Webinar: Financing your business in the Netherlands

Webinar: Financing your business in the Netherlands


If you’re a foreign entrepreneur
in the Netherlands you can benefit from
a variety of financing options on offer from the Dutch government
banks and private agencies. In this webinar representatives of several organisations
will tell you about these options. And experienced entrepreneurs
will share their experiences. Before we start our conversation,
I’d like to point out to our viewers that a team of specialists
is available to answer your questions. So, do you have a question, then use the
live chat option underneath the video screen and one of our specialists
will get in touch with you. This webinar tells you all there is to know
about the Dutch financing landscape. How do you prepare yourself to get funding? Which forms of funding can you find, and
how do you sell your plan to your funders? These are the topics
we’ll be discussing in the next 60 minutes but first, let’s take a look at this video. The royal kingdom of the Netherlands
is strategically located at the North Sea coast between the United
Kingdom and the vast mainland of Europe. The country offers you
a friendly investment climate a highly developed infrastructure and a population with an average spending
income of over 30,000 euros a year. Every year, more businesses
from all over the world start their business in the Netherlands.
You are certainly not the only one. The Dutch government
welcomes this development. However, preparation is the key to success. We’ll start this webinar with an introduction
of the Dutch financing landscape. I’m joined by René Kamphuis
from the Netherlands Enterprise Agency. Geert Gladdines
from the Dutch Banking Association and Gerhard Nagel,
co-owner Ter Marsch & Co. Good to have you
all here in the studio. Well, to start off with you René you’re the coordinator for small and medium
enterprises at the Netherlands Enterprise Agency. Could you say that entrepreneurs from other
countries are welcome here in the Netherlands? They’re very welcome in the Netherlands.
To give an example we provide services
to 350 foreign companies a year. That brings forth
10,000 extra jobs in the Netherlands. And also,
those companies invest for a total of around 2.5 billion euros extra
upon the Dutch economy. So they’re very welcome.
-So I can hear, yes. Which steps does an entrepreneur
have to take when he wants to apply
for finance in the Netherlands? First of all, you must have a visa
and a residence permit. And later on in the process,
you have to register your company at the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce
and you have to finance your business. That is, of course, very important. So that’s mostly the time, the first step
you take to get your finance in order. Later on, at the Chamber of Commerce you can register
your company in a few weeks. So, if you’re not
from a European economic area and need advice and information
about a visa or residence permit please watch the on-demand webinar
Starting a Business in the Netherlands on Business.gov.nl/webinars. So, René, what does an entrepreneur have
to know when he wants to apply for funding? First of all, they have to
prepare themselves very good. The financing is never on your blue eyes or just a talk with an employee
at a financial institute. You have to really prepare yourself
and come up with good plans good figures and well, you have to
really have your details in place. We’ll talk a bit more about that later. First, I’d like to welcome
Geert Gladdines who is a policy advisor
with the Dutch Banking Association. Welcome, Geert.
-Thank you. Can you give our viewers us a short
description of the Dutch financing landscape? Yes well, the vast majority of businesses will
start their orientation process with the bank. So that’s the most straightforward,
regular type of financing and they’ll either go for a normal loan
or an overdraft facility. But the options are widening.
So business can use leasing, for instance where they use a machine or vehicle that stays in ownership
of the leasing party. But also factoring where you can sell your
invoice in order to free up working capital. Or for instance, Qredits which provides
microfinance with a form of coaching as well. For the more risk type oriented
forms of capital you can go to business angels,
private equity, venture capital which is also available in the Netherlands. So, lots of options.
-Yes, for sure. It involves lots of paperwork, I presume.
-Always. But it’s in the benefit of the investor,
the bank and the entrepreneur as well. If you provide a good plan upfront, you will
make sure you have the right type of financing for the kind of business that you’re running,
which is the most important. Well, I’d also like to welcome Gerhard Nagel. You started a burger bar
in Rotterdam in 2013. And now you run four of them.
So, I’d like to start at the beginning. How did you end up here in the Netherlands?
