Encouraging innovation

The government supports companies that develop innovative products through tax benefits, innovation credit and grants. There are also a number of EU grant schemes for innovation.

Innovation creates opportunities

Innovative businesses can help develop solutions to major social issues like global food security, ageing populations or life-threatening diseases.

By developing new products they can also gain access to new markets. Innovation boosts economic growth and creates jobs. That’s why the government provides financial support for innovative enterprise. So businesses can bring their innovative products and services onto the market more quickly.

Investing in top sectors

The Netherlands' innovative top sectors are among the world's best. The government wants to further strengthen their international position. The Netherlands has nine top sectors:

  • Horticulture and propagation materials
  • Agri-food
  • Water
  • Life sciences and health
  • Chemicals
  • High tech
  • Energy
  • Logistics
  • Creative industries.

Top Sector Alliance for Knowledge and Innovation (TKI)

The government, private sector, universities and research centres are working together in the Top Sector Alliance for Knowledge and Innovation (TKI) to make top sectors even stronger. The alliance looks for ways to get innovative products or services onto the market.

Encouraging top sector innovation

The government is encouraging innovation in top sectors in the following ways.

  • National Icons Competition

    Every two years, the government selects several projects or products as winners of the National Icons Competition. These projects and products show how Dutch innovations are among the world’s best. The winning entries all address major social issues.
  • Innovation Expo

    Taking innovations further, realising breakthroughs, and thus contributing to the social challenges we are facing in our country and in the world. That is the ambition of the Innovation Expo. An event that takes place every two years to solve major social challenges in the fields of the circular economy, energy, water, mobility, the built-up environment, health, and food, as well as the required enabling technologies.
  • ‘Volg Innovatie’ database

    The ‘Volg Innovatie’ database is managed by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency. It provides information on the money the Ministry of Economic Affairs spends on various projects.
  • National Science Agenda

    The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy's National Science Agenda identifies focus themes for scientific research in the years ahead. It looks at questions like: What areas hold promise for the Dutch science sector? How can science help find solutions to social issues? How can science create economic opportunities for innovation?
  • Innovation Attaché Network

    Innovation attachés are based at Dutch embassies and consulates. They assist Dutch companies doing business abroad. For instance, by introducing them to potential partners, like research institutions or other companies.
  • Smart Industry

    The Smart Industry initiative (in Dutch) aims to strengthen Dutch industries by promoting the use of cutting-edge IT and technology, like 3D printing, nanotechnology and robots.

Innovative Future Fund

Through its Future Fund the government is making additional money available for innovative SMEs and vital research for the future. From 2018 the fund will make €5 million available annually. Its initial capital will be €200 million.

In 2020 the entire fund will be reviewed.

Tax credit scheme for research and development (R&D)

The WBSO (R&D tax credit) of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy is intended to provide entrepreneurs an incentive to invest in research..