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The Frankfurter Gründerfonds is an impressive success story for the city. Since 2010, the fund has been successfully providing founders with financial support to help them implement their business ideas. In co-operation with Bürgschaftsbank Hessen, a guarantee is provided for 80% of the required loan amount. Backed by this financial security, founders can enter into loan negotiations with greater confidence.

As well as providing financial backing, what makes the Frankfurter Gründerfonds unique is the provision of free support for the duration of the entire process. In cooperation with our partner, FS Impact Finance, business owners are given feedback on their business plan. They are also coached on how to prepare for their loan discussions with the bank and receive regular support for the entire term of the loan. This mentoring can promote start-ups’ sustainability and the companies know they always have a contact they can turn to.

With various network partners offering upstream, midstream and downstream support services, Frankfurter Gründerfonds covers a comprehensive value chain in order to provide founders and start-ups in Frankfurt with the best possible support during their initial development.




Various business sectors
48 %
Percentage of female founders
New jobs
75 %
Founders who are still active
1,17 %
Default rate per year

As at: 11/2023

The guide at your side

What requirements do you need to fulfil? How does the process work?

  • You are a founder or young start-up entrepreneur (as a rule, you have not been in business for more than five years)
  • You will submit a written proposal (business and financial plan)
  • You are looking for a loan of between EUR 2,500 and 50,000 (80% of your working capital can be financed)
  • Your company is domiciled in Frankfurt am Main
  • Would you like to find out more about your chances of obtaining a bank loan?

We will provide you with a constructive appraisal of your business and financial plan.

  • Would you like to significantly cut down on the time you spend on arranging a bank loan?

Our close links to partner banks will make this easier for you.

  • Would you like to discuss in detail the right way to approach your meeting with the bank?

We can offer you a secure and confidential setting for your discussion.

  • Would you like to work with a strong player in the market?

We can help you with your viable business model by recommending you to Bürgschaftsbank Hessen for a guarantee.

  • Would you like feedback from a sparring partner over the term of the loan?

You will receive this every quarter – it is included in the package.


We can help by putting you in touch with competent advisors and partners in the start-up community.

  1. Preferably, a preliminary phone call about the application process
  2. Compile documents as per the checklist in the download section
  3. Submit documents by e-mail, post or in person
  4. We will review your business model in three to five working days
  5. Invitation to attend a face-to-face meeting if our initial assessment is positive
  6. We recommend you for a guarantee from Bürgschaftsbank Hessen (BBH)
  7. Once BBH has made a positive decision, you will be issued with a guarantee commitment
  8. You can then apply for a loan from one of our partner banks.
  9. Once the loan is approved, we will review your business every quarter

The entire application process starting with the submission of all necessary documents is expected to take four to five weeks.

United in one network

We are by your side

Frankfurter Gründerfonds is a project run by Frankfurt Economic Development in cooperation with FS Impact Finance network partners and partner banks. Research support is provided by the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management.


Network partners

  • Fachhochschule Frankfurt am Main – University of Applied Sciences
  • Frankfurt Forward
  • Goethe Unibator
  • Chamber of Skilled Crafts Frankfurt-Rhein-Main
  • Chamber of Industry and Commerce Frankfurt am Main
  • Jumpp – ihr Sprungbrett in die Selbstständigkeit, Frauenbetriebe e.V. (non-profit association)
  • KompassFrankfurt
  • RKW Hessen
  • STATION Frankfurt
  • WIBank Hessen
  • … and many more


Lending banks

  • Frankfurter Volksbank eG
  • Frankfurter Sparkasse
  • Nassauische Sparkasse
  • Taunussparkasse


Bank issuing guarantee certificates

Bürgschaftsbank Hessen



Paths to success

The Tiny Cup bar is located on the ground floor of the Michelin-starred Seven Swans restaurant. The name says it all - but not because there is not much in the glass, but because the bar measures a mere 17 square metres. “It’s probably the smallest bar in Frankfurt”, jokes founder and managing director Sven Riebel.

It can accommodate no more than 16 guests. The bar is taken up by a specially designed table where patrons and bartenders interact. The proximity between customers and staff is a key component of his business model: for Sven Riebel, the focus is always on the customer. The Tiny Cup offers refined gourmet cocktails in a relaxed atmosphere. Its target group are laid-back cocktail enthusiasts interested in new interpretations, known as “twist on classics”. The Tiny Cup now also offers a cocktail catering service. Sven Riebel also works in the spirits industry, judges cocktail competitions and advises other companies on how to set up and run their businesses. The Tiny Cup is famous throughout Germany and was the recipient of the Mixology Bar Award in the “NEW BAR OF THE YEAR 2016” category – one of the most important accolades in the German-speaking bar scene.

Sven Riebel was able to get his bar up and running thanks to a loan of EUR 40,000 from the Frankfurter Gründerfonds. Contact was established via the Frankfurter Volksbank, one of the eight partner banks participating in the scheme. In consultation with the Gründerfonds office, Sven Riebel was recently able to extend the loan again to finance a remodelling project. For Sven Riebel, what makes the Frankfurter Gründerfonds unique is the in-depth follow-up coaching: “The figures are reviewed over the entire term of the loan, which is a fantastic service!”