-I was contacted by my Dutch friend. In 2013, he had met a young, high-potential
with an idea to start up a restaurant. And the team needed some funding,
the team needed financial knowhow. And so I came onboard. And what was your idea of the Dutch financing
landscape before you came here? I didn’t really know about it. But banks, financing institutions are pretty
much the same everywhere around the world. Is it really exactly the same in,
for instance, your home country Austria? Principally yes, it’s all about risk. No financing institution, no bank
wants to lose their money. So they’ll go through
a diligent process with you to make sure they understand
the business plan and they find it viable. What’s the difference with Austria? The ease of starting up
a business in the Netherlands is probably better and faster
than in many other countries. That’s good,
a good reason to be here. That’s a very good reason to be here.
-You started with three Dutch partners. Did that help to get funding?
-I think it helps. We talked about it before: What
would it be like for Austrians applying? We’d run a higher risk of failing
with four people not knowing the country. You need local knowhow in running
a restaurant, you need to know the market. It’s good to speak the language.
-Yes. And did you apply while you were in
the Netherlands or were you abroad? I was at the time still abroad. It was just a business idea
at the inception phase. I was working with our commercial
partner on writing a business plan to ask funds from a local bank. René, do you have to be present
in the Netherlands to apply for funding? Or is it possible
to apply online, for example? Yes, at the government instruments
you can apply online. Most of the instruments
are applied online. So you don’t have to be
in the Netherlands before you apply. But later on
in the phase of your application you’ll have to talk to someone
in life being there. So you have to be in the Netherlands
to finish your application. They want to meet you face-to-face.
-Yes. Does this apply to all types of financing?
-Yes. Actually, it does. There isn’t an instrument of financial
support that you can apply online and not seeing anybody and start
your business. That’s not possible. It’s still personal.
-Yes, it’s personal. Geert, the economy is doing well, but
financing is still a bit of an issue. What’s important for Dutch banks? In the credit application process and the
risk analysis the bank is going to make they’ll look at whether an entrepreneur
will make money. If you make money, you can pay back
your loan and interest payments. And it’s very important for the bank
to make sure that you have cashflow and also that you’re able to absorb losses. So you bring in your own equity, your own
capital and that you can provide guarantees. If, in the end,
something wouldn’t work out that you will be able to pay back
the bank with collateral. And Gerhard, you also
invested in yourself, didn’t you? I can absolutely confirm what Geert is
saying. The bank is managing risk. So they want to see you
bring on some own equity because if you don’t believe
in your own plan, why would they? It’s very important
to work on your business plan not only on the numbers,
but on the supporting story. The numbers and the story. They have to build a unity
and support each other. But was it, well, did the bank
actually ask you to invest yourself? Or was it your own idea?
-It’s a prerequisite. The bank is demanding 20 to 30% of equity
otherwise they wouldn’t fund you. Okay, and how much did you invest? For our first, small Ter Marsch burger bar
we needed 200,000 euro and we put our own equity in
which was nearly 80,000 at the time. What are the other demands
of the banks? They want to see some
private, personal guarantees. So, you also have to sign
with your private will on to that loan. Are you responsible as a private person? Yes.
-So, it’s a little bit of a risk. It’s definitely a risk and that’s why
it’s so important to do the homework when you prepare the business plan.
It’s not an exercise for the bank. It’s an exercise to check
if it’s possible to make a profit. Are cashflows coming out
from the business proposal? And Geert,
are there types of businesses that are more likely
to get funding than others? And well,
maybe even the other way round. Are there types of businesses that are
less likely to succeed in getting money? As a general rule, no. Any business that comes to the bank
will get the same treatment, like: Will you be able to pay back the loan? But there are types of… It depends also on competition,
on which kind of market are you in. Is it business to consumer or B2B? And there types of business, for instance,
like clothing, construction and retail,
tailored directly also to consumers that might be more susceptible to
economic downturns making it more risky. So that are examples where the bank will
have different questions about guarantees then, for instance, machinery construction
or production companies. It’s safe to conclude
that the higher the risk the more of your own money
you have to invest. Usually yes.
-Okay. René, you’ve already told us that international entrepreneurs
are more than welcome here. Is there a way that the Dutch
government actually contributes to encourage the Dutch financing landscape?
