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Funding programs of the BMWi

BMWi - Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy

The German system of promotion of foreign trade and investment is characterised by a division of responsibilities between the state and the private sector. Various institutions, such as German chambers of commerce abroad, foreign missions, and Germany Trade and Invest (GTAI), work closely together to deliver the best possible backing for German firms.

ZIM (Zentrales Innovationsprogramm Mittelstand) is a funding programme for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with business operations in Germany which want to develop new or significantly improve existing products, processes or technical services. Public and private non-profit research and technology organisations (RTO) acting as a cooperation partner of a SME are also eligible for ZIM-funding.

The programme is open to all branches and technological sectors. ZIM provides a reliable source of support for innovation efforts since 2008. The redefined ZIM guidelines have been published on 15 April 2015 and applications can be submitted continuously until 31 December 2019. All German applicants have to file their own ZIM application in German language.

The aim of ZIM is to sustainably increase the innovative capacity and competitiveness of SMEs including craft businesses and independent professions. Thus the programme contributes to economic growth and the generation of new jobs. All German SMEs up to 499 employees are eligible for funding.