According to calculations by the Institut für Mittelstandsforschung in Bonn, about 421.000 new companies were set up in the year 2006 in Germany. In 89.9% of these there were no employees and just 10% employed up to 49 people. Thus, 99.9% of all company founders started with less than 50 employees.
Just 435 newly-founded businesses employed more than 50 staff, 278 of which up to 99 people and 157 companies more than 100 employees. In the period between 2003 and 2006 each year about 190.000 new companies were set up which employed at least one person which was subject to social contribution payments. On average there were 2.3 of such jobs created in each new company.
In the year 2006 most new companies were set up in the private sector service industry (68.000), in commerce (about 64.000) and other kinds of services (30.000). The number of newly set up main branch and branch offices has been falling for the last ten year. While in 1997 there were still 210.900 main branch offices and branch offices set up, this figure fell to 184.000 in the year 2001 and just 162.000 in 2006.
This analysis does not include those employees working in freelance businesses. However, the number of freelances has been growing for years. While at the beginning of the year 1998 there were about 646.000 self-employed people in Germany this number had grown to 954.00 at the beginning of 2007. In the ten year period from 1997 to 2006 there were in total 4.9 million new businesses set up in Germany. With regard to the percentage of self-employed people in proportion to the overall number of employees it turned out that this figure was smaller in Germany (11.1%) than the EU average (14.8%) in the year 2006.