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May 2020

Involve, Uncategorized

Digital, fast & unbureaucratic: the experience applying for emergency funds left Berlin freelancers impressed (& confused)

Not only has Germany reacted fast in curving the public health hazards of COVID-19, it has also been quick to support vital components of the local and national economy. Public authorities across the country have broken very German traits and habits by forgetting budget balancing golden rules and making sure all actors, big and small, receive emergency funds until the economy kickstarts again.

Berlin is no exception to the rule. In record-time, Berlin setup a straightforward application process, under IBB guidance, to help freelancers and small-companies out-there.

On 27/03 at 13h, this tweet launched an unprecedented frenzy of applications from nearly 400 000 applicants within 24h

The scale with which this support mechanism was conceived & implemented is simply unheard of, and a far cry from what everyone would expect from German bureaucracy. The general sigh of relief and overall enthusiasm was shared among friends, social media and reported in the media too. But how unGerman was this whole thing exactly?

Asking around self-employed friends, it became evident that this was defying everybody’s expectations.

  • Not a single document to upload
  • No proof of lost income required
  • Only a dozen fields to fill in with basic data

This made me curious and wanting to dig deeper. How was everybody’s experience? To that purpose, i published a poll online to gather a few data points.

Click on the image to see the poll live.

Here are some learnings. If you are in a hurry, you can get the quick facts hereunder and/or read on for details.

TL;DR: the quick facts

German version available here.

Corona zuschuss poll results infographics
Click on the image to access the original file. German version available here.
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