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The net - Rhein-Main association for entrepreneurs

The Rhine-Main area represents a well developed and award-winning network that operates much like a public transit system.
There are various bus and tramway stops where one can set forth or switch over to another line and a schedule, the business start-up roadmap.

This network is based on a socioeconomic consultation and qualification approach. Along with financial and market economics aspects, this approach considers not only personal aspects such as motivation, social background, specifics of the business sector and mentalities, but also expertise and entrepreneurial core skills.

Description of KOMPASS

Since 2000, Kompass' activities have contributed to a 15% growth in regional entrepreneurship (vs. 8% nationally), placing Frankfurt in the top tier of entrepreneurial cities in Germany.

Kompass has provided entrepreneurship services to over 17,000 clients to date. Its training, counselling and networking offers are all tailored to serve the unique competencies, life experiences, needs and situational perceptions of its heterogeneous target group of males, females, individuals with migrant backgrounds and older 50+ year candidates.

The management consultancy services including development and implementation of business plans, to over 4000 Kompass founders, also focus on an individually tailored socio-economic approach and have positively impacted the survival rate of startups:

80% of the Kompass-incubated startups are active and growing 5 years after founding. (vs. 30-50% of startups which survive beyond 3 years nationally across Germany)

Kompass has actively focused on the Gender Aspects of business incubators and its work in promoting and supporting Women Entrepreneurs has yielded sustainable results.

  • The proportion of women founders has grown from 25% (in 2000) to over 44%
  • The EQUAL project of the European Social Fund recognized Kompass as a Best Practice Model for its work on Gender Mainstreaming.

A strong proponent of network transparency, Kompass offers its clients access to over 20 local, regional and national resources supporting the advancement of entrepreneurship. Clients also have a platform to meet multipliers and other entrepreneurs through the 'Network Action' events and the opportunity to learn from successful entrepreneurs, who are showcased on the regularly held 'Talk Rounds.'

Kompass has considerably advanced institutional capacity building within Germany and created an enabling policy environment. The German government's Employment Agenda 2010, providing micro-lending funds for the unemployed was a result of Kompass' advocacy efforts and the establishment of the Federal Association of German Founders (VDG-Verband Deutscher Gruendungsinitiativen).

Additionally, Kompass provided the impulse for the founding of the National Agency for Women Start-ups Activities and Services (bga), a Germany-wide central resource offering a hotline and platform for information and services related to women entrepreneurship.

Business networking is facilitated by providing transparent linkages and regular networking Forums with local, regional and national resources available to business startups including:

  • Weekly information sessions on business startup, with focus on women specific hurdles
  • Empowerment activities through regular 'Talk Rounds' showcasing successful entrepreneurs and their strategies
  • Joint presence at trade fairs and exhibitions
  • One-Stop-Shop handbook offering resources to female entrepreneurs
  • Internet website featuring women-specific resources
  • Discussions with banks, chambers and financing organization
  • Advocacy for establishment of micro funds

The diffusion of results and replication of learning were facilitated with Training the Trainers (TOT) Workshops, focusing on Gender Aspects in Startups. Seminars and workshops have been offered in multiple venues including:

  • Two transnational conferences with participants from the Netherlands, Belgium, UK and Sweden on the topic of 'Gender in Mainstream'
  • 'Business Incubation in Germany' a study tour to Kompass, Frankfurt, Germany focusing on women-specific business development with practical insights on financing, challenges, types of incubators and One-Stop-Shop resources

Type of services provided

Services for Entrepreneurs: Assessment, Training, Ongoing Consultation, Facilities and Networks

The Kompass Incubator for Business Startups provide individuals considering self employment with personal assessment, information and orientation, and training seminars targeted to identify their potential and needs.

To facilitate the entrepreneurial process and help increase survival rates for innovative startups, individuals are further assisted through management consultation, preparing business plan, review of interim aid applications and sources of financing and budget for market development costs.

The startup incubator facilities offering affordable space in 46 offices, administrative support, conference rooms, copy, computer, fax and telephones, reception area and personnel and parking facilities are also available to young businesses during the start-up period when they are most financially vulnerable

Business networking is facilitated by providing transparent linkages and regular networking Forums with local, regional and national resources available to business startups

Additional networking and support includes joint presence at trade fairs and exhibitions, 'Network Action' events and 'Talk Rounds.'

Direct feedback and evaluation from clients is regularly sought collected to enable Kompass' ongoing monitoring of performance and service delivery

The diffusion and sharing of Best Practices among multipliers is conducted through regularly held Round Table discussions with:

  • The Women Business Incubators (Frauenbetriebe Verein)
  • Commission for Women's Issues (Frauenreferat)
  • The Industry and Trade Association (Industry und Handelskammer-IHK)
  • Business Development Department of Frankfurt (Wirtschaftsfoerderung GmbH)
  • Federal Employment Office - Job centre (Agentur fuer Arbeit)
  • City of Frankfurt (Stadt Frankfurt am Main)
  • Training Association of Industry and Commerce, (Bildungswerk der Hessischen Wirtschaft e.V)

As part of nation-wide capacity building, Kompass serves as technical advisor to key institutions and enablers which include:

  • Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs
  • Federal Ministry of Labour
  • Federal Ministry for Family, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth
  • Banks, Universities and Training and Development institutions

Transnational learning are facilitated through Training of Trainers programs for NGOs, local administrators and public institutions, conducted through institutions such as the European Social Fund's (ESF) Equal project and the GTZ - Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Technische Zusammenarbeit

Kompass focuses on its specific areas of subject-matter expertise in:

  • Gender Aspects of Business Incubators - Equal
  • Women Entrepreneurship - GTZ
  • Migrant Entrepreneurship - Equal
  • Rural women entrepreneurs - Equal
  • Senior Competence Initiative - ESF

Kompass Exporting Good Practice: The Kompass Profiling Tool. Sustainable Success through Profiling

Kompass achieves a significant contribution to improving the prospects of the success of business start-ups. Almost three-quarters of the entrepreneurs whom Kompass profiled and subsequently supported with a start-up seminar and a market testing phase, have entered self-employment and have remained in it up to the present time.

Out of all the enterprises set up in Germany, three years after entering the market only 30 to 50 per cent are still in the market. For the start-ups by the formerly unemployed supported by Kompass, the “long stay” rate is above 75 per cent!

Profiling - a skilled appraisal shows that not all startups can be carried out in the way that a first draft had provided for. Many a business idea must be rejected on examination of its workability; many a start-up project needs clear corrections and a longer and more intensive period for preparation, coaching and guidance then the future entrepreneur first expected.

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Contact Information:

Name: Elke Read

email: elke.read@kompassfrankfurt.de