Ulrich Dexheimer: Stimulus for success – Rhineland-Palatinate as a state for start-ups

Everything in one place – this has been the fundamental principle of the Rhine­­land-Palatinate development institution ISB more than ever since the beginning of 2012, when Investment and Economic Development Bank of Rhineland-Palatinate (ISB) merged with Landestreuhand­bank Rhein­­land-Pfalz (LTH), the state’s devel­­opment bank for residential and city con­­struction, to form the “new” ISB. As a public-law instititution, it now brings to­­gether promotion of the economy and of living space under one roof, thus sup­­­port­­ing the state of Rhineland-Palat­­inate in its economic, structural and regional policies. Investments within the state are the glue which holds joint ac­­tion together, since investments remain at the heart of economic and structural development in Rhineland-Palat­­inate. Investments are a manifestation of the entrepreneurial spirit; they are the future of medium-sized businesses in Rhineland-Palatinate, create jobs and help to make people’s dreams of living in their own home a reality.

When it comes to economic promotion, ISB supports medium-sized companies, who account for around 99 per cent of the economy in Rhineland-Palatinate. They create economic stability and a wide-ranging sector structure. As a “part­­ner for medium-sized businesses”, ISB’s role is to support these small and medium-sized companies with low-interest loans, securities, investments and subsidies – from the initial start-up to an established company. For example, it offers start-ups customised financing and funding programmes not only in the difficult initial period, but also in the following five years, as the company becomes established. Partners and multipliers from the close-knit ISB medium-sized business network provide company founders with additional support and advice. This includes Rhine­­land-Palatinate’s ministries for eco­­nom­­ics and finance, the state’s chambers of industry and commerce with their start-up centres, and the regional economic promotion organisations.


The State Statistical Office registered over 32,500 new companies in Rhine­­land-Palatinate in 2011. To allow these to grow, the ISB supports them with advice and tailor-made financing solutions. When promoting start-up companies, the ISB also takes the various options for company foundations into account. For example, it also supports company succession, where the founder takes over an existing company, as start-ups. This form of company foundation secures the values, knowledge and jobs of a company which would otherwise be without a successor when it is time for a change of generations. Intensive consultancy is especially important for this type of foundation, and ISB can sub­­si­­dise this, such as from the consultancy programme for entrepreneurs.

Furthermore, ISB focuses particularly on start-ups and further company develop­­ments in the technology sector. These start-ups are capital-intensive, because product development involves a high level of effort and usually financial support and market introduction takes a long time. Foundations and development projects in this sector are therefore of­­ten classified as particularly high-risk. The limitations in financing which result from this are considered one of the most important hurdles to be overcome in the innovation process. With the ISB promotion programmes for investment capital, innovative business models with potential for growth are given the op­­por­­­tunity to establish themselves successfully on the market through secured fi­nancing. Financing is provided, for example, for research and development costs for economically sustainable pro­­jects and market introduction costs for young companies which were founded less than six years ago. In addition to funding programmes, ISB offers entrepreneurs and businesspeople many oppor­­­tunities to receive free advice. For example, those planning to start companies can gain information on integrating public funds into their financing plans at consultancy days. These take place once a month at ISB in Mainz. The state’s chambers of industry and commerce also offer ISB consultations on request. Many of the members of the ISB consultancy team can also be found as work­­shop leaders, speakers and stand advisors at events held by network partners and trade fairs.

At the start-up day organised each year in Mainz by ISB and Rhineland-Palat­­i­­nate’s ministry of economics, would-be entrepreneurs have the opportunity to gain important information for their start-up in the form of workshops. In meetings with economic experts, they can gain helpful information, which will be of use to them in negotiating loans, cre­­ating their business plan and planning their company pension schemes, for example. At events in various cities throughout the state, the development institution and its network partners pro­­vide information on the topic of start-ups, including those which are part of succession arrangements.
Those who have finally developed an intel­ligent concept successfully or have started their own business with a great idea can take part in ISB’s entrepreneur competitions and, ideally, win even more funding for their company. In the “Pioniergeist” competition, for ex­­ample: entrepreneurs and businesspeople who have made their start-up idea a reality or have taken over a company as part of a succession are eligible to enter. The state’s largest competition of its kind offers young entrepreneurs the opportunity to draw attention to their business model even outside their region.

With this targeted promotion and customised financing options, ISB is helping entrepreneurs and young businesspeople to realise their plans and allow them to grow.


You can find contact persons and more information on the funding programmes provided by the ISB online at www.isb.rlp.de. The online ISB fund­­ing finder can also help you to find the right funding programme for you. It offers initial orientation, explains the content of programmes and provides opportunities for contact.

bild18-Kopie-KopieBorn in 1958, the banker and economist is spokesman for the executive board of Investment and Economic Development Bank Rheinland-Pfalz (ISB). He be­­gan leading the medium-sized business segment of DZ Bank in 1996. In 2008 he became a managing director of ISB and became spokesman for the executive board in 2010. He has held his current position since January 2012.