Liquidity assistance for SMEs and sole proprietorships

The German federal government has passed an extensive package of measures to help small and medium-sized enterprises across all sectors of the economy, along with sole proprietorships and freelancers, cope with the corona crisis. The state government of North Rhine-Westphalia welcomes this rapid action and plans to supplement the assistance provided at the federal level.

9,000 euros
15,000 euros 25,000 euros
for eligible sole proprietorships
and eligible applicants
with up to 5 employees
for eligible applicants
with up to 10 employees
für for eligible applicants
with up to 50 employees


Applications can be submitted by commercial and non-profit enterprises, sole proprietorships, and freelance professionals, including artists, with up to 50 employees (FTE equivalent) operating as their main line of business and thus permanently on the market as companies/freelancers/independent professionals if they are headquartered in North Rhine-Westphalia and offered their goods or services on the market prior to 1 December 2019.

This immediate aid is available to applicants that were not in difficulties as of 31 December 2019, but experienced or began to experience difficulties after that due to the outbreak of COVID-19.

  • more than half of the orders from the period before 1 March have been cancelled due to the corona crisis (i.e. the volume of the order backlog has more than halved)


  • sales have more than halved compared to the same month of the previous year (for an application submitted in March, the sales in March 2020 are taken as a basis compared to March 2019. If the application is submitted in April 2020, the comparison month is April 2019). If the same month of the previous year cannot be used (e.g. for start-ups), the previous month applies.


  • the opportunities to generate sales were massively restricted by a requirement set by the authorities in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic


  • the available funds are not sufficient to pay the short-term liabilities of the company (e.g. rents, loans for business premises, leasing rates) (= financial shortfall).

The application process is completely digital. Applicants can fill out and submit their applications online. Automatic confirmation of receipt is sent out after that. All applications are processed according to the date of receipt. For the application process, please click here.


  • Funds are earmarked for corona aid
  • Setoffs are not permitted
  • Any funds not needed must be repaid
  • All records must be kept for ten years
  • The tax authorities will review these procedures afterwards
  • Repayments will incur 5% interest
  • Aid is taxable
  • Documentation of how the funds were used must be included with your next tax return

For a detailed description, please see this sample assessment decision (equity supplement) by the district government of Düsseldorf.

North Rhine-Westphalia provides assistance according to the rules for small amounts of state aid established by the German federal government. A “de minimis” declaration is not required.

For further answers, please visit: