Founders in portrait:

Founders in portrait:

With advice, support and provision for your own boss

The number of women starting a business is growing. However, setting up “you” in the male-dominated scene is often not easy. That is why the Gründerinnenzentrale in Berlin has set itself the task of promoting women-specific support and answering key questions from founders.

Women often have a different career path than men: in many cases, they have to manage a family alongside their self-employment and therefore start their own business relatively often part-time. Not only then does old-age provision play a decisive role. Because many women start rather small-style and usually have too little money to take care of their retirement. For her retirement, this can have devastating consequences. Antje Ripking, project manager of the Gründerinnenzentrale, reports in an interview on what founders are working on, what questions they have, what concerns they may have about founding and how to motivate women to start up.

Women-specific support: Personal advice is important

Of course, the life and work histories of company founders are very different. But there are some worries, fears and problems that women have to deal with most of all. “As before, it is unfortunately mostly the women who have to reconcile family and work. This has economic implications for their entire life. As a result, they often opt for part-time self-employment with less financial input, spend less on old-age provision, which in turn affects retirement, and so on, “explains Ripking. This structural disadvantage requires founders to provide specific advice that takes their individual living realities into account. This involves both the evaluation of business ideas as well as the right financing, insurance and pension provision.

The demand for advice in the founders’ office is very high: “Demand has been increasing steadily since our founding in 2006. We now have about 1,700 inquiries per year and more than 600 women participate in our (networking) events, “says Ripking.

Founders: Small loans are hard to come by

The Gründerzentrale is committed to allowing women to participate in social prosperity as much as men. To achieve this goal, it tries to compensate for unequal treatment in economic development. The Gründerinnenzentrale refers interested parties, for example, to the nationwide women’s finance organization Goldrausch eV The association also awards small grants in the form of micro-loans for business start-ups. How important that is, figures show: “Around 80 percent of women start with a capital requirement of up to 5,000 euros. However, even such sums are still hard to come by because they are not worthwhile for the banks, “explains Ripking.

Gründerinnenzentrale: “We work with many women professionals”

Women in some ways need different advice than men. This is not due to different abilities, but rather to often different life situations. The Gründerinnenzentrale serves as a first point of contact for start-up interested parties. There women can get in touch with like-minded people and exchange experiences and problems. Amongst other things, start-up experts help to think through and concretize start-up ideas. In addition, if necessary, the Gründerzentrale also provides further women-friendly and recommendable institutions and counseling facilities. “We work with start-up consultants, (web) designers, coaches, mediators, insurance and finance professionals and lawyers,” said Ripking.

Old-age poverty among women: Is precautionary duty a solution?

The start time during start-up usually costs a lot of money. “Since the costs of health and social insurance are enormously high, many founders often neglect retirement provision first,” says the expert from practice. Nevertheless, she has a zwiegespaltene opinion on a pension. Because “as the social security systems look for the self-employed at the moment, I consider a precautionary obligation for many founders difficult to implement. You can hardly bear the costs for the other insurance companies now. In my opinion, a general change in this system may be desirable, similar to the situation with the KünstlersKolzialkasse (KSK). “Those insured with the KSK only pay about half of their contributions out of their own pockets. The remaining part is financed, inter alia, by a federal subsidy. Self-employed women would pay according to this model in about as much social security and health insurance contributions as employees



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Pensions: “At least 10 percent of the income is advisable”

The pension is a constant and unpopular companion of self-employed. Nevertheless, the costs for the future pension should not stand in the way of any start-up idea. Of course, how well founders are cared for in retirement depends on many factors: time, investment and business success play a central role. There is therefore no patent remedy. But a good pension strategy should not be missing. For financing and insurance issues, the Gründerinnenzentrale recommends independent advice from finanzkontor .

The insurance specialist Birgit Wichert explains in a brief interview that occupational disability insurance in the first phase of its foundation is one of the most useful forms of provision for emergencies. “For old-age provision, there is usually no money left at the beginning.” She goes on to explain: “As soon as the business is up and running, founders, for example, can make good provision for old age with Rürup Pension and benefit from the tax advantages. In general, I would advise self-employed women to cover the same amount of money as the employee share of the statutory pension insurance, ie about ten percent of their income. Of course, as soon as a certain level of income is reached, it will not be necessary to invest 10 per cent more in old-age provision but can be invested elsewhere. “