Small and medium-sized companies go green in the Netherlands
Since 2009, the European Investment Bank and ING Bank in the Netherlands have provided EUR 500m in attractive funding for small and medium-sized enterprises. Two examples highlight the benefits.
One of these clients is Achou Zhang, a young entrepreneur, who used her EUR 1.8m loan to invest in the first eco-designed hotel in The Hague, the Court Garden. This 70-room hotel is completely insulated, uses green energy and serves its customers organic breakfast. Energy savings amount to a stunning EUR 18 000 a year, earning the recently opened hotel an official green certificate from the Ministry of Environment and an A+ energy label. Access to EIB funding saves Ms Zhang EUR 10 000 in interest payments per year, an amount that makes a big difference when running a start-up hotel, she emphasises.
From eco-hotels to green transport
Oostenrijk Group (SLS Travel Solutions), a transport and travel company located close to Amsterdam, is hardly a start-up. The family-owned company was established in 1922 and is now managed by fourth generation Rogier Staal. It employs 100 staff, operates 70 buses and has a EUR 20m annual turnover. However, the EUR 4m loan that Oostenrijk Group obtained is also used for green investment. Following an international tendering procedure the EIB funds will go towards purchasing 50 energy efficient Daimler Benz buses and operating them over a five-year period. Energy savings will add up to EUR 100 000. “We are making a contribution to sustainable growth”, says Mr Staal, “and saving costs”, he adds with a smile.
Positive entrepreneurial thinking in difficult economic times
Ruud van Dusschoten, Executive Director of Business Banking at ING, is glad to see positive entrepreneurial thinking in difficult economic times. Small and medium-sized enterprises are the backbone and engine of the economy. But as for any bank, the challenge for ING is to pick good entrepreneurs with promising investment plans. As for the EIB, it needs partners like ING to support small and medium-sized enterprises in the Netherlands, elsewhere in the European Union, and also beyond.