Proof-of-concept funding

Innovative products and ideas can help resolve societal issues and increase wealth.

A crucial phase in the process is the step from idea to starting up product development: creating and verifying commercial concepts, identifying suitable markets and developing the right patents (IPs as defined by Bradley et al. 2013). For innovative startups, we call this phase the proof-of-concept phase. For existing SMEs, this phase is called the innovation phase. Proof-of-concept funding is there to ensure that an idea develops from the planning phase into the startup phase.

What is Proof-of-concept funding?

Startups and SMEs can use a loan from the Proof-of-concept funding scheme to examine whether their idea is potentially feasible on the market. The loan and the interest calculated on it have to be repaid. The interest rate is 4.82% (set as of 1 January 2018). The EU-reference percentage is variable and is set by the European Commission.

Target groups

Both startups and established businesses can benefit from the Proof-of-concept funding. Proof-of-concept funding is aimed at three target groups:

  • SMEs
  • innovative startups (5 years old or newer)
  • academic, hbo and TO2 innovative startups (whose economic activities directly and immediately result from research by a university or academic hospital)

Budget

For the period 1 January up to and including 31 December 2018, a total budget of € 10.77 million has been set aside for Proof-of-concept funding, shared among the target groups. Eight million is allocated to SMEs and innovative startups.

Application period

SMEs and innovative startups can submit an application from 1 January up to and including 31 December 2018, 17:00 (5 PM). We deal with applications in the order they are submitted. We evaluate each application individually as to whether it meets the requirements. If it does, you will receive the requested loan (if there is still budget available).

Academic, hbo and TO2 startups must submit their applications to the Technology Foundation TTW.

Applications

Applications can be submitted from 1 January up to and including 31 December 2018, 17:00 (5 PM). Applications for SME businesses and innovative startups are evaluated by the Proof-of-concept funding advisory committee. We deal with applications in the order they are submitted. Our decision period is limited to a maximum of 13 weeks. If you are an academic, hbo or TO2 innovative startup, submit your application digitally to TTW.

Quick scan

Do you want to determine whether your plan is eligible? Fill in the Quick scan first.

Conditions

There are various conditions attached to the use of Proof-of-concept funding. Three important conditions are:

  • You write a business plan showing you will grow substantially.
  • You set out an innovation plan or proof-of-concept plan geared to the preconditions of the investor.
  • You have a declaration of intent from the future investor, who will finance your proof-of-concept/innovation phase on the basis of you meeting the preconditions set by him. This has to at least equal the amount you receive from the government.

Background

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy has developed Proof-of-concept funding to help businesses in the proof-of-concept phase or the innovation phase. The Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO.nl) and the Technology Foundation TTW implement this scheme. The Netherlands Enterprise Agency takes care of its implementation for SMEs and innovative startups. Technology Foundation TTW implements it for innovative academic, 'hbo' (university of professional education) and TO2 startups.

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