Danny de Wit got the idea for an online translation service when he had a website translated. He found that the task was time-consuming and required a great deal of energy. What did he do? Create online translation service Tolq. During the company's startup phase, De Wit made use of a Dutch government financing programme called the Government guaranteed scheme for loans to SMEs (BMKB).
With the help of Tolq, entrepreneurs from companies both large and small can now have their website translated into any language. Entrepreneurs can create an account with just a few clicks. Tolq uses specially designed software to analyse each website, split up the text and send the parts to the right translators.
Faster transition to a growing company
At a relatively early stage, De Wit made use of the Government guaranteed scheme for loans to SMEs (BMKB).
Banks apply the scheme when an entrepreneur submitting an application for financing lacks the necessary collateral. Because the government acts as a partial guarantor, the bank is willing to provide the requested loan. De Wit explains: "It allowed us to continue working on the growth and development of Tolq without too much distraction. We sought out private funding in order to really dive into our innovation. The BMKB helped to speed up our transition towards expansion."
The financing programme was arranged through the bank. In Tolq's case, this was Rabobank Utrechtse Heuvelrug. To qualify for the BMKB, the entrepreneur must submit a well-reasoned credit application to the bank. The bank then processes the application according to its own procedures.
Tips for other startups
De Wit says: "The review process takes place according to normal banking guidelines and involves a considerable amount of paperwork. Fortunately we've had a great deal of support from the account manager at the bank who really understands our business. That's a huge help in going through the process. Banks ask for as many securities as possible, which can be frustrating for entrepreneurs. My advice to other start-ups is to talk to multiple parties and create a business plan that's as clear as possible. It's a lot of work, but it helps to make sure that banks are well informed."
De Wit and his company also benefit from the R&D tax credit (WBSO) and Innovation credit for SMEs (MIT). "The costs and risks of innovation are so high that it's absolutely necessary to support this through sensible tools such as the WBSO. The MIT enabled us to introduce new business models and explore the required technology beforehand. We were able to make much better choices that way."
After three years of development, De Wit brought Tolq to the market. Meanwhile, the company has entered the scale-up phase. De Wit tells us: "We now have ten employees and at least five job vacancies. Hundreds of translators are working on assignments through our translation platform. Now our objective is to roll out the company globally."