On 7 April, the Dutch government announced that it would make €100 million available in bridging loans for start-ups, scale-ups, and innovative SMEs. These companies can submit an application for a Coronavirus Bridging Loan (COL) from 29 April. This facility was developed as part of an intensive collaboration between the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate, joint regional development corporations and TechLeap.nl, and with the close involvement of Invest-NL.
Loans under favourable conditions
The government has asked the regional development corporations to grant these bridging loans under favourable conditions. These loans range between €50,000 and €2 million. Shareholders or other investors are expected to co-finance 25% of loans above €250,000.
A uniform interest rate of 3% will be payable on these loans, and the terms will be tailored to the target group. More information on the conditions is available at Q&A (in Dutch). The goal is to assess and deal with applications for less than €500,000 within four to nine working days and to reach a definitive decision on applications for more than €500,000 within three working weeks.
The COL must be seen as an emergency measure implemented in response to the economic impact of the Covid-19 outbreak. This means that businesses must be able to demonstrate that, although they need a loan in the current economic crisis, they nevertheless have fundamentally sustainable and healthy prospects. Businesses must also have implemented the cost-reduction measures that may reasonably be expected of them at present.
Supplementary measures for start-ups and scale-ups
Start-ups and scale-ups are being hit hard by the coronavirus crisis: an inventory made by Techleap.nl revealed that 55% of businesses are faced with a fall in demand because they are losing existing customers or not winning new customers. Attracting the necessary new funding in the current conditions is a problem for this group, as start-ups, scale-ups, and other businesses without bank financing can at best make only limited use of measures previously announced by the government focused on companies with loan capital.
Ms Mona Keijzer, State Secretary for the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate, explains that ‘the government intends to make financial support more accessible to all businesses in these exceptional and difficult times. Start-ups and scale-ups are of great importance to the future of economy and our society: they provide tomorrow’s income and jobs, and their innovative products and services contribute to solving global challenges including, for example, the coronavirus crisis. This is why the government is now investing 100 million euros in bridging loans that will enable our growth businesses to get through these difficult months.’
Applications can be submitted from 29 April
Applications can be submitted to a special online portal (in Dutch) from 9:00 AM on Wednesday 29 April. Only complete applications submitted online will be processed. Applications for funding to a maximum of €5 million can also be submitted to this portal, which was developed in cooperation with TechLeap.nl. These will be examined jointly by Invest-NL and the regional development corporations.
We can quite understand that businesses and investors will have questions about the Coronavirus Bridging Loan. We have drawn up a comprehensive Q&A (in Dutch) with all the details of the Coronavirus Bridging Loan.