-Yes, certainly. For instance,
we have SME guarantee schemes. We have all kinds of subsidies,
we’ve risk capital available for start-ups. We also do a lot of advisory work. I advise about 3,000 companies a year
with my unit. We work together a lot
with the Chamber of Commerce and we do a lot of activities together
to reach out to the start-ups. And the new companies in the Netherlands
so we do a lot together. It seems so. And do entrepreneurs
actually make use of this? Yes, they do and we try to
reach out ourselves as well. We are visible on our website but we also work together
with the Chamber of Commerce with business.gov.nl and we try to attend
to as much as events as possible. We’re also available on a lot of places
where entrepreneurs come together like Incubators or special buildings
for starting companies. So, we have a lot of interaction
and that’s basically our main job. Good, well, to recap: entrepreneurs are
more than welcome in the Netherlands. There is a wide variety
of funding available if you come very well-prepared.
A simple handshake won’t do. Before you apply for funding make sure you
have a valid residence and working permit. I see we have a viewer’s question
and it’s for you Gerhard. Is it necessary to know people
in the Netherlands when you want to apply for a loan?
-Yes. I think it’s good, it’s helpful. If you have local people who know
the language, who know the ways it’s absolutely supportive in your plans.
-Good to know. Well, I’d like to thank all three of you:
René, Gerhard, Geert for all your experience and expertise,
thank you for sharing. If you want more information,
please take a look on business.gov.nl or ask your question to our chat team. The most important condition for getting
funding for your business is preparation. An essential part in this
is writing a professional business plan. This plan has to meet requirements.
I’ll talk about these requirements with Angèle Margré, business advisor
at Netherlands Chamber of Commerce. Geert Gladdines,
policy advisor corporate service at the Dutch Banking Association. And Gerhard Nagel,
co-owner Ter Marsch & Co. Welcome, good that you’re here. Angèle, you’ve seen a lot
of business plans in your career. Can you tell us which components
should be in a business plan? It’s a bit of a triangle.
You start with your personal belongings and your personal skills
being an entrepreneur. Who are you as an entrepreneur? What
are your skills, education and experience? And why do you want to start a business.
The second chapter is marketing. The marketing strategy. Why do you
want to start this kind of business? With these activities.
Who are your clients? What are their needs? And why are you starting this
marketing strategy and your purpose? And the third part, it’s the most
difficult part, is the financial plan. And that required your revenues,
your investments, your financial plan your loans and your return on investments. In order to improve your understanding
of the importance of a business plan please watch the following video. You have a brilliant idea, a gap
in the market, an amazing product. An indispensable app.
You’re enthusiastic about this. You see opportunities,
but can you get it done? You are motivated
and just want to go, go, go. Stop, that’s not smart.
Your idea deserves better. Would you just start pouring concrete
if you want to build a house? Of course not.
You’re the architect of your own success. And just like an architect, you build
better, easier and faster with a blueprint. And do you know how
you can be successful in business? By having a business plan
as your blueprint. It provides insight
in the feasibility of your idea. And at the same time,
it’s a step-by-step plan. It gives you control during hard times. It’s an exploration of the future
during the building process. It forces you to describe the foundation and which walls
are going to support the success. It teaches you what is necessary
to shape your visionary idea. In your business plan,
you’ll list your own plans. You’ll answer questions like:
What do I want to do exactly? Where am I going to establish myself?
Which legal form am I going to choose? Is there a market for my product?
How do I find customers? How much money do I need
to get my plans off the ground? Often the design will change a bit
during this process. You discover what is and isn’t possible. By asking feedback
from friends, family and experts you’ll discover construction faults
and how to prevent them. In the end, you know
how beautiful your success can be and how you can achieve that
with as much purpose as passion. And as much motivation as inspiration. The business plan, the foundations of
business success and financing your ideas. Angèle,
how do I fill out the financial part knowing that entrepreneurs find this the
most difficult part of a business plan? Most entrepreneurs
find it the most difficult part. I think it’s the most boring part
for the financial plan. At first, you make four budgets.
The first one is the investment budget. And that’s all the stuff and articles
you need to start up your company. Put it on the left side of your sheet,
it’ll be your dream. So, it’s going to be the inventory,
the machinery, the transport. All the stuff you need to start your company. On the right side
is going to be your worst nightmare. So, you ask yourself:
Where do I get the money from? There are several possibilities.
First is bringing in your own money. Like your own savings or subordinated loan
from family or friends. And the other possibility to get a loan
or credit from outside capital like a bank or crowdfunding,
but also an informal investor. So those two financial budgets
are your opening sheet your opening balance
so they must be equal. The third one is the budget
most entrepreneurs forget to make because it’s your private budget.
