KIZ SINNOVA company for social innovation gGmbH – Germany






Since 1997 KIZ provides support and advice to people from divers backgrounds setting up their own business and is currently active in over 20 cities in Germany. KIZ has become one of the leading experts in Germany for inclusive entrepreneurship and social innovation with a focus on creating meaningful jobs, finding solutions to foster integration and social cohesion. To this end KIZ participates transnational projects such as the EQUAL initiative (development if one stop shops and quality assurance of services provided), COPIE (further development of EQUAL tool-kit and development of micro-finance), MIQUA (strengthening small and medium businesses in disadvantaged areas) and BIWAQ II (job creation and job placement in the health care sector). Additionally, KIZ cooperates closely with ministries (national and regional) and municipalities to address social problems, which result in a relief for social welfare systems and unemployment schemes.


KIZ has served over 30.000 customers and supported the start of over 6.000 businesses across Germany. Therefore, KIZ has a substantial database with existing businesses as well as young entrepreneurs.


In cooperation with the City of Offenbach, KIZ has been involved in the local network »City of Entrepreneurs/Gründerstadt Offenbach«. This networks brings the main regional stakeholders together to promote entrepreneurship. Through this network KIZ can reach out to regional businesses to become host entrepreneurs and to start-ups interested in going abroad to improve their entrepreneurial skills. In addition to its own customer base KIZ can reach out to regional partners, e.g. the Chamber of Commerce, the Chamber of Crafts and to universities to promote the program, attract host and young entrepreneurs.


KIZ has a strong network across Germany and Europe. KIZ is the German partner of the world wide active organization “Youth Business International” which supports young entrepreneurs (18-35 years) in order to set up a sustainable business. The three key elements of Youth Business Germany are training, mentoring and access to finance. KIZ already matches young entrepreneurs with other young entrepreneurs across the world to improve their entrepreneurial skills, to access new markets and to form transnational relationships.


In close cooperation universities KIZ develops and delivers dedicated trainings for young people. The aim of those trainings is to promote entrepreneurial thinking and behaviour and to provide the necessary skills and know-how to set-up a sustainable business in the most suitable legal form. The spectrum of trainings delivered ranges from trainings for underserved, disadvantage target groups to trainings delivered to students and graduates of universities and vocational academies. Within the Youth Business Germany initiative, KIZ has intensified its relationships with different universities with a focus on providing additional service and trainings, which cannot be provided by the respective advisory office/department due to lack of experience and/or budget/resources. Through the Youth Business Germany project, which currently supports 60 young entrepreneurs, KIZ can also attract young entrepreneurs to travel abroad.


The promotion of entrepreneurship and the recognition of entrepreneurial activities are important to KIZ. Once a year the best start-up companies in the State of Hessen are honoured in three different categories: “Courageous business creation”, “Created jobs” and “Innovative business idea”.  The price is presented by the Hessian Minister of Economy and gets a lot of media attention. KIZ established this award and has organized this event since 2002 in close cooperation with regional stakeholders and the regional ministry of economics. KIZ has developed excellent relationships to participating entrepreneurs, which could act as host entrepreneurs.

Institutional profile
KIZ SINNOVA develops, tests and implements innovative financial and non-financial services and tools to address a large variety of focus groups. The main objective is to foster entrepreneurship in close co-operation with relevant stakeholder and partners from the private and public sector.
Type of Organizatione
not-for profit
Products & Services provided
Financial: access to micro-loans, investors
Non-financial: mentoring, coaching, training, e-learning
Gross Loan Portfolio
N / A
Number of clients
3000 annually
Target Audience
Entrepreneurs, start-ups from diverse backgrounds (i.e. young, female, migration background, unemployed)
Organization Website

Information about Project Partner

KIZ SINNOVA is a research and development organisation developing instruments and tools to promote entrepreneurship and social innovation.

Entrepreneurs, start-ups from diverse backgrounds (i.e. young, female, migration background, unemployed)


The mix of partners from the public and private sector provided insights of lessens learned and demonstrated the effectiveness of partnerships between the different sectors and increased the collaboration creating a much better understanding what works where and why. The most interesting and promising solutions are based on good partnerships between public and private sector partnerships when the partnership was build on trust and each partner could contribute to the overall solution what he can do best.


Local Action:

Local action based on a bottom-up approach making use of tools such as design-thinking can lead to innovative services. It is important to engage stakeholders from the different sectors and engage them at an early stage.


Re-defining Microfinance:

Microfinance combines financial and non-financial support instruments intelligently. Effective microfinance tools combine to:

– providing financial services which are not “bankable”, because including the real costs in interests and fees would lead to prices that are not acceptable for clients, for people which are not “bankable” because they lack conventional collateral, a positive track record or the necessary entrepreneurial skills;

– filling a market gap for a social purpose: to move people out of family or welfare support into a situation where they can earn a living from their own enterprising activities;

– combining loans with start-up and business development services, which is often organised in the form of partnerships between not-for-profit organisations, public institutions, philanthropy and stakeholder banks;

– mobilising additional resources and engagement from the public, philanthropy and voluntary sector, in order to fully cover transaction, capacity building and quality assurance costs;

– exploiting systematically synergies between the core activities of the partners and their microfinance related operations, in order to reduce transaction costs; and

– developing trust-based relations between the partners, and between the MFIs and the borrowers as an essential step to create social capital, which reduces risks of individual loans and risks related to the cohesion of the overall microfinance system.


Microfinance instruments are most effective when current limitations, i.e. a ceiling of 25.000€, providing services to underserved communities only, are overcome and a combination of different non-financial services, i.e. e-learning, mentoring, coaching, go hand in hand with financial instruments, i.e. promotional loans, quasi-equity like products focusing on developing the local economy.

Downloadable documents

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