantly less venture capital in 2023 than startups with all-male founding teams.

The Female Founders Monitor 2022 investigated the most important obstacles as well as the potentials of female founders. These include challenges balancing family life and starting a business as well as disadvantages relating to financing and growth. On the other hand, female entrepreneurs often enrich the start-up ecosystem with diversity and fresh perspectives. They are frequently motivated by social issues and their innovative business ideas often encompass both business and societal aspects. According to the Green Startup Monitor 2024 the proportion of female founders of startups that contribute to the ecological goals of a Green Economy is, at 24 percent, significantly higher than in the startup ecosystem as a whole. This is also reflected at management level of these startup companies.

Advice and coaching for Munich’s female entrepreneurs

guide initiative has been offering actual and potential female entrepreneurs various forms of support at all stages of their business development since 2005, including:

  •    Introductory “guide start” event
  •     Group coaching
  •     Workshops
  •     Seminars
  •     Networking events
  •     Individual consultations

“guide” is committed to authentic and individual advice on starting a business, tailored to the wishes and needs of its female clients. The advisor and entrepreneur work together on a concept for the new business, and analyse its market potential, customer focus, economic viability, and long-term prospects.

The Department of Labor and Economic Development supports “guide” as part of the Munich Employment and Qualification Programme (MBQ). “guide”. In 2016 “guide” won the City of Munich’s Anita Augspurg Award for promoting equality for girls and women.

Women looking to go into business can already get subsidised coaching before they become fully self-employed or before taking over or getting involved with an existing company. The “Bayerisches Vorgründungs– und Nachfolgecoaching” programme, which offers coaching both before and after starting a business, facilitates subsidised, one-to-one advice. You benefit from the experience and expertise of a professional coach and optimise your own business knowledge. Core topics include business plans, marketing, sales, organisation, staff, and company succession.  Are you planning to start a business ? Then contact your local IHK (Chamber of Commerce and Industry) for the application forms. Are you planning to work in the liberal professions? Then you should contact the Institut für Freie Berufe (Institute for Liberal Professions, IFB). Are you already self-employed as your main source of income and would like subsidized coaching or mentoring? Find out more about the available services.

Former entrepeneurs and managers offer voluntary services as part of the “Aktivsenioren Bayern e.V.” association and can provide assistance to today’s female entrepreneurs regarding, for example, business plans and business-model analysis.

UnternehmertTUM, the Center for Innovation and Business Creation at the Technical University of Munich, has launched its freeWomen Start-up Empowerment training series“. Female students, PhD students, (future) female founders and young professionals can take part in one or more of these training sessions, held in English, throughout the year.

The initiative we Female Founders supports women who are considering to start their their own business. Their free online program Female Founders helps you to start, grow and scale your business.

Financing and support

Entrepreneurs have different ways of getting the start-up capital they need for their business. Subsidies, loans, guarantees, shares, venture capital, crowdfunding – you can find an overview here. 

A particular hit with female founders in Munich is the “Förderprogramm Crowdfunding–Kampagne” (“Funding program Crowdfunding Campaign”).

With this programme the City of Munich offers people launching a campaign in Munich financial support for all creative services relating to their crowdfunding campaign.  Further information on the “Förderprogramm Crowdfunding–Kampagne” can be found on the City’s website.

Micro-mezzanine fund Germany

Designed for, among others, entrepreneurs whose need for capital is small or relatively modest, “mezzanine capital” improves credit rating and creates further scope for credit. The funding takes the form of a silent partnership via investment companies for SMEs. Founders in Munich should contact the Bavarian organisation BayBG Bayerische Beteiligungsgesellschaft for more information on the micro-mezzanine fund.

Investor networks for female entrepreneurs

Raising awareness, networking, providing knowledge and capital – these networks bring investors, business angels, female entrepreneurs and potential investors together.

Below is a selection:

Portraits of female angel investors:

Award-winning investors:

Successful female-led exits

Female led fonds

Networks and female empowerment for Munich’s female entrepreneurs

Networks have many functions. Female founders and young female entrepreneurs can use networks to talk to and learn from one another and offer mutual encouragement. Networks can open doors by recommending and putting people in contact with service providers and potential clients. There are networks and initiatives for female empowerment on both a regional and national level in Germany. Below is a selection of services in and around Munich.