- Access to finance
- Support of companies' growth
- Support of internationalisation
- Support of SMEs
Subsidieregeling voor demonstratieprojecten, haalbaarheids- en investeringsvoorbereidingsstudies (DHI)
Grant scheme for demonstration projects, feasibility studies and investment preparatory studies (DHI)
The DHI measure focuses on Dutch SMEs (EU definition) in all sectors with international ambitions (export and foreign investment), and an interest in emerging markets, developed countries and in developing countries. These include all countries except the Netherlands and countries under sanction.
The SMEs should have at least three people working at the company, enough business experience, and a sound track record. They should already have finished the orientation phase (market orientation) in the country in which they which to become active. The DHI is not focussed specifically on start-ups, though if young enterprises meet the acceptance criteria they can make use of the measure.
The DHI scheme supports Dutch enterprises wishing to invest in or execute a project in emerging markets and in developing countries.
The DHI scheme consists of three modules:
- demonstration projects: presentation of a technology, capital good or service in one of the DHI countries to potential customers in the relevant market, not consumers;
- feasibility studies: assessment of the profitability of a foreign investment by a Dutch enterprise in one of the DHI countries regarding a product or service (study whether it is profitable for foreign customers to invest in a product or service);
- investment preparation studies: assessment of the technical and commercial profitability of an investment in a company in one of the DHI countries (study whether it is profitable to invest in a foreign company).
The costs of the projects are subsidised up to a maximum of 50%, with a maximum of € 200,000 for demonstration projects and €100,000 for both feasibility studies and for investment preparation projects. Eligible costs are costs of an enterprise’s own activities, or for hired experts, costs of use of technologies (in case of demonstration projects), and travel and subsistence costs.
The budget is divided into a portion dedicated to emerging markets and developed countries and a part dedicated to developing countries. The available budget for 2020 is €4 million for DGGF countries and € 5 million for other countries. This represents an increase compared to previous years. The available budget per tender in 2018 was €2 million for Dutch Good Growth Fund (DGGF) countries and €2.5 million for other countries. The available budget for 2017 was €7.5 million for the whole year for activities focusing on emerging markets, and €2 million for the first half of 2017 for activities in developing countries.
- National funds
Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) , Ministry of Foreign Affairs
In 2016, there were 357 applications, of which 101 received grants (28%). A substantial part of the applications were rejected because they were too late or because they did not meet the criteria.
In 2017, the RVO indicates that 186 applications were received, of which 93 projects were selected and received grants. This is the most recent evaluation to date.
Key strengths of this measure include:
- For companies, the DHI measure eliminates bottlenecks and risks in the final stage before exporting and investing in foreign countries, such as unfamiliarity with local habits, local circumstances, etc. that lead to uncertainties about market opportunities. Otherwise the internationalisation of these companies in complex foreign markets would be more restrained. The measure provides solutions to practical business needs amongst SMEs looking to export or invest abroad.
- The tender system results in qualitatively better projects and to a better level playing field for the applicants. With the tender system, the qualitatively best proposals are chosen.
- The measure is easily transferable to other countries, although information on the effectiveness and impact of the measure is lacking. This makes it difficult to judge whether the instrument might be effective in other countries.
Some of the weaknesses identified for this measure include:
- the tendering system is less flexible (only twice a year) than the previous approach under the DHK measure;
- the tendering system reduces the possibilities for consultation and discussion with the companies in advance. This is partly solved by the quick scans beforehand. Based on the quick scan RVO advises whether it is recommended to subscribe with a proposal;
- the rules and criteria are relatively rigid;
- the lack of monitoring and evaluation can be seen as a weakness;
- no information is available on administrative burdens.