European Foundation
for the Improvement of
Living and Working Conditions

The tripartite EU agency providing knowledge to assist
in the development of better social, employment and
work-related policies

EU PolicyWatch

Database of national-level policy measures

Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for measure DE-2020-13/352 Updated – measures in Germany

KfW entrepreneur loan

KfW Unternehmerkredit

Country Germany , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 23 March 2020 – 30 June 2022
Context COVID-19
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Supporting businesses to stay afloat
– Access to finance
Author Sandra Vogel (IW)
Measure added 07 April 2020 (updated 08 November 2023)

Background information

The goal of this measure is to provide financial support to companies for investments and working capital. Improved conditions for receiving loans are based on the European Unions "Temporary Framework for State aid measures to support the economy in the current COVID-19 outbreak". This measure is part of a broader rescue package for the German economy adopted by the Federal Government at the end of March 2020. The package also includes changes in tax law, all of them directed at easing tax burdens for companies and also includes easier access to loans, start-up support or financial help for solo- or micro entrepreneurs, eased up rules for short-time work and eased up rules regards insolvency proceedings.

Content of measure

The companies in need of financial assistance due to the negative impact of the COVID-19 outbreak can apply for loans worth up up to €1 billion. However, the loan sum is limited to one of the following criteria:

  1. maximum of 25% of the annual turnover in 2019;
  2. double the wage costs in 2019;
  3. 50% of the company’s total debt if the loan exceeds €25 million.

The loans must be paid back within a maximum of 10 years and the related interest rates were reduced (between 1% and 2.12% annually). To improve companies‘ chances to receive such a loan, the KfW bank (the German Credit Institute for Reconstruction) takes over the risks borne by the company’s house bank (80% of the risks for large companies and even 90% of the risks for SMEs). Companies that have been in the market for at least three, but not five years, or companies that can provide two financial statements can also apply for loans granting the same conditions. However, in this case, companies need to apply for the ERP Start Up Loan - Universal.


The following updates to this measure have been made after it came into effect.

01 February 2022

Companies can no longer apply for the KfW entrepreneur loan. Applications were accepted until 30 April 2022 and can still be granted by the end of June 2022. The measure was not extended beyond this date.

03 December 2021

All KfW programmes providing loans to companies negatively affected by the lockdowns imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic were prolonged until 30 April 2022. In addition, the maximum loan amount was increased from €1.8 billion to €2.3 billion for loans running more than six years.

01 November 2021

At the beginning of November 2020, the KfW special programmes' running time was prolonged until 30 June 2021.

25 March 2021

All KfW programmes providing loans to companies negatively affected by the lockdowns imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic were prolonged until the end of 2021.

Use of measure

Initially, the KfW issued a press release with the overall usage of the COVID-19 related measures administered by the bank. According to the press release, the KfW received over 70,000 loan applications (worth €50 billion) since 23 March 2020, 98.5% of these application were not higher than €3 million. In another press release from 6 November 2020, the bank stated to have received 95,000 applications for all its additional COVID-19 related programmes. The bank has finalised 99% of the applications. Around 97% of the applicants were small and medium-sized companies. Granted sums amounted to a volume of nearly €46 billion.

As of 11 August 2020, the KfW received 81,359 loan applications, 99.8% of these applications were not higher than €3 million. Overall, 99.7% of all applications have been processed. The KfW has granted a total sum of €42.6 billion.

On 11 May 2022, the KfW announced that demand for grants from COVID-19 related aid programmes kept decreasing. During the first three quarters of 2022, the bank provided €1.6 billion.

At the beginning of February 2021, the KfW reported to have granted a total of €28.3 billion in 2020 for this programme (as part of its credit portfolio to help stabilise the economy during the COVID-19 pandemic).

At the end of March 2021, the KfW also stated that it had spent around €49 billion in all its programmes related to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

On 17 May 2021, the KfW stated that the bank granted €56 billion in funds related to COVID-19 special programmes such as this one.

