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SIB Knowledge voucher

Do you have an SME? And do you want to sustainably expand your business to a specific market abroad? If so, the Knowledge voucher from the Starters International Business programme (SIB) could be a good option for you. This voucher gives you a discount on the cost of hiring an external advisor who can help you with your international plans.

The SIB Knowledge voucher is an online voucher that you can use to pay your chosen advisor. The voucher is worth 50% of the costs up to a maximum of € 2,500 (excluding VAT).
You can use the voucher for:

  1. Advice on international legal or tax matters;
  2. Commissioning a market research report;
  3. Following a course to improve your knowledge on doing business internationally.

For whom?

You can apply for the SIB Knowledge voucher:

  • if you are a Dutch SME owner. To check if your business meets the criteria of an SME, use the online English test from the European Commission;
  • from the Caribbean part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands: Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Saba, Sint Eustatius or Sint Maarten;
  • if you have some international experience;
  • if you have already collected information about the market you want to expand to abroad, but are not already active in that market.

What can you use the SIB Knowledge voucher for?

You can use the SIB Knowledge voucher for:

Advice from a legal or tax advisor

For example, you can:

  • have contracts evaluated and new contracts made;
  • have general terms and conditions created for export transactions;
  • register a brand;
  • get advice on tax rates and double taxation;
  • set up a foreign entity;
  • gain other legal or tax knowledge aimed at sustainable international expansion, such as transfer pricing or employment laws.

A custom report about a specific market or sector combination

The report can include:

  • Market analysis;
  • Business culture;
  • Laws and regulations;
  • Competition analysis;
  • Marketing analysis.

A multiple-day training course

During the course, the following subjects may be discussed:

  • Culture and business customs;
  • Increasing profit for trade fairs and missions;
  • Forms of collaboration and operational skills.

SIB Knowledge voucher conditions

  • 1 voucher per applicant for a given target country.
  • 1 voucher every 2 years.

If your SME belongs to a group, the voucher is for the whole group. Remember this when you choose what you want to use the voucher for.

External expert conditions

The conditions for the external expert differ depending on what you want to use the voucher for.

If you want to use the voucher for advice from a legal or tax advisor, the advisor must:

  • have at least a higher professional education level of working and thinking;
  • work at an advice company with legal or tax knowledge;
  • have at least 3 years of experience in advising businesses on legal or tax matters in the area of international business.

If you want to use the voucher for a custom report about a specific market or sector combination, the advisor must:

  • have at least a higher professional education level of working and thinking;
  • have experience in advising on the target country;
  • have a network in the target country to carry out the market research.

If you want to use the voucher for a multiple-day training course, the advisor must:

  • have at least a higher professional education level of working and thinking;
  • have recent expertise or knowledge related to the purpose of the voucher and the target country;
  • gives the course on behalf of an institution or party which has a quality certificate for providing courses, such as Cedeo.

You can hire an external expert who is based abroad. They can speak Dutch or English.

You cannot use the voucher:

  • for services that you need regularly;
  • to cover the time you spend on the consulting process;
  • travel and accommodation costs.

Specific to advice from a legal or tax advisor, you cannot use the voucher for:

  • services you usually require, such as routine tax consultancy, ordinary legal advice or advertising;
  • drawing up business plans or applying for a foreign bank account.

How to apply for a SIB Knowledge voucher

Follow these steps to apply for a SIB Knowledge voucher:

  1. Look for an advisor who can help you with your question. Ask them for a quotation and a CV. The quotation must specify the services the advisor will provide and the related costs. Once you have received a final quotation, you have 3 months to apply for a voucher.
  2. If you are applying for a voucher from the Netherlands, you will need eHerkenning  level 1. If you do not have this, please first request eHerkenning. It will take a few days before this is processed. If you are applying for the Kickstart voucher from the Caribbean part of the Kingdom, you do not need eHerkenning.
  3. Apply for the voucher at mijn.rvo.nl. There are different forms for applications from the Netherlands and the Caribbean part of the Kingdom. Complete the form, and send it to us with the advisor's quotation and CV. The application forms are in Dutch. We trust your Dutch colleague to help you with them.

After your application

We process complete applications only, and in order of receipt. The date on which you sent the completed application is the date of receipt.

You will receive a notification of our decision within 13 weeks. If we approve your application, you will get an online voucher that is valid for 6 months.

You must use the voucher within that period. You can also request to extend the voucher by 6 months. You cannot give your voucher to someone else.

How to report changes

Do you need to make a change to your SIB Knowledge voucher? Please let us know.

  • If you applied for the voucher from the Netherlands, go to mijn.rvo.nl. Click on the button Beheren and log in with eHerkenning level 1. You can then make changes to your application. We trust your Dutch colleague to help you with this.
  • If you applied for the voucher from the Caribbean part of the Kingdom, send an email to sib@rvo.nl.

We can only process administrative changes. You cannot change the content of the application. You can cancel your request.

How to transfer the SIB Knowledge voucher

When your advisor’s services are finished, you can give them the SIB Market Entry voucher.

  • If you applied for the voucher from the Netherlands, go to mijn.rvo.nl. Click on the Beheren button and log in with eHerkenning level 1. Next, go to Overdragen and complete the task Voucheroverdracht. We trust your Dutch colleague to help you with this.
  • If you applied for the voucher from the Caribbean part of the Kingdom, click on ‘Kennisvoucher - Caribisch deel van het Koninkrijk overdragen’. Download the form, complete it and send to sib@rvo.nl.
  • If an intermediary applied for you before 26 June 2020, you can ask the intermediary to transfer the voucher for you as well. To do so, you must first complete and sign a ‘Verklaring overdracht kennisverwerving’ (Transfer declaration for knowlegde acquisition). Your intermediary must upload this declaration when transferring the voucher. The declaration form is available at mijn.rvo.nl.

How to redeem the Knowledge voucher

Once you have given your advisor the SIB Knowledge voucher, they can redeem it. The advisor will get an email once the voucher has been transferred to them. Advisors can then redeem the voucher at mijn.rvo.nl.

  • If the company applied for the voucher from the Netherlands, start by clicking on the button Beheren. You will need to log in using eHerkenning level 1. Open the relevant file and select Verzilveren (Use).
  • If the company applied for the voucher from the Caribbean part of the Kingdom, click on the button ‘Redeem Knowledge voucher for foreign experts’. You do not have to log in first.

TIP! Make sure to redeem the voucher in time
Advisors must redeem the voucher within 3 months of it being transferred. This period cannot be extended. If you do not redeem the voucher in time, it will expire and you will not be paid the voucher’s value.

Good to know
We carry out random checks on requests to redeem the SIB Knowledge voucher. If your request is checked, we will ask you to give us extra information. We will decide on your request within 13 weeks.