Budget Day 2014: Strengthening economic growth

More and better financing for SMEs. More room for startups. A Future Fund to boost innovation. Stronger focus on agricultural exports. Enhancing private initiatives in nature. These are the wide-ranging measures Minister of Economic Affairs Henk Kamp and Minister for Agriculture Sharon Dijksma want to introduce to further stimulate the cautious economic recovery. The measures were revealed in the 2015 budget for the Ministry of Economic Affairs which the ministers today sent to the House of Representatives. Over the coming year, the ministry will focus on sustainable innovation and business initiatives.

In her atelier in The Hague young entrepreneur Evelien Gentis is working on hats for Budget Day

Excellent business climate

There will be much more room for SMEs to expand in 2015. Also, thanks to the appointment of a ‘Special Envoy’ for startups, growing businesses and startups will all get the room they need to do business and to expand. This Envoy will strengthen the international position of Dutch startups and growing businesses and will encourage entrepreneurs from other countries to set up business in the Netherlands. The financial scope for SMEs will be widened thanks to an ambitious range of financial measures that can generate additional financing of €2.5 billion. Campaigns focusing on alternative forms of financing will also be launched to increase the options available.

High levels of innovation

To boost innovation, the Dutch government will set up a Future Fund with €200 million start-up capital. This fund will co-finance innovative SMEs and basic and applied research. In addition, the budget for involving innovative SMEs in top sector policy will be raised to €30 million, with a focus on finding answers to societal challenges.

New incentives for sustainable energy

Next year the transition to a sustainable, efficient and independent energy management will be expedited. By relaxing legislation it will get easier for private businesses to jointly generate sustainable energy. In addition, €3.5 billion will become available in 2015 for the SDE+ scheme, which encourages businesses to operate in a cost-effective manner with sustainable energy sources, which will ultimately result in lower energy bills.

Stronger focus on agricultural exports

The Netherlands is a world player in agricultural products and wants to strengthen this position over the coming year by focusing more efforts on exports. The Russian boycott means it is particularly important to find new markets. To this end, the ministry will organise trade missions and promotional activities for agricultural products, knowledge and technology over the coming year. Efforts will also be focused on gaining broader access to existing markets and on more opportunities for funding export companies, with a special focus on China, India, Indonesia, Brazil, Mexico, Japan, Korea and the United States.

Strengthening private nature initiatives

Nature initiatives will receive additional support in the coming year. The government will earmark €35 million to boost green entrepreneurship and innovation. In addition, green volunteering will be encouraged. Through these measures, the government wants to strengthen nature. In 2015 the Nature Conservation Act will also enter into force. By simplifying the rules, biodiversity will stay protected, while also creating greater support for nature and room for entrepreneurship.