Programme check: What the FDP, Left Party and AfD are planning for start-ups

Election programs are relevant for start-ups. But what does it say? Part 2 of our election program check with FDP, Die Linke and AfD.

For the first time in many years, it is largely unclear which parties in which constellation will govern Germany after September 26. A lot of uncertainty, which should not leave the start-up world cold.

In fact, almost all parties have thought about how they can promote the startup ecosystem in Germany. From less bureaucracy to more venture capital to promoting female founders: everyone is making big promises.

Startbase summarizes what the parties plan to do in case of government participation. In the first part, we looked at the programmes of the CDU/CSU, the SPD and the Greens. In the second part of our election programme check, we look at the FDP, the party die Linke and the AfD.


68 pages is the election program of the Liberals strong. It contains a number of demands that could benefit start-ups. For example, the FDP demands, among other things, that 25 percent of the gross domestic product be invested in Germany in 2025 - and that, if possible, privately and not primarily by the state. "The state must use its investments as well as other tax and economic policy instruments in such a way that private companies also like to invest in Germany," it says under the heading of "investment in the future".

Another important point for start-ups from the FDP election platform is employee participation. According to the Liberals, the framework conditions for this are poor, and thus represent the same position as the Federal Association of German Start-ups. The taxation should only start at the time of sale and correspond to that of company shareholdings, the FDP's program says. "In addition, we want to create a separate share class for employee share ownership in order to simplify the expensive and administratively complex process of transferring GmbH shares," the party writes.

The FDP also wants to significantly expand the Future Fund (fund of funds) for start-up financing. "Instead of just providing more state funding, we want to make investing in venture capital more attractive for private capital," the program says. The fund of funds builds a bridge to overcome current obstacles, such as equity requirements that are too high or investment amounts that are too small, it says.

The party pays special attention to female founders. They should have better access to venture capital, the Liberals said. "To this end, we call for the establishment of a venture capital fund in the form of a public-private partnership," they write in their election platform. And further: "By creating a network for female investors as well as female "business angels", women should also be specifically supported in their start-up projects."

The Left Party

The election manifesto of the Left Party is 100 pages longer than that of the FDP - but demands that are explicitly intended to strengthen the start-up location can hardly be found in it. The keyword "start-up", for example, does not even appear in the election program. Nevertheless, the party has formulated points that could have a direct impact on young companies.

This includes, for example, the topic of works councils. Again and again, problems arise in this regard at start-ups. "Our working world today is characterised by digitalisation, globalisation, deregulation and the need for ecological restructuring. We want to facilitate works council elections and secure the ability of works councils to work," the party writes in this regard. Specifically, it therefore calls for focal prosecutor's offices for the topic of labour law, tougher sanctions against employers and law firms that would have specialised in preventing trade union organising.

If a start-up tries to prevent the first-time election of a works council, the party wants labor courts to be able to directly appoint an employee representative. "We want to adjust the concept of establishment and expand the concept of employee. Additional employee representation structures should be able to be determined by collective agreement or works agreement," the party writes, continuing, "We want to extend mandatory co-determination to issues of work organisation, staffing levels, precarious employment and qualification."

The Left Party also makes a case for the role of trade unions. "The trade unions must be given a comprehensive right of association to sue for compliance with collective agreements and legal provisions, as well as the right to collective complaints in accordance with the protocol of the European Social Charter," it demands in its election programme.

The party explicitly wants to promote "companies that are wholly or partly collectively owned by the workforce" and to do so by "giving preference in the awarding of public contracts". The Left Party also calls for the establishment of a socio-ecological chamber of commerce "which would support regional flagship projects and start-ups in the field of solidarity-based economy by providing advice and financial support".


Even longer than the programme of the Left Party is the election programme of the AfD. The right-wing populists have written 210 pages. The word "start-up" does not even appear. The AfD still wants to leave the Euro, the "climate rescue" leads in their opinion to a weakening of the German economy.

In order to strengthen the companies of the Federal Republic, she relies on the German inventive spirit. She wants to prevent inventors from emigrating and has therefore drafted a "blue deal development plan" for investments in technology leadership.

Among other things, the plan calls for schooling, higher education and research to focus more on STEM subjects. Start-ups operating in these fields could thus find skilled workers more easily in the future. The AfD wants to "improve the framework conditions for domestic investment", and the right-wing populists also want to bring the infrastructure up to a "contemporary standard". They also want to reduce bureaucracy and make labour law more flexible.

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