The Tiny Cup
Mainkai 4
60311 Frankfurt

Wilhelm Roth GmbH in the Frankfurt district of Fechenheim has been in existence since 1751, thus making it the city’s oldest roofing company. It is thanks to the current managing director Jens Hackbarth – and the Frankfurter Gründerfonds – that the company still exists today. Jens Hackbarth is a passionate entrepreneur and craftsman. The trained master metalworker always wanted to run his own business. He took over the long-established company in 2013. To begin with, he found it very difficult to find a bank willing to finance the takeover.

“Only the Frankfurter Gründerfonds believed in me”, said Jens Hackbarth. Once the Gründerfonds office had reviewed his business plan and the Bürgschaftsbank Hessen had issued its guarantee commitment, Jens Hackbarth entered into discussions with a partner bank with renewed vigour. With a loan commitment for EUR 50,000, he was eventually able to take over Wilhelm Roth GmbH, reorganise its operating processes and develop new areas of business. The company has now been completely upgraded and the loan has already been repaid in full. Today, its order books are full and turnover is impressive. Jens Hackbarth employs 16 people and hires subcontractors to complete various projects. He is a good example of how perseverance and commitment pay off in the end. This is something he always stresses to the younger generation, who often has to be encouraged to take up an apprenticeship. Together with other stakeholders, he is keen to promote skilled trades. The dedicated businessman already has a few ideas up his sleeve.

Wilhelm Roth GmbH
Röntgenstraße 8
60388 Frankfurt


Elke Löscher had always dreamed of running her own café. However, she initially opted for a more secure career in municipal administration. Elke Löscher was familiar with the small kiosk located in her neighbourhood in centre of Frankfurt. Jokingly, she told the previous owner to let her know if he ever decided to give up the kiosk. When that day arrived, Elke had to take a moment, but inwardly she knew that she couldn't refuse the offer.

She left her permanent job and, with a unique eye for detail, transformed the kiosk into an extraordinary outdoor café. Once the initial dark winter months were over, its quaint decor featuring fresh meadow flowers, vintage glass decanters and cosy velvet armchairs attracted a growing number of curious guests to Feinfrankfurt. As well as delicious baked goods produced in its own bakery and exquisite drinks in a cosy atmosphere in the heart of the city, founder and managing director Elke Löscher quickly expanded her range to include jazz in the evenings and living room concerts. Her former colleagues in the municipal administration are enthusiastic visitors and support her in any way they can. Elke Löscher says that without the loan of EUR 25,000 from the Frankfurter Gründerfonds, she would not have been able to set up her business five years ago. Nowadays, she knows that her dream of becoming self-employed has come true.

Petersstraße 4-6
60313 Frankfurt

By setting up Hessen Shop, its founders and managing directors Sybille Nolte and Norbert Rojan have filled a gap in the market: Products from Hesse for Hesse and in particular for Frankfurt residents who identify with the region and are happy to share this sentiment with the wider world in the form of small gifts and souvenirs. The diverse range of regional products includes everything from liqueurs to children's books and “Wasserhäuschen” card games to the Monopoly board game set in Frankfurt to delight the residents of Hesse. Tourists also frequent the Hessen Shop, especially if they are already familiar with the region and have heard of Mispelchen, Handkäs or Grüne Sosse.

Although Sybille Nolte and Norbert Rojan had been thinking about starting the business for some time, they made a snap decision to just go for it one day when the beautiful shop on Leipziger Strasse became vacant. Their intuition and courage have paid off: The Hessen Shop has been around for almost ten years now, the business has expanded to include four branches in the Frankfurt city area and has taken on a staff of 14. The company also set up its own online shop, expanded sales to other resellers and developed a large range of its own products. The couple invested the loan of EUR 50,000 from the Frankfurter Gründerfonds in advertising and fittings for the first Hessen Shop.

Hessen Shop
Leipziger Straße 49
60487 Frankfurt

Liebesdienste Home is one of the top destinations in international travel guides for Frankfurt and founder and managing director Goran Djukic regularly welcomes customers from all over the world. His concept store specialises in interior design and a range of services that make life that bit more enjoyable and pleasant in Frankfurt. The shop on the ever-popular Oeder Weg is the perfect place to indulge in carefully handpicked and unique home accessories. After leaving a permanent position with management responsibility, Goran Djukic first had to learn that as an entrepreneur he would not be welcomed with open arms straight away. Thanks to a guarantee from the Frankfurter Gründerfonds, he was finally able to take out a loan of EUR 50,000 and make his vision a reality.

Today, Goran Djukic no longer feels the need to prove anything to anyone. He is an entrepreneur through and through. Since setting up the Liebesdienste Home brand in 2011, he has continuously developed the business. A mere three years on, he opened the flower shop Liebesdienste flowers and a hairdressing salon Liebesdienste hair. He ultimately merged the concept store and flower shop at its current location, thereby increasing its retail space. Goran Djukic simultaneously developed a franchise concept, which led to the opening of the first Liebesdienste Wine and more, a wine shop and wine bar, two years ago. And that's not all: Goran Djukic is always keen to share his experience of setting up and running a company and is therefore on hand to advise other founders in Frankfurt.

Liebesdienste Home
Oeder Weg 59
60318 Frankfurt



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