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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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Involve, Uncategorized

A meta-guide for freelancers in Berlin to face the Corona lock-down

The German federal state and Berlin have taken unprecedented steps to help self-employed people during this crisis. The situation is evolving fast and it’s hard to keep an overview.

This post aims at providing as many resources as possible to let you sail through the storm. All the best and good luck.

Updated 31.03: to include Entschädigungen nach dem Infektionsschutzgesetz.

Updated 01.04: to include FAQs on Soforthilfe 2, and a poll i made to measure the success rate of applications. Please fill it in if you have made an application, only 5 easy questions, less than a min!

Updated 02.04: to include updated rules on Soforthilfe 2 stated by the IBB.

Updated 03.04: to include updates rules on Soforthilfe 2 and how the money can be used.

Updated 07.04: to include resources provided by the senate/city and updated information on ALG2.

Updated 08.04: Soforthilfe 2 is now called “Corona Zuschuss”.

Updated 10.04: Including infos about reducing Krankenkasse contributions with KSK, TK and others. Also including new contact info to IBB.

Updated 15.04: Including an handy “how-to” video to fill in the ALG2 application form.

Updated 19.04: Including link to a petition to remove restrictions on how Corona Zuschuss money can be used.

Updated 24.04: Including a special support program for live music artists and more crowdfunding options.

Updated 26.05: Visa holders may receive support money until September now, without worrying about their residence permits.

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Involve

5 reasons not to take part to the local elections in Berlin

Every now and then, there are posters hanged on lamp posts or in the U-Bahn. I’m sure you have noticed them. This is generally the sign that elections are soon held. This time, it is local elections in Berlin; representatives of each Bezirk in the city (BVV – Bezirksverordnetenversammlung) are renewed every 5 years.  That’s 55 representatives per Bezirk who take decisions on local matters and allocate budget as well. As a foreigner who has been living here for a while, there is a good chance that you are interested in how politics are run in your Bezirk. Those are elections are a chance to impact those policies.

So let me tell you 5 reasons why you probably won’t take part to those upcoming elections in Berlin.

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