What precisely does a Gründerpaten do? Simply click on a question and the answer will appear.

The goal of the pilot project is to bring together refugees who want to start a business in Berlin with entrepreneur from the region. The aim is to offer them help in setting up their businesses. The refugees are given one-to-one support and provided with a business network by entrepreneurs who volunteer to help them and offer their expertise, the so-called Gründerpaten.

As a Gründerpate, you will give voluntary support to refugees who want to set up their own businesses. By working with them, you will make a positive contribution towards integration by giving them the chance to participate in the economy. In concrete terms, this means that you:

  • offer them one-to-one support by sharing ideas and experience.
  • help them develop the personal qualities necessary for a business founder.
  • give them access to a network of business contacts.

However, the Gründerpaten don’t need to become micro-managers. All the tasks are summarised in writing in the ‘Mentor Kit’ which every Gründerpaten receives from the project office. The project office will also oversee the whole process and the staff are always available as a point of contact for both the refugees and the Gründerpaten.

The goal of the mentorship is to give the refugee one-to-one support in the setting-up process. The Gründerpaten pass on their knowledge of start-ups to the prospective founders. With their market and industry expertise, they can offer useful support and they can also help with bureaucratic processes (legal forms, financing, dealing with the authorities). As the start-up process advances, the mentoring will need to be more specific. The goal here is to make preparations for a joint business start-up. The Gründerpaten and the refugees develop a business model and ideally implement it together. In the ideal situation, their areas of expertise will complement one another. The Gründerpaten can also pass on their market and industry expertise and their knowledge of bureaucratic processes. They can provide help with their German language skills as well.

The time required for your role as Gründerpaten will be as follows:

  • 4 months – 8 meetings: every meetings is around 2/3 hours
  • we expect you to participate in our events
  • we expect you to send us feedbacks

Gründerpaten are entrepreneurs or employees in management positions; they can also be students (Business Studies or MBA) or simply people who are interested in start-ups. An ideal Gründerpate should be highly motivated to support refugees in their efforts to set up a business. They should be keen to support their protégés in their endeavours, encouraging them to gain the right skills and know-how and to set up their own business networks. In the selection of Gründerpaten, the project office will consider:

  • intercultural skills
  • interest in people from other cultures
  • knowledge relevant to start-ups
  • availability in terms of time (min. 10 hours per month)

The project office intends to make the Gründerpaten’s task as straightforward as possible. Gründerpaten will find that the project office staff are always easy to get a hold of so that any issues can be sorted out quickly and easily. You can find all the contact information in Chapter 8. The basic steps to becoming a Gründerpate are as follows:

  1. Registration:
    The Gründerpaten register their interest with the project office or fill in an online questionnaire which asks for details of matching criteria.
  2. Initial Interview:
    The Gründerpaten are invited to a one-to-one first interview at the project office. In this interview, their specialist knowledge will be examined to ascertain whether they are suitable. Their own expectations and intercultural skills will also be considered, as well as their personal goals and wishes. It is also helpful if the Gründerpaten can identify with the objectives of the programme.
  3. Get-to-know Meeting
    Together with other participants we invite you to discuss your idea, strengthen your work, and it is an opportunity for us to better allocate you.
  4. Matching:
    This step involves looking at which of the programme options the Gründerpaten can offer and whether there is enough time available on both sides. As soon as a good match is found, the project office will inform the Gründerpate immediately. In the matching process, the project office will also compare the stated and established areas of competence of the refugees and Gründerpaten.
  5. Methods’ Workshop day:
    The Gründerpaten are prepared for their future roles in a 2-hours-Seminar. After the Seminar, the Gründerpaten receive the ‘Mentor Kit’. This contains a written summary of all the content of the seminar and full details on implementation of the mentorship. The project office also provides the Gründerpaten with a copy of the paperwork which the refugees will be preparing.
  6. Start and implementation of the options:
    There will be a kick-off event for the Gründerpaten mentoring partnerships. This will be the first time that the respective groups of refugees and Gründerpaten will meet. Both parties are welcome to contact the project office with tips or suggestions at any time. In the course of the mentorship, there are also plans for feedback Loops.
  7. Closure:
    Once the mentorship has been successfully concluded, the Gründerpaten will receive an official certificate from the project office. There are also plans for some public events. As well the participants and the Gründerpaten, representatives of various public organisations will also be invited.

You can register via e-mail with the project office, quoting your preferred programme option and your availability (startupyourfuture@wjd.de). As of the end of August, you will find all the key information on the Gründerpaten programme on www.startupyourfuture.de.

The minimum requirements for the refugees have been set quite low in order to reach a good number of potential founders. The refugees should, however, be capable of operating confidently in the German business world – so they must have adequate language skills and good prospects for staying in the country. The project office will also make a detailed record of the refugees’ skills and needs. This also allows them to get to know the refugees and be able to reach out to them on a personal level.

