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.
Many female entrepreneurs are interested in being self-employed in the “Freie Berufe” (liberal professions). The proportion of self-employed women in these professions has increased at different rates over the past ten years. The Institut für Mittelstandsforschung (IfM) Bonn, which does research focused on SMEs, reported that the highest proportion of women at the start of 2021 was to be found among psychotherapists, publicists, vets, and performing artists.
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). The Female Founders Monitor 2022 investigated the most important obstacles facing, as well as the potential of, female entrepreneurs. These include challenges combining a new business with family commitments and 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.
The Servicestelle guide (Service Agency “guide”) 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
- 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 subsidised 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 free “Women Start-up Empowerment training series 2023“. Female students, PhD students, (future) female founders and young professionals can take part in one or more of these trainings, held in English, throughout the year. Learn more and sign up here.
Vorgründungs– und Nachfolgecoaching: businesswww.ihk-muenchen.de
Vorgründungs– und Nachfolgecoaching: liberal professionifb.uni-erlangen.de
List of coacheswww.gruenderland.bayern
self-guided seminar for mothers involved in entrepreneurial activitiesgruenderplattform.de
mentoring for women entrepreneursgruenderplattform.de
tools for women entrepreneurswww.gruenderplattform.de
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:
- Fintech Ladies
- Female Investors Network
- VdU Female Investors and Founders Network
- Business Angels Netzwerk Deutschland e.V.
Portraits of female angel investors:
- German Start-up Awards: Investorin des Jahres 2022
- Golden Aurora Award: Europe‘s Female Angel Investor of the Year 2021
Successful female-led exits
Female led fonds
- GGF – Green Generation Fund invests in disruptive technologies at seed stages to enable breakthroughs in food tech and green tech
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.
WEM – Women Entrepreneurs of Munich: a community of English-speaking female entrepreneurs in the Munich area.www.meetup.com
Women Start-up by UnternehmerTUMwww.unternehmertum.de
Female Founders Office Hoursutum.typeform.com
Meetups, such as Female Founderswww.meetup.com
Verband deutscher Unternehmerinnen e.V. (Association of German Women Entrepreneurs)
TWIN mentoring program for business womenwww.kaete-ahlmann-stiftung.de
Female Founders Bootcampwww.businettes.com
Belladonna Club & Networkwww.belladonna-muenchen.de
münchner frauenforum (Munich Women’s Forum)muenchner-frauenforum.de
Frauenakademie München e.V. (Women’s Academy Munich)www.frauenakademie.de
European Women’s Management Developmentgermany.ewmd.org/bayern.php
Coworking-space and creative lab for motherswww.ohtinyville.com
Networks for female entrepreneurs in Bavariawww.she-works.de
Women networks nationwidewww.teamnushu.de
FEMboss (business network für women entrepreneurs)femboss.org
National Agency for Women Start-ups Activities and Services (bga)www.existenzgruenderinnen.de
National professional associations
BücherFrauen e.V. (Women in publishing)www.buecherfrauen.de
Bundesverband unabhängiger Finanzdienstleisterinnen e.V. (Women financial service providers)www.finanzfachfrauen.de
Deutscher Ärztinnenbund e.V. (German Medical Women’s Association)www.aerztinnenbund.de
Deutscher Juristinnenbund e.V. (German Women Lawyers Association)www.djb.de
efas Ökonominnen-Netzwerk (economy, feminism and science)efas.htw-berlin.de
Lachesis – Berufsverband für Heilpraktikerinnen e.V. (women alternative health practitioner association)www.lachesis.de
NUT – Frauen in Naturwissenschaft und Technik e.V. (women in science and technology)www.nut.de
Frauen in der Immobilienwirtschaft e.V. (women in real estate)www.immofrauen.de
webgrrls.de e.V. (women in digital media)www.webgrrls.de
Women’s Networking Lounge e.V. (women in healthcare industries)www.womensnetworkinglounge.de
These female entrepreneurs offer inspiration and encouragement – you can find interviews and podcasts here.
Munich Startup series “Female Founders”www.munich-startup.de/tag/female-founders
Munich Startup series “Women in Tech”www.munich-startup.de/tag/women-in-tech/
Munich Startup: 5 women-led networks and incubatorswww.veuveclicquot.com
fIVE The Podcast on Female Entrepreneurshipwww.sce.de
FE.MALE FOUNDERS – Podcastwww.de.digital
Initiative „FRAUEN unternehmen“www.existenzgruenderinnen.de
Fempreneur: 10 inspiring podcastswww.fempreneur.de
Women in the Munich startup scenewww.muenchen.tv
Supporting and raising awareness of female entrepreneurial activity – these competitions send a signal and embolden women to take the path of self-employment.
LaMonachia (Munich award for women in business)stadt.muenchen.de
Cartier Women’s Initiative Awardwww.cartierwomensinitiative.com
Clicquot Bold Woman Awardwww.veuveclicquot.com
Darboven IDEE-Förderpreis (award for innovative business ideas of women entrepreneurs)www.darboven.com
Digital female leader Awarddigital-female-leader.de
European Prize for Women Innovatorseic.ec.europa.eu
EIT: Women Leadership Awardeit.europa.eu
Initiatives from the EIT’s Innovation Communitieseit.europa.eu
Female Founders Award – AmCham Germanywww.amcham.de
Female Founder Award – Handelsblatt and McKinseyaward.handelsblatt.com
Female Founders Award – Food and Beveragebest-food-founder.com
“Xathon” Business hackathon for female entrepreneurswww.henkel.com
Female Innovators in Urban Mobility Programwww.unternehmertum.de