New opportunities for Dutch companies to benefit from European and Dutch initiatives to boost investment by innovative growth companies were outlined earlier this week by Pim van Ballekom, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank, Michael van Straalen, Chairman of MKB Nederland and representatives of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the European Commission.

The briefing for nearly 110 Dutch companies came a few weeks after the launch of the pan-European Innovfin initiative backed by the European Investment Bank and European Commission. The Innovfin programme addresses the specific investment needs of innovative companies and is expected to support EUR 48 billion of new research, development and innovation investment across Europe in the next 7 years.

“Now that the economy is picking up, more entrepreneurs are thinking about investing again: they want to expand, develop and innovate, however banks cannot always support these growth plans. Therefore the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the European Investment Bank and European Investment Fund are working together with venture capital investors to support Dutch business. We do this for example with the Dutch Venture Initiative, using a fund-of-funds structure to put money into venture capital funds, so that these funds can in turn invest in promising companies. Thanks to this fund more than EUR 300 million has been invested by venture capital for high-growth entrepreneurs and this is expected to reach EUR 500 million by the end of the year." said Henk Kamp, Minister of Economic Affairs of the Netherlands.

“Entrepreneurs need finance to be able to consider new opportunities and growth cannot be hindered by a lack of finance. It would be good for the European Investment Bank to stimulate financing through alternative providers such as SME funds, leading, factoring and credit unions to provide other opportunities for entrepreneurs.” said Michael van Straalen, Chairman of MKB Nederland.

“Investment in innovation is essential to build on Europe’s strengths and compete globally. Companies across Europe, including here in the Netherlands, face a range of challenges when seeking finance to explore new business opportunities. The European Investment Bank is pleased to work with a range of partners to help Dutch companies expand. We wish to build on today’s discussions to support individual companies and help them succeed in the months and years ahead.” said Pim van Ballekom, European Investment Bank Vice President.

Case studies of previous investment in the latest broadcasting technology and experience of Dutch banks supporting innovation investment by smaller companies were examined alongside an overview of the main challenges faced by companies planning future investment. Details of specialised national support provided by the Dutch government, existing European Investment Bank lending and European Investment Fund support were also highlighted at the event hosted by VNO-NCW in the Hague.