In Apollo 14 we help entrepreneurs to start and grow. And an important element in this is having sufficient starting or growth capital. For many entrepreneurs, it is difficult to find their way in the jungle of possibilities. The Netherlands Enterprise Agency, or RVO for short, can offer good help. In Apollo 14 you can register for free consultation hours of RVO. In this interview with René Kamphuis from RVO, we will highlight the work of RVO and the support you can receive in Apollo 14.
What is RVO?
The Netherlands Enterprise Agency is an executive agency or a policy implementer. The House of Representatives outlines policy, this policy is commissioned by the Ministries and they convert this into regulations and concrete programs. The largest clients are the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The latter serves to stimulate economic growth through internationalization.
René: “In addition, we also carry out assignments for the Ministry of Justice, for example for Immigration and the Naturalization Service. For this we offer a startup service: foreign startups can receive a visa to realize a startup here, but they have to join an incubator so that the government knows there is good guidance.”
RVO has gradually increased over the years because different separate agencies have been merged. For example the Patent Office, the Service Regulations and more. Now RVO is an organization of more than 4000 people.
If you are a startup, and if you have a financing question, then within RVO you can contact the Banking and Investment division. This is the division within RVO where all financial arrangements are accommodated, which again falls under the National programs.
You will then be assisted by the SME Finance Unit. This unit works for both National and International programs. René: “We as SME financing actually focus our work based on the customer”. Our customers are entrepreneurs in the Netherlands, from startup to larger companies. We help entrepreneurs in finding suitable financing.”
Matching financing with partners
As RVO, we never finance an application for 100%. We do this to spread risk, but also to involve other parties in this process. We have learned to look outside the RVO to see what other possibilities are available. You can think of banks, investment companies, business angels, crowdfunding platforms, fintech initiatives and more.
We finance an early phase financing independently, but we do want to have the commitment of an external financier for the next phase of financing. The Government, therefore, has no independent financing.
The different phases in financing where RVO can help you as an entrepreneur.
More room for experiment
The government is filling a gap that is not filled by the market. As a result, the government makes it possible to bring plans, ideas and therefore companies to the market that would otherwise never get this far. This method creates more room for experiment.
“We look very thoroughly at the presented business plans, and with good results. For example, with the Innovation Credit, we have a repayment percentage of around 60%. RVO requests reimbursement at most with the provision of financing. This sets us apart in this development phase of an investor who participates and thus receives a return later.”
RVO at Apollo 14
For startups, it is now possible to register for RVO’s office hours in Apollo 14. “Here we can guide you as a starting entrepreneur through the instruments of RVO. What we always do first is listen to your needs, to be able to give you the right advice. What phase are you in? What is the financing requirement? What is your familiarity with financing and financiers? This is where we get all sorts of signals.” All the possible instruments are offered, and we discuss what could be appropriate for your company.
During the consultation hour, the following points will be discussed:
- What phase are you in?
- What are the needs?
- Is government support possible?
- Are there also things that are outside RVO? We can link you to other agencies that can help you. For example, experienced entrepreneurs who offer a coaching role for startups.
- Basal things: how do I imagine myself in a conversation with an investor?
- Or just spar over your business model
The first meetings with entrepreneurs in Apollo 14 were very interesting and lead to follow-up discussions. A success!
Are you a startup, and are you interested in support from RVO at Apollo 14? Then click here.