Opening a small business as a non-EU foreigner

49 posts in this topic

Hello everyone,

 

I would be grateful for some tips regarding opening a small business in Germany. I am thinking along the lines of a cafe (usual stuff, as far as I can see from the topics here :) ) Of course, I am going to do extensive market research and am not going to plunge into it unprepared. But before I do anything, I need some consolidated information on whether non-EU foreigners (which I am) actually can open firms in Germany. I read somewhere auslaenders cannot open GmbHs. I also know nothing about loans for small business. Which legal forms would be available for me? I am just wondering about the bureaucratic side of it all rather than anything else. Is there any chance to become an enterpreneur, or is it ruled out outright, or involves too much hassle?

 

Thanks in advance. Am interested in hearing all stories.

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Foreigners can open a GmbH, they just need to be able to come to germany when necessary.However, I think that a GmbH is very unusual for a café.Of course foreigners can open those, since there are lots of chinese/italian etc. restaurants.

Getting a loan could be a problem, I remember having heard that many banks refuse to give loans to gastronomical bussinesses bc. in their judgement, the whole gastronomical sector has a rather bad economical outlook.

EDIT : googled a bit, apparently a GmbH for a café is not as uncommon as i thought.

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Thanks - and what did you initially think the most common legal form for a cafe was?

 

The whole cafe idea needs much more looking into it, too... I am not very keen myself on having some sort of catering business - I am really interested in really good coffee that people would buy on the way to work, something along those lines. I am wondering if there is demand for good quality stuff as opposed to the awful Sturbucks/fast food chains stuff that so often passes for coffee these days.

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I am wondering if there is demand for good quality stuff as opposed to the awful Sturbucks/fast food chains stuff that so often passes for coffee these days.

That comment sounds like my brother every day so I am sure that there are people who have the same opinions out there.

 

We have a shop in the town where I live and I would love to "rip" it off and use its business model however on my last visit to Munich I found that you already have a bigger version. Dallaman or something like in Marineplatz.

 

So the brain is still ticking for that one simple idea! However I too am finding it hard to work out all the bureaucratic red tape, don't think I will be able to fully understand till I get my German skills up to scratch then it may be easier!

 

Is there an equivalent to a Sole Trader in Germany?

 

And is there any Websites (in English would be best) that would help people wanting to open businesses in Germany/Munich that may be of use?

I am thinking on the lines of Business link in the UK.

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Thanks - and what did you initially think the most common legal form for a cafe was?

An "Einzelunternehmung", simply, bc. it doesn't have the disclosure and audit obligations that apply for others and is the most natural thing to do.However, a GmbH has its advantages, but I still think a GmbH is mostly for bigger enterprises.

 

 

Dallaman or something like in Marineplatz.

Dallmayr. Marienplatz. (nit-picking, I know)

 

I hope theres not really a "Marineplatz" in Munich - last time I was there, I failed to see any tiny submarines on the Isar.

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This may not be too big a problem, as there's loads of Afghan, Nigerian, Iranian, Turkish used-car dealers and cafes all over the place, most of whom do not speak German either (at least when it comes to dealing with the Finanzamt or the police). The normal way is not a GmbH but simply you yourself as a sole trader (Einzelunternehmen). For opening a GmbH you need 1st a lawyer to make upo the Gesellschaftsvertrag (company statutes), 2nd the capital or at least a part of it, 3rd an entry in the Handelsregister (~company's house). For an Einzelunternehmen you only need your brains and handsand the cash for buying things.

If you don't want to go wrong, ask the Industrie und Handelskammer (IHK - chamber of commerce). They usually offer an Existenzgründungsberatung (advice for start-ups). And ask a tax consultant.

Cheers

Chris

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In fact, if we could discuss possible ideas for small business here, it would be great. I've read similar topics but I was wondering if anyone followed up on their ideas of cafes/small shops/children's stuff, etc. It would be lovely if those people wrote back with their news, even if there's no news.