The minimum requirements for the refugees are:

  • recognised refugee status, or asylum seekers with good prospects of staying in Germany, German B1/English B2
  • interest in starting a business – the project office does not necessarily require them to have previously been self-employed

The refugees’ skills and knowledge are recorded by the project office using standardised questionnaires and interviews. Various criteria are considered, such as:

  • Level of education
  • Language skills
  • Work experience
  • Industry expertise
  • Commercial experience
  • Founder personality traits
  • Recognition of qualifications

The project office carries out the matching process on a case-by-case basis. They aim to set up mentoring partnerships which are as well suited and needs-oriented as possible. The key criteria for the matching process are:

  • Industry specialism
  • Mentor and refugee’s availability

The interview process is in part automated and the form can be completed on the website in a low-threshold procedure (www.startupyourfuture.de) ;the next step involves the project office conducting a personal interview with the Gründerpaten. The refugees will also be asked to attend an interview. The project office will then select the most fitting pairs, matching up the refugees with the most suitable Gründerpaten.

Yes, of course! The project office is always happy to receive suggestions. They will then get in touch with the interested parties.

Hala Alkhiami
Tel.: 030 20308 1532
E-Mail: alkhiami.hala@dihk.de
Start-Up Your Future: Mentoring partnerships with Gründerpaten
Breite Straße 29
10178 Berlin

Was macht ein Gründer genau? Bitte klicke auf eine Frage, um eine Antwort zu erhalten.

No matter if you are from Syria, Ghana, Egypt, Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan or Eritrea – we welcome all refugees and asylum seekers who want to start their own business.

To participate, you need to:

  • live in Berlin,
  • be a recognised refugee or an asylum seeker with an Aufenthaltsgestattung (preliminary residence permit) and a good chance of recognition,
  • know German (at least to level B1) or English (at least to level B2),
  • and, most importantly, have the intent and courage to turn your interesting business idea into a real start-up.

Start-Up Your Future has a flexible structure. However, there are five fixed dates and we kindly ask you to take your time to attent.

  • the first meeting with Start-Up Your Future
  • the get-to-know meeting
  • the Kick-off event
  • the methods’ Workshop day ( approx. 5 hours)
  • the meetings with your Mentor

These are your tasks in the project:

  • to ensure that your cooperation with your mentor is positiv and constructive
  • aprreciate the voluntary engagement of your mentor and meet him with understanding
  • read all the information the Start-Up Your Future team provides you with
  • ask questions and get in touch if something needs to be clarified
  • stick to deadlines and meetings!
  • take your time for the mentoring and your business development
  • prepare for the meetings with your mentor
  • provide us with feedback. We need it 🙂

We call our mentors Gründerpaten. They are mostly entrepreneurs themselves. They work in different positions:

  • they founded their own business
  • they are students of economics
  • retired emplyoees who have business experience

All these people work voluntary to support you in your own founding!

After your registration on our website, the project office will contact you and invite you to an initial discussion in person. We want to meet you and learn more about your strengths, interests, goals and business idea. Together, we will complete a questionnaire that will tell us important facts about your skills and your life situation. This questionnaire will help us match you with your Gründerpate. In Addition to that, we will invite you to a get-to-know meeting with other participants. Once you have been matched successfully, you and your mentor will be assigned a group.  During the kick-off event, you will meet your Gründerpate and the other pairs. Moreover, you will take the training component together with your Group (methods’ workshop day). We will ask you and your Gründerpate for feedback on a regular basis. After ending the 4-months-mentorship and if you have met all requirements, you will receive your Start Up Your Future certificate!


The Gründerpaten will not be able to address all your needs, questions and wishes. Start Up Your Future offers specific training courses to cover any additional issues.
Mandatory training courses:

Method’s Day: The methods’ day is a compulsory event for the founders:

  • 4-5-hours workshop day
  • On this day you have the chance to gain new knowledge about your founding phase.
  • In addition, we offer trainings on the day, which we adapt to your needs.
  • At the end of the day you can discuss and deepen what you have learned in the training sessions with your Mentor.

The mentoring program runs over the course of four months. In this time, you should at least meet eight times with your mentor. As the project is flexible and the organisation of the meetings is the responsibility of your and your mentor, you should share your contact details as soon as possible with each other! Moreover, you need to participate in our meetings.

During the matching process, we compare your skills and wishes to those of the available Gründerpaten. Besides your availability, the best match will be determined on the basis of your industry, needs, and skills.

Of course! We welcome anyone.

Do you have any friends, neighbours or relatives who meet the requirements and wish to start a business? Tell them about us. Show them our website: https://www.startupyourfuture.de/en/ . Ask them to get in touch with us. We would love to hear from them!

At the project office, we make sure that you receive the most useful support for your individual situation and sufficient information for your upcoming start-up project.

Participants and Gründerpaten can contact one of our team members by phone or e-mail in order to resolve potential challenges quickly and easily.