-You have to put that in too? Yes, because how much money
do you need to earn for your own living? For your own fixed costs or expenses, yes? So that’s a difficult one.
The fourth one is the operating budget. That’s the most budget the banks like because that’s the budget how you,
for instance, determine your hourly rate your purchase
and that’s also your revenues. So the bank will know
how much will you earn to pay us back
and to get your return on investment. So, and you make three.
For the one, is the realistic one. The second one of for the future and
the third one is to grow with your company. Okay. Gerhard,
when you started your business did you know
how to make a business plan? I did and I like Angèle saying
the number part is the most boring part. I’m a finance professional,
I like the numbers part. But that’s why I wrote my business
plan with my commercial partner. He also finds it more boring. So it’s very important
that the commercial story is in line tangoes with the numbers.
It should be one story. So, don’t write it on your own.
Team up. And make it perfect towards the bank.
-I like that, a tango. It makes it less boring, at least, yes. So, what are the most components
of a business plan? The most important components. Well, if I might start?
-Yes. It starts with the idea,
with a passionate idea. You translate it into the first numbers. In our case,
in the Ter Marsch burger restaurant: How many burgers are we going to sell
on a Monday, Tuesday, a Saturday? You have a profit & loss account.
You put a balance sheet. You make a capex, a capital
expenditure list, of what you need. The kitchen, the tables.
How much money are you going to create? Will you be able to pay back
the financing agencies, the banks? As you said.
-Yes. But the most important chapter
of the business plan is the entrepreneur itself. Because the entrepreneur
is someone with the motivation with the passion to start a company. We
say: You can make or break the company. So when there is confidence without
the outside capital from the bank or an informal investor
the owner, the entrepreneur is the only one
who makes it grow and sustainable. I confirm that. When we went to the bank,
they didn’t jump on the numbers. They didn’t jump on the stories.
They said: Who are you? How do you get on with each other?
How do you complement each other? Will you still be friends in five years’ time?
What a risk if it breaks up. Realistic question, yes.
That’s good to know as well. Banks want guarantees. How can you show that you are
a safe bet in the business plan? To have a good idea. To know what kind of niche
you want to act in. Because almost all branches
are really done here in Holland. So you must find something unique to cooperate or to work in. And you almost bring your own capital and that must be
your own bank account or savings but also you must look
if there is a possibility to do the bootstrapping
of your own company. Today: I’m also in risk,
not only the outside capital. But I want to invest
also for my own company and I’ll take some risk
to invest in the company. Do you agree with this Geert? Yes, I think entrepreneurs
like naturally they are optimistic. And banks are naturally looking
at the risk side of the business. And I think you should
meet each other in the middle. Because there is the financial plan
that is also helping the entrepreneur structure the business in the way
the business is going to run. The bank really wants to know:
you want this amount of money as a loan from me.
How are you going to use it? Are you going to use it for building, are you
going to use it for a car, for an oven? Are you going to use it
for the salary payments of your employees? And the more you can provide insights on how
exactly are you going to spend the money also the better overview you’ll have
as an entrepreneur yourself on the way your business will run. And maybe to add on
the risk side of the business the bank will ask for guarantees
on the loan. So they want collateral,
that can be a house that you or a house you have yourself or the
building that you bought as a business. And if, what nobody hopes, of course,
but it happens, the company goes bankrupt you can put that house or building
up as collateral for the loan that you initially got from the bank. Geert mentioned something very important.
He said: the entrepreneur is very optimistic,
the bank is more pessimistic. When I go to the bank,
I have both scenarios with me. I have a realistic positive scenario:
what could possibly go wrong? I also have a very down to earth scenario:
how much buffer is there? That’s the worst nightmare you mentioned?
-Yes, and when we see the business plan
with the financial plan we usually kept the cost
and the expenses the same but decrease the turnover
about for 50 per cent. And then we look,
is it useful to start a company and how was your return on investment?