 

I am toying with the cafe idea being egoistically interested in good coffee myself, and feel rather passionate about it... but in practice there might be not enough demand for it.

If anyone has suggestions as to something which would interest people, is manageable and fun, let's talk about it maybe?

 

thanks everyone anyways.

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Einzelunternehmung - does anybody know if non-EU foreigners can register a firm as a sole proprietorship in Germany?

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So I'm going through this whole process myself right now.

 

I found out a few interesting things. First of all, if your business is any kind of a service industry, you're expected to register as an independent freelancer, not as a business. Aparently things work mostly the same, but the main difference is that you are not allowed to separate your personal income from your business income.

 

You end up going through one of two agencies:

 

IHK -- Industie und Handels Kammertag

 

IFB -- Institut für Freie Berufe

 

IHK is for opening a business like a store or restaurant. IFB is for Doctors, lawyers, artisans, language teachers, consultants, accountants, etc. Aparently you also get to buy yourself cheaper health insurance and social insurance via IFB.

 

But, step one before you can open a business is to put together a package covering about 10 points about your business. You have to produce a business plan, get recommendations, and basically convence Germany why they should let you open a business.

 

You get a form for this from the Auslanderamt. You then submit the whole packet to them. They pass it on to the IHK and IFB, city authorities,etc who will then decide on the merit of your proposal.

 

If they approve you will be given permission to operate a business in Germany. They will also annotate your visa to reflect this. The good point is that you can sometimes get your visa extended for a 5-year period versus the usual 2.

 

From there you pay a fee to join the IHK or IFB and they help you get everything together.

 

Oh yeah and of course it all has to be in German.

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Lexicon, what do you mean by "independent freelancer" - is it the Einzelunternehmung we were talking about above?

 

Does anyone know if it is possible for foreigners (including non-EU foreigners) to get a small business loan in Germany?

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I don't know about the loan. That's one of my concerns too. There are however grants that are available to non-eu guys from the government, but I don't know the details yet.

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Dear Friends,

 

I am Nirmala Jyothi Jujagiri. Today only I joined in this forum.Nice meeting you all.

 

This topic is exactly what I am looking for.I am working in one industry now.I am basically from India.I am in Germany on a work permit.I want to start one Indian fast food centre here.But I am afraid that a person on work permit cannot start the business in Germany.So I need your advice on this.Any kind of small information will be helpful for me.

 

Am I able to start an Indian fast food centre in Germany along with my job in Indsutry??? If yes how I have to proceed further??

 

Thank you very much in advance for your help.

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I am 22 year old male from california stationed in mannhiem. I was previously stationed in darmstadt ( which is a nice stadt/ city).

to respond to the individual was looking for business ideas. keep in ming your target market, demographics, city size etc.

Opening a lounge/bar/ nightclub is a bad idea, keeping in mind that europeans love to go on vacations and disco (clubs). there are two in frankfurt that I particulairly*spelling*, like one is called, "Unity" and the other one is called, "Funkadelic".

 

The Unity is a lounge setting, candle lighting with easy listening house/ hip hop, and around midnight or so they move all the furniture aside and it turns into a nice nightclub. This club has a lot of hip, jazzy late 20's to early 30's attending. americans are they and they have germans who speak english too.

The Funkadelic is by frankfurts hauptwache area, their music selection is very elcetic and fun vibe. they have a loyal base of customers. many americans work there and germans that speak pretty good english.

 

let me know if anyone needs any help with informatiom in germnay...because i know i will be on this forum more often know that i have found what i am looking for.

 

thanks,

jason

 

email me @: st8champn30@yaahoo.com

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I'm toying with the idea of small business with me as the sole employee (at least for awhile). I recently was told in my Integrations course that one can do the Einzelunternehmung or an Personellgesellschaft (that's what she called it) for 1 Euro. Supposedly, it's relatively easy.

 

I'm in München so it's hard to believe that the Bavarians would make anything easy for us Auslanders. I have to go down to the KVR soon so I might see if I can find info. on the Einzelunternehmung thing there.

 

Thanks for the info.

