No, Ich-AG hasn't existed since August 1, 2006. Between 2003 and 2006, an unemployed man founded a company which was supported by the employment office with some grants. Since 2006, the start-up subsidy has been in place in place of the Ich-AG.
Meanwhile, in the self-employment support measures, a distinction is made between ALG I beneficiaries and ALG II beneficiaries. However, since 2011 ALG-I beneficiaries no longer have a legal entitlement to the so-called start-up grant, ALG-II beneficiaries can request a registration fee, but this too is a discretionary benefit to which there is no documented legitimacy.
The start-up allowance is therefore granted at the discretion of the employment agency to all unemployed people who aspire to full-time self-employment. In short, the founders must be actually unemployed, still have a residual entitlement to 150 days of unemployment benefits and be able to submit a verified and sufficiently promising business concept (business plan). Once the authorization has been granted, the founders will continue to receive unemployment benefit for 6 months, after which – always at the discretion of the employment agency – a monthly allowance of 300 euros for a further 9 months. Depending on the success of the entrepreneurial activity, this additional subsidy may also be refused by the employment agency.
Things are a little less rosy for ALG II beneficiaries: the tuition fee paid amounts to a maximum of 50% (or 75% in the case of a lump sum assessment) of the standard benefit, in some cases only 20% of the standard benefit. The amount of the grant depends on the needs of the ALG II beneficiary, the size of the beneficiary community and the discretion of the respective employment agency. In any case, the goal is to re-enter the labor market – which obviously also includes self-employment.
For founders, however, further concessions are still possible, especially start-ups can count on a wide range of financing options, even outside the employment agencies. Which subsidies are possible and even reasonable must be assessed on a case-by-case basis. Coaching and seminars are often worthwhile, especially for those with little experience.
In individual cases, the AVGS, the activation and placement voucher, can also be used to promote self-employment or for measures that promote or make successful self-employment possible.