On 11 August 2021, the KfW stated that the bank granted €58.6 billion in funds related to COVID-19 related special programmes between the beginning of the crisis and 31 July 2021. Compared to the previous-year period (€33.8 billion) the overall volume of aid programmes related to COVID-19 in the first half of 2021 has decreased to €6.5 billion. This decrease is attributed to the end of the lockdown and to the nationwide ease of restrictions in the second quarter of 2021. Mostly, SMEs used the funds.

On 3 November 2021, the KfW stated that the demand for grants from COVID-19 related aid programmes continued to decrease. In the first three quarters of 2021, the bank provided grants worth €8.4 billion in this context.

In August 2022, the KfW reported that demand for COVID-19 related support grants accelerated before the closure of the programmes at the end of April 2023. In the first half of 2022, the promotional bank issued grants worth €3.6 billion.

In its 2022 annual financial report, KfW disclosed that €22.4 billion had been utilized through allocation transactions from the WSF, with an extra €12 billion allocated for COVID-related aid.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Does not apply to workers SMEs
Larger corporations
Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
Company / Companies
National funds

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Consulted Consulted
Form Direct consultation outside a formal body Direct consultation outside a formal body

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • Unknown
  • Main level of involvement: Peak or cross-sectoral level


German social partners are usually consulted by the Federal Government on broader measures, though no formal tripartite social dialogue structure exists in Germany at the federal level.

Views and reactions

The Confederation of German Employers' Association (BDA) and the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB) jointly welcomed the crisis package adopted by the Federal Government in spring 2020. Social partners highlighted in the press release to be in support of the KfW administered measures targeting companies.


  • 13 March 2020: DGB and BDA: The social partners share responsibility in the corona crisis over differencesSocial partners neglect differences (DGB und BDA: Die Sozialpartner stellen gemeinsame Verantwortung in der Coronakrise über Differenzen) (
  • 07 April 2020: KfW coronavirus aid: loans for companie (
  • 30 June 2020: 100 days of KfW Corona aid: tens of thousands of companies benefit from federal support in the fight against the consequences of the pandemic (100 Tage KfW-Corona-Hilfe: Zehntausende Unternehmen profitieren von Unterstützung des Bundes im Kampf gegen Folgen der Pandemie) (
  • 11 August 2020: First half 2O20: KfW grants double (
  • 06 November 2020: KfW special programmes prologned (
  • 19 November 2020: State aid Germany (
  • 02 February 2021: KfW press release from 2 February 2021 (
  • 25 March 2021: KfW press release 25 March 2021 (
  • 11 May 2021: Latest update on COVID-19 related loans (
  • 17 May 2021: First quarter 2021 (
  • 15 September 2021: Amended rules for short-time work (
  • 03 November 2021: KfW grants first three quarters 2021 (
  • 03 December 2021: KfW programmes prologned till April 2022 (
  • 01 February 2022: Information on KfW entrepreneur loan (
  • 10 August 2022: KfW press release August 2022 (
  • 31 December 2022: KfW financial report 2022 (


Eurofound (2020), KfW entrepreneur loan, measure DE-2020-13/352 (measures in Germany), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,


Eurofound publications based on EU PolicyWatch

30 January 2023


Measures to lessen the impact of the inflation and energy crisis on citizens

Governments across the EU continue to implement policies to support citizens and businesses in the face of rising food and energy prices caused by the COVID-19 crisis and intensified by the war in Ukraine. This article summarises the policy responses as reported in Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch database from January to September 2022.


12 September 2022


First responses to cushion the impact of inflation on citizens

Although the worldwide pandemic situation had already disrupted supply chains and triggered increases in energy and food prices in 2021, the situation deteriorated in 2022 with the Russian invasion of Ukraine.


12 September 2022


Policies to support EU companies affected by the war in Ukraine

This article summarises the first policy responses that governments across the EU have started to implement to support companies affected by the rising prices, and those with commercial ties to Ukraine, Russia or Belarus.


5 July 2022


Policies to support refugees from Ukraine

This article summarises the first policy responses of EU Member States, including those of the social partners and other civil society actors, enabling refugees to exercise their rights under the Temporary Protection Directive.


Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.