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According to this website you would only have to enroll your Einzelunternehmung with the Gewerbeamt:

 

"Kosten / Formalien

Das Einzelunternehmen ist die kostengünstigste Möglichkeit sich alleine selbständig zu machen. Da eine Mindestkapitalausstattung gesetzlich nicht vorgeschrieben ist, kann so eine Einzelfirma sehr schnell gegründet werden. Auch die laufenden Kosten sind im Ergebnis sehr überschaubar, da keine besonderen Anforderungen an die Erstellung des Jahresabschlusses sowie die Bestellung von Vertretungsorganen gestellt werden."

 

Another advantage is that a contribution of capital (right term ?)is not necessary, unlike with a GmbH for example. For founding a GmbH = Ltd. one has to invest I think 25.000 Euros.

 

http://www.hochschulgruenderportal.de/pers...ellschaften.htm

 

According to this site citizens of the Europäischer Wirtschftsraum (countries below) and German citizens are treated equally regarding the prerequisites for founding a firm. I see that you are American citizen, so there is again no difference for you if you have a Unbefristete Aufenthaltserlaubnis or a Aufenthaltsberechtigung. If your Aufenthaltsgenehmigung is subject to conditions, it's more difficult. In this case you ought to contact the IHK (chamber of commerce). They provide support for founders.

 

http://www.rostock.ihk24.de/produktmarken/...taendigkeit.jsp

 

Dokument-Nummer: 11505 Selbständigkeit von Ausländern in Deutschland

Voraussetzungen für die Unternehmensgründung durch ausländische Staatsangehörige

 

Allgemeines

Das Grundgesetz gewährleistet einen weitgehend freien Zugang zur beruflichen Selbständigkeit. Allerdings gilt dieses Recht nur für deutsche Staatsangehörige, wobei Bürger aus Mitgliedsstaaten des Europäischen Wirtschaftsraums Deutschen gleichgestellt sind. Der Europäische Wirtschaftsraum umfasst die Staaten der Europäischen Union sowie Norwegen, Island und Liechtenstein.

Unter welchen Bedingungen Ausländer aus Staaten außerhalb des Europäischen Wirtschaftsraums in Deutschland eine selbständige Existenz begründen können, wird im Folgenden erläutert.

 

Aufenthaltsgenehmigung

Erste Voraussetzung für die Gründung eines eigenen Unternehmens ist zunächst, dass sich der Ausländer auf Dauer – also nicht bloß als Tourist oder Geschäftsreisender – in Deutschland aufhalten darf. Dafür benötigt er eine Aufenthaltsgenehmigung. Ausländer, die sich noch nicht in der Bundesrepublik aufhalten, müssen vor der Einreise bei der deutschen Auslandsvertretung (Botschaft oder Konsulat) eine Aufenthaltsgenehmigung einholen, die die Aufnahme der selbständigen Tätigkeit gestattet. Staatsangehörige aus der Schweiz, den Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika, Australien, Israel, Japan, Kanada und Neuseeland können die Aufenthaltsgenehmigung auch nach der Einreise beantragen.

 

In einigen Fällen wird die Aufenthaltsgenehmigung nur zu einem bestimmten, vorübergehenden Zweck (z. B. Ausbildung, Studium) erteilt oder mit einer Auflage versehen, die eine Unternehmensgründung verbietet; in diesen Fällen kann sich der Ausländer grundsätzlich nicht selbständig machen.

 

Ist der Ausländer im Besitz einer Aufenthaltsgenehmigung, die keine Auflage enthält oder nicht nur zu einem bestimmten Zweck erteilt wurde, kann er – unter den allgemeinen gewerberechtlichen Voraussetzungen, die auch für deutsche Staatsbürger gelten – ein eigenes Unternehmen gründen. Das ist in der Regel bei Aufenthaltsberechtigungen und bei unbefristeten Aufenthaltserlaubnissen der Fall.

 

Isn't there a user here who is running his own business? Johnny English? Maybe you could ask him?

 

Good Luck and cheers!

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