Programme check: What the CDU/CSU, Greens and SPD are planning for start-ups

Election programs are relevant for start-ups. But what does it say? Part 1 of our election program check with CDU/CSU, Greens and SPD.

For the first time in many years, it is largely unclear which parties in which constellation will govern Germany after September 26. So there's a lot of uncertainty, which shouldn't leave the start-up world cold either.

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 summarises what the parties plan to do in the event of government participation.

In the first part of our election programme check, we look at the parties with chancellor ambitions: Union, Greens and SPD. In the second part we have looked at the programmes of the FDP, Left Party and AfD.


The CDU/CSU in its election program plans an "unleashing package" for the economy. At the core of this package are tax breaks for companies and a reduction in bureaucracy. This includes, among other things, the bureaucracy-free year that the CDU and CSU promise founders: Young companies are to receive exemptions from selected tax and documentation rules. The second year after founding is also to be accompanied by only minimal bureaucracy. In principle, it should be possible to found a company within 24 hours.

The immigration of skilled workers is also to be made easier. As a pilot project, the CDU/CSU is counting on so-called "skilled labour immigration attachés", who are to make efforts at German embassies worldwide to find experts willing to immigrate, for example from the IT sector. At the European level, the parties want to set up a new tech visa programme to attract skilled workers to the EU.

The Union wants to make it easier to elect works councils, a hot topic in the start-up world last year. Above all, online elections are to be made possible, so that the concept of works councils survives even in a digital working world.

An entire chapter of the election programme is dedicated to the promotion of certain future technologies. These include quantum computers, artificial intelligence and blockchain. Among other things, the Union plans to promote knowledge-intensive start-ups via the Freedom of Information Act. Founders in the field of future technology are to receive organisational and financial support. Exactly what this will look like in practice is still unclear in the election manifesto.

In the area of venture capital, the CDU/CSU plans to expand the Future Fund, which has so far mobilized 30 billion euros. The party's digitalization expert, Thomas Jarzombek, recently spoke of 100 billion euros. In addition, more VCs should settle in Germany due to tax advantages and insurance companies and pension funds should find it easier to invest money in the area.


The Greens have presented the longest election program with 272 pages. And they too see too many bureaucratic requirements as an obstacle to more start-ups. In the first two years, these should therefore be eliminated as far as possible. In a black-green coalition, therefore, common ground would probably be found quickly.

An important point in the party's start-up support is the start-up capital, which the Greens want to provide in the amount of 25,000 euros. Founders should receive this if their business purpose is oriented towards the UN sustainability goals and the start-up has a solid business plan.

Overall, the Greens want to place more emphasis on socio-ecological criteria in the promotion of start-ups. Especially newly founded cooperatives and companies oriented towards the common good should be promoted. The party also wants to tackle the issue of equal opportunities. The election manifesto includes a proposal for a state venture capital fund for women only.

The Greens also want to adapt state award procedures so that start-ups have better chances. So far, these often fall through the cracks. They also want to promote spin-offs from research institutions, where there is still a lot of untapped potential, they write. The partly state-owned institutions from which people found a start-up should remain involved as silent partners. This is particularly interesting in the medical field. In return, the start-ups would have to commit to certain standards of transparency, pricing and access.

On the subject of venture capital, the Greens want to set up a state venture capital fund that would bundle offers that have been scattered up to now. The programme also includes a co-investing platform to create a secondary market for start-up investments. The focus of the state fund is to be on sustainability or greentech. It is also intended to boost private investment by venture capitalists. In addition to green tech, the party also wants to put the money into AI, quantum computing and biotech.


Meanwhile, the SPD is keeping it short, with just 66 pages in the Social Democrats' program . Accordingly, the ideas for the special promotion of start-ups are not very elaborate. What one finds, however, is quite concrete. For example, the SPD plans to develop the development bank KfW into a "modern investment and innovation agency". In future, KfW is to raise funds on the capital market and channel them into the important sectors of the future. The Social Democrats count quantum technology, AI and hydrogen among these.

In addition, the party wants to initiate one-stop agencies for founders, project funding and state venture capital. The agencies are to serve as central contact points for all topics related to founding. In insolvency law, they want to create a "culture of second chances", as the programme flowerily puts it. The promotion of female founders is also promised. In principle, the SPD wants to promote the socio-ecological restructuring of the economy and, in doing so, also support companies that contribute to this goal with state measures.

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