Curious about what the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) can do for your startup or scale-up? More than you think. Here is an overview of ways RVO can support your startup during different phases. Startup advisor Elke Evers will also explain how RVO adds value at every step.
Elke Evers - Startup Advisor at RVO
RVO offers a wide variety of subsidies and programmes. You can use these in different phases of your startup. A few examples:
During the idea phase of product development, you can apply for a subsidy to test your idea in the market.
RVO can help you apply for EU subsidies if you have an innovation that contributes to solutions for relevant societal challenges.
The Support International Business (SIB) subsidy supports your scale-up activities. Activities that help you explore or enter the international market.
There is an adjusted process of allocating subsidies and programmes for startups. The process matches the speed at which startups operate.
Elke explains: “We made many programmes startup-friendly. That means a smaller administrative burden on business owners like you. Several schemes provide a quick scan form. After you complete the form, we will contact you for a short intake interview. During that interview, we will check whether you qualify to take part in the programme. We will also see if there is a different programme that better suits your needs. If there is a competitive aspect, we may be able to tell you your chances of success. Sometimes we can help you look over your proposal for a competition. But only if we are not the ones who will be judging it.”
Access to networks
Elke has been working at RVO for a long time. As a result, she is familiar with the large organisation and knows exactly who to contact about any topic. But she is familiar with the world outside the organisation, too. RVO's startup advisors interact with the professional field. This lets them stay aware of current trends.
In the Netherlands, there is a network of liaisons to the Dutch government. The startup advisors can also help you get access to the right network. Networks that are useful to scale-ups are available as well. Elke continues: “Take, for instance, our network of contacts at embassies and consulates and our Startup Liaison Network. The liaison network has offices in 6 important tech hubs worldwide: Singapore, New York, San Francisco, Berlin, Paris and London.”
Elke explains exactly what makes her so valuable as a startup advisor with RVO. “Startups have innovative ideas and often, the markets for those ideas do not yet exist. As a result, they might not be a perfect candidate for the instruments we have available. Or they might not fit within the current legal and regulatory framework. So there is often some friction there, which calls for creative thinking. We have to come up with a plan to make it work anyway.” In her role as a startup advisor in the Netherlands, Elke does everything she can to help startups move forward. Elke concludes by saying, “My message for startup entrepreneurs is this: Do not miss any opportunities that could help you grow!”