Starting a Business StartUps and Failure: Corporate Culture Germany Vs. United States


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Overseas, in contrast to Germany, there is a pronounced culture of self-reliance and failure - and in this country attempts have been made to solve the problem by law.

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Simone Janson Simone JansonSimone Janson is publisherConsultant and head of the Instituts Berufebilder Yourweb.

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Entrepreneurship as a separate scientific discipline

Entrepreneurship has long since established itself as an independent economic discipline in the USA and is widely practiced in teaching and research.

Thus, Americans are already learning very early on what it means to be entrepreneurial and self-responsible with their own resources. This also includes continuing a defeat.

Management tasks instead of entrepreneurship

In Germany, on the other hand, economics education has so far been less geared towards entrepreneurship and more towards management tasks in hierarchically structured large corporations, as Reinhard Schulte stated in 2006 in the “Journal for Social Sciences and Their Didactics”.

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Legally, too, a lot has been done in recent years against the fear of bankruptcy. For example, there have been repeated attempts to facilitate the start-ups of insolvent entrepreneurs.

Law changes to insolvency law

Since 2007 a start-up is favored by insolvent entrepreneurs, since the insolvency administrator now has the opportunity to release the operation of the debtor from the bankrupt estate.

And the reform of the insolvency law (ESUG) of 2012 strengthened the Own responsibility of the insolvent entrepreneurs.

Strengthen self-responsibility

The entrepreneur can then lead his business on his own responsibility and the insolvency estate is not liable for the arising liabilities. The income from his independent activity, if the insolvency administrator solves his legal relations with the insolvency estate, also benefits the debtor and is not allocated to the insolvency estate.

However, every entrepreneur must deduct from his income as much of the estate as would be attachable if it were labor income. And also the EU wants the rehabilitation of Company and to simplify the economic re-start of honest debtors.

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Openness instead of fear

But everyone can contribute to the positive development: by talking openly about his failure. Of course, this makes you afraid at first - because who likes to admit that he is not the perfect, successful entrepreneur? But most of the time the direct environment already noticed that something is not in order. However, at all costs, to want to preserve the fair appearance seems to be only ridiculous and arousing suspicion.

However, anyone who dares to speak openly about his problems can only win in many respects: beginning with the respect of his fellow men, for the courage to be open to his mistakes is rewarded - especially if the failed entrepreneur does not lazily idle has learned from his mistakes and wants to try again. You are no longer perceived as an entrepreneur, but as a person - that brings sympathy.

model effect

Other self-employed people realize in this way that there is someone with similar problems and entrepreneurship failure simply goes along with it.

At best, they begin to talk about their difficulties as well. However, the exchange of problems is not only a mutual wounds-licking: In the ideal case, competences are found that complement each other perfectly. This creates new ideas through synergy effects and the real chance to get something new together.

Time for taboos

And more so: Gradually, the surmise could lead to breaking the taboo. The possibility that entrepreneurs could also fail would be something that would be accepted as a matter of course - as something that can happen to everyone.

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This would probably soon be just as normal in Germany as in other countries, that Pleitiers simply start again. In the end, this could have a positive effect on the corporate culture:

The general mistrust of entrepreneurs would diminish, more people would lose their fear of self-employment. Good for the German economy!


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  1. Olivia

    I have lived in the USA for a long time and can only agree with you from my experience there: The founding culture is really quite different there!

  2. Elisabeth

    Starting a business is a very difficult topic in Germany. I know that from my own expirience!

  3. Manual

    I do not want to appear too negative, but Germany is currently hiding technologically and entrepreneurially, and politics is doing absolutely nothing!

  4. Josephine

    Superpost, hardly anything to add!

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