Lower Saxony coat of arms

© iStock / AndreasWeber

Lower Saxony is one of the first Länder to launch its own state-wide coronavirus financial assistance programmes. As soon as the supplementary budget worth €1.4 billion and the increase in the credit line from €2 to 3 billion are approved by the state parliament tomorrow, liquidity loans and grants can be applied for online from NBank, Lower Saxony’s promotional bank, without an intermediary principal bank being necessary.

The Federal Economic Affairs Ministry and the Economic Affairs Ministry of Lower Saxony are working in close cooperation with all the other Länder governments to swiftly implement the immediate assistance measures for small enterprises that were announced yesterday by the Federal Government. NBank, Lower Saxony’s promotional bank, will also be the state-wide point of contact for matters related to the Federal Government’s immediate assistance schemes.

Economic Affairs Minister Dr Bernd Althusmann has moved into top gear. Over the past few days, his Ministry has speedily drawn up the funding guidelines: “We want to provide help where it is needed. By complementing the immediate assistance programmes of the Federal Government, we hope to prevent any company from going under purely as a result of the coronavirus crisis. What we need is quick and uncomplicated support in emergency situations threatening the survival of businesses. The fine-tuning can be done later. We are also taking vigorous action in cooperation with all the Länder governments to implement the Federal Government’s immediate assistance schemes.”

Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Peter Altmaier said: “I welcome Lower Saxony’s initiative to provide such rapid and comprehensive support to its companies amid this crisis. The Federal and Länder governments are working closely together. The sixteen Länder and the Federal Government are developing a coordinated approach so that small businesses will obtain immediate assistance – via state or federal programmes – without delays and bureaucratic hurdles. We must act together to tackle this crisis. Together, we must do all we can to save companies and jobs, the economic substance of our country. We will need all these businesses and their employees once we are able to restore commercial life. When the time comes, we want to be able to start out vigorously again.”

Further details on Lower Saxony’s immediate assistance programme:

The grant programme ‘Securing liquidity in small enterprises’ is directed at commercial companies and members of the liberal professions in businesses with up to 49 employees. The funding programme is intended to help companies, freelancers and self-employed individuals (including artists and creative professionals) whose economic survival is being threatened by the coronavirus crisis. The level of funding is scaled according to company size: up to five employees: €3,000; up to ten employees: €5,000; up to 30 employees: €10,000; up to 49 employees: €20,000. A preliminary amount of €100 million has been earmarked for the programme.

This assistance is also available to start-ups younger than five years, even if they had never been in the black before the coronavirus outbreak. They are basically eligible if their business model is viable and their future corporate development looks promising. An amount of €5 million has been reserved for the specific purpose of supporting start-ups.

In addition, the Federal Government is planning a grant programme for self-employed individuals and microenterprises with up to ten employees: companies with up to five employees can receive a single payment of up to €9,000 for a period of three months, while businesses with up to ten employees are entitled to a single payment of up to €15,000.

The loan programme ‘Liquidity assistance’ is directed at small and medium-sized enterprises and allows to grant loans worth up to €50,000 each on a short-term basis. It is not necessary to put up any collateral. The aim is to support SMEs which appear to have a viable business model and display future prospects, but are faced with increased liquidity needs as their turnover temporarily declines in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.

Mr Althusmann called on all companies affected by the impact of the coronavirus crisis to keep considering the feasibility of short-time work: “This is a short-term option to lower labour costs and to make sure the whole team will be immediately available once the crisis has been overcome.”

Liquidity assistance is also available via guarantees provided by Niedersächsische Bürgschaftsbank (NBB)

NBB guarantees loans issued by a principal bank – the bank handling the company’s business on a day-to-day basis – for almost all sectors on a scale of up to €2.5 million, of which €240,000 can be taken over within a matter of days via an express procedure. For these guarantees, the principal banks are the first point of contact.

Click here to access the website of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and find out more about the Federal Government’s immediate assistance schemes for small enterprises, self-employed individuals and freelancers.