All data collected in the context of the KfW/ZEW Start-Up Panel are treated strictly confidential in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Data Protection Act (Bundesdatenschutzgesetz, BDSG). All project partners involved in the KfW/ZEW Start-Up Panel (KfW, ZEW, Creditreform) work on the basis of a data protection concept which guarantees that the wide-ranging statutory data protection requirements are met. This means in detail:
The data of the KfW/ZEW Start-Up Panel are only used for scientific purposes. With the data collected scientific analyses are carried out to provide information for political institutions, academia and media about the situation of young firms. Thus, the Mannheim Start-Up Panel contributes to making the economic policy discussion more objective in the general public.
The ZEW as one of the leading German economic research institutes uses the data for its scientific work on the fields of entrepreneurship research and firm dynamics. Based on the data of the KfW/ZEW Start-Up Panel, scientific expertises are carried out for the ministries of federal and state governments.
The KfW has been cooperating closely with the ZEW in the entrepreneurship and small and medium-sized business research for years. The scientific findings from the survey serve – inter alia – to align the support programmes of the KfW even more to the needs of founders and young firms. Within the KfW, the collected data are used exclusively by the employees of the KfW’s department of economics. This means in particular that the data of the KfW/ZEW Start-Up Panel do not serve as basis of decision-making on awarding the surveyed firms with loans or grants.
Since its foundation, the ZEW has been cooperating with Creditreform. Within the Creditreform the collected data are used exclusively by the employees of the Creditreform economic research unit. Individual firm data are not integrated into the enterprise information system of Creditreform and are not used for the evaluation of the creditworthiness or for the creation of a firm rating accordingly. A dissemination of data within the company group of Creditreform does not occur.
The analysis of all data collected is carried out in anonymised form (i.e., without names and contact details of the firms and the interview partners) and only in combination with information about other firms. No conclusions on the individual firms can be drawn from the scientific studies or other published documents.
Scientific Analyses on the Basis of a Scientific Use File
The collected data are used exclusively for scientific analyses. Scientists working at universities or publicly financed research institutions can obtain an anonymised dataset for their scientific work in the form of a Scientific Use File. The anonymised dataset contains no information either on the firm name or on the addresses or phone numbers of the firms. Moreover, for the purposes of anonymisation, the information is either aggregated or removed from the dataset which would facilitate the possibility to draw conclusions on a particular firm. This includes inter alia information on the best-selling product or on the legal form of the firm. In other words: The Scientific Use File allows for no identification of individual firms or persons. Conclusions on individual firms or persons are not possible.
The dissemination of the Scientific Use File to scientists is conducted upon a written request in which the scientific purpose of the data use has to be defined. Before the data are disseminated, the data user must conclude a written contract in which the confidential handling and the non-dissemination of the data are set out in detail. The access to the data for external scientists is granted only with a delay of three years after the conducting of the respective survey.
The names and contact details of the interviewed Managing Directors represent particularly sensitive personal data. They remain strictly separated from the survey data. The name and the contact details of the interview partner are saved only where the interview partner has explicitly agreed to it. The recording of the name and the personal contact details is used exclusively to inform the interview partners about the results of the survey and to facilitate the reestablishment of contact within the scope of the KfW/ZEW Start-Up Panel which is designed for several years.
Besides the names of the interviewed Managing Directors, also the firm name is saved strictly separated from the survey data. Information on name and address of the firms as well as the interviewed persons is exclusively available at the ZEW. The project partners from KfW and Creditreform as well as external researchers obtain for their scientific work a dataset without name and address data.
Control of the Data Access
All project partners save the data collected on saved drives which cannot be accessed by unauthorised persons. The information on firm names, persons’ names as well as contact details is exclusively available at the ZEW. The access to this data is provided only for employees of the ZEW involved in the project KfW/ZEW Start-Up Panel.