This section contains answers to some of the questions most frequently asked about starting a business in your country of origin.

Are you living in Germany, but originally from a developing country or emerging economy? Are you thinking about starting a business in your country of origin with a view to furthering development there?

We can help! This section contains answers to the questions most frequently asked about our services.

Who are CIM’s start-up services aimed at?

CIM supports people who have been living and working in Germany for some time, but are originally from a developing country or emerging economy and wish to start a business in their country of origin. Applicants should already have a specific business idea in mind and intend to set up their own business in their country of origin within the next 18 months. CIM currently supports start-ups in Cameroon, Colombia, Ghana, India, Morocco, Nigeria, Serbia and Tunisia.

What services can CIM offer start-ups?

CIM offers a variety of services to support entrepreneurs throughout the various phases of starting a business – from preparation to implementation. We offer general coaching in business planning and implementation, which is provided by an external partner, and provide a budget to cover the cost of certain work and measures during the start-up phase, including market research, prototype development and exploratory trips. We also help to identify additional financing options and establish a network of contacts with other start-ups and successful entrepreneurs.

I would like to start a business and need financial support. How can CIM help me?

We cannot provide start-up capital. You must finance the project yourself. We can, however, provide funding for various key measures and services in the run-up to starting a business, including the preparation of market and competition analyses, provision of legal and/or technical advice, travel to your country of origin to explore business opportunities and establish contacts and much more. Financial support is capped at EUR 5,000. Start-ups also receive general coaching in business planning and implementation, which is provided by an external service provider.

With a strong business idea, you also have a good chance of acquiring additional financing from other providers. After all, many developing countries and emerging economies are extremely interested in foreign investments and know-how and therefore actively support the business activities of migrants. We can help you to find suitable financing options. A preliminary overview of potential providers can be found in the lists of links for our respective partner countries.

Links for start-ups in Ghana Links for start-ups in Cameroon Links for start-ups in Colombia Links for start-ups in Morocco Links for start-ups in Tunisia

Besides funding, I am mainly interested in obtaining advice and support that will enable me to implement my business idea. How can CIM support me in this respect?

As well as providing funding for specific measures and services, we provide a wide range of individually tailored advisory services. We support you throughout the various phases of starting a business – from preparation to implementation. You can rely on our extensive experience and expertise. And because our employees and partners are based in Germany and in our partner countries, we are never far from your side when you need us.

Through active networking with other companies and key partners, we also help you to build a broad support network that you can draw on at any time. 

CIM only supports start-ups in selected partner countries. Which countries are these? And what should I do if my country is not on the list?

CIM currently supports start-ups in the following partner countries:

  • Cameroon
  • Colombia
  • Ghana
  • India
  • Morocco
  • Nigeria
  • Serbia
  • Tunisia

Start-ups in Morocco, Tunisia and Cameroon are currently supported as part of the MEETAfrica programme, which is co-financed by the EU.

Unfortunately, we are not able to support any other countries at this time, although we do plan to expand this service to a number of other countries.

In what sectors and areas does CIM provide support for business start-ups?

Start-ups from all sectors and business segments can generally apply for funding as part of our annual competition – whether they wish to implement a business idea in the education sector, agriculture or IT. The decisive factor is the development relevance of the idea: We only support start-ups whose business contributes to development in our partner countries – for example, by encouraging the transfer of know-how, promoting sustainability, creating new jobs or generating economic growth.

For how long is support provided?

Start-ups can receive support from CIM for 18 months.

I have started a business in my country of origin with support from CIM. Will I still receive support from CIM after the start-up phase or will I be left to my own devices?

We are currently unable to provide support for businesses after the start-up phase, but are working on expanding our services to the development and growth phase.

Where can I apply for start-up support?

You can submit your application directly to us as part of our annual competition, which usually begins in February of each year. The exact date is announced in due course on this website.

How does the application process work?

The first step is to submit your application with a written concept detailing your business idea. If we are impressed by your proposal and your business idea meets our funding criteria, we will invite you to an interview to get to know you better. You will be asked to pitch your idea to CIM in greater detail. If everything is in order and you impress us, you will receive support.


Further information


If you can’t find the answer you are looking for in the FAQs, you can contact us directly.