Deutsche Bank has launched a 300 million euro ($417.4 million) fund to support the so-called "Mittelstand" -- small and mid-sized German companies -- with low-cost equity they can use to weather the financial crisis.
An estimated 2,000 auto parts suppliers make up Germany's powerful Mittelstand.
The fund -- for which Germany's flagship lender is still seeking additional partners -- is supposed to start up this quarter with the goal of helping companies that have annual sales of up to 100 million euros, the bank said last week.
The fund will be administered by M Cap Finance and provide financing tranches of 2 million to 10 million euros in the form of non-voting certificates.
Deutsche Bank CEO Josef Ackermann floated the idea for the fund in December amid criticism that banks were lending too little to small companies, which have been hit hard by the global financial crisis.
Carmaker Daimler AG is among the companies reviewing whether to join the fund.
Reuters contributed to this report