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What is a GmbH? The German Limited Liability Company explained

Checklist for your Startup in Germany

“Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung” (in short: GmbH) means Limited Liability Company. It is the most popular company form in Germany and protects – as long as the legal rules are being obeyed – its shareholders from any personal liability. For an overview of German company forms see here.

However, in contrast to most other EU member states, there is still a hefty minimum capital requirement of 25,000 Euro, half of which (i.e. 12,500 Euros) must be available in cash at the time of formation of the GmbH. The reasoning behind it being that only solvent entrepreneurs shall be able to found a GmbH. The general public shall be protected from shady people founding 1 Euro companies. Who cannot come up with at least 12,500 Euro can establish a “GmbH light”, called “Unternehmergesellschaft mbH”, commonly referred to as “mini GmbH”. However, this mini GmbH is not taken quite seriously  in the business world, so it cannot be recommend to go that route. This guideline explains the necessary steps for establishing a GmbH in Germany: Guideline for the Formation of a German Limited Liability Company (GmbH) 

Bernhard Schmeilzl, Rechtsanwalt (Germany) & Master of Laws (UK)