€8 million earmarked for creative industry ‘top sector’
The Dutch government’s new Innovation Fund for SMEs (InnovatiefondsMKB+) will make €8 million available for private investment funds looking to invest in the creative industry, one of the Netherlands’ leading sectors.
The initiative was announced by the Minister of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation, Maxime Verhagen.
‘The Innovation Fund for SMEs will ensure that creative start-ups in this fast-growing sector have access to investment capital,’ Mr Verhagen said. ‘This means that greater numbers of innovative architectural, fashion, design, new media and gaming products can be brought to market.’
The creative industry has for years been one of the fastest-growing sectors in the Dutch economy. The new Fund will invest up to 50% of start-up capital for creative industry enterprises. Private investors in the Fund will receive the lion’s share (80%) of the return on investment.
The Fund will be introduced on 1 January 2012 with €500 million in innovation loans and venture capital set aside for the period up to 2015. The Fund is unique in that entrepreneurs who succeed in bringing their innovative products to market will repay the investment they have received. This will enable the Fund to provide loans to four or five times more start-ups.
The lower limit for innovation loans will be lowered from €300,000 to €150,000. If a project fails during the development phase, the loan will be converted into a grant.