Do you get the revenues and will you be able to pay the bank
back from the loan you rented? I much agree. Like the fixed costs
that you have, they remain the same. It’s always the same amount that you
spend on your building, on your staff on your income
and the interest to the bank. The turnover you’re making, that’s
where you actually make the profits. And usually when you sell some services your hourly rate will be
about 100 euros but you only work the half of the hours
you can work every year. So the rate must be very high
and must be really calculated to earn the money, yes, yes. To cover all the costs,
all those and insurances. Gerhard,
what was the most difficult part? Well, I hear that the numbers
are the most difficult part for people. As a finance guy, the numbers
are not the most difficult part for me. Easy for you?
-The most difficult part is: don’t underestimate the paperwork.
It is a lot of paperwork. It starts with the story
with the compassionate story commercial story, market research and
the numbers have to complement it. And be prepared
or get someone into the team to follow up on the paperwork on setting up, establishing your company,
the paperwork for the banks. And many other things before, in our case,
before we sell the first hamburger. There is a lot of red tape involved,
of course. Red tape? Can you explain that?
-Red tape, a lot of paperwork. Can you explain certain rules maybe
you had to think of with that paperwork? The business plan itself,
we talked about it I think has a very, nearly rigid structure and a minimum set of requirements
for the bank or anyone else who reads business plans
would look for. And the rest
is very specific to the business. In our case, setting up a restaurant
you’ve got permits. You’ve got to get a liquor license.
-Yes. You’ve got very clear rules
if you have a terrace. Where to put the chairs and what is
the space to be able to walk through? And that’s all got to go
in the request for that permit. And there is many more things to consider.
-Yes, lots of work. You applied for a banking loan. Did you
consider any other type of financing? Yes, we did.
As we discussed before the bank financing is the cheapest form. If you manage to convince the bank
you have a viable business plan it’s the best way in terms of cost. If you go to crowdfunding
or any of the other mentioned ones your cost will increase.
So I think the bank is your first stop for possible financing of your business. I just heard that there is another
viewer’s question. It’s for you, Gerhard. What should everybody know
when applying for finance? What should everybody know? That, well, it’s a rigid process that you have to follow. It’s a process
where you can get support online, as we’ve heard,
from many institutions. And it’s a story you have to develop together with your
commercial business partner. It’s a kind of you dance a tango. It’s a commercial number-tango,
they both have to support each other. One is not enough without the other.
-What’s your view on this, Geert? I mean, for me it’s do your homework.
So make sure you have the right plan. Another tip I’d like
to give to entrepreneurs is take the outside perspective. Would I invest in this business
if it was not my own business? And because as an entrepreneur, you are
in love with the company you’re founding or that you started and you’re growing,
but make sure that… Think like a bank or as an outside investor
and would you still put in your money that you’re asking somebody else?
-Put in your own money. As well.
-Angèle, what I’d like to know: Is a business plan obligatory? No, you’re not obliged
to make a business plan. But when you’re searching for a loan then
you’re obliged to make a business plan because the bank looks for all
the chapters within the company. So, yes, then it’s obliged, but it’s easy
to make a business plan for yourself. It’ll give you, you can look to
the purpose you make, the focus and it makes transparency for the company. And when it’s out of your mind
and it’s on paper it give you also a relax to start up the company.
-Yes, I can imagine that. It’s not static, it moves on with you. It’s a good process to go through,
writing your business plan. It makes you focus on all these aspects and you’ll probably find out things
that you would have forgotten maybe if you wouldn’t have gone
through this process. It gives you some structure as well.
-Exactly. Where can people find information
on writing their business plan? You can write on a beermat,
that’s also possible. It’s a bit small. But when it’s a very good idea
like a burger it combines with the beermat. There are also some templates. I think every Dutch bank has a template
for making a business plan. But there are also other organisations
like Qredits for microfinancing. They have also a template
to make a business plan. Do you have any tips? In this sense, like what I said:
Make sure you do your homework. Seek advice. So, if you’re insecure about
parts of your business plan if you’re not the best at marketing
or not the best at the financial plan make sure that you ask your bookkeeper
or an external financial planner, advisor to help you with it. Still make sure
that you understand it yourself because you’re the entrepreneur.
You have to run the business. So you have to understand your finances
and seek help from other entrepreneurs. Go to people in the same business
or a totally different business who basically went through
what you’re going through. And make sure
that you keep their advice in mind. Anything to add to that, Gerhard?
-Just before you go pitch it to the bank indeed, pitch it to other people.
You get feedback and you’ll be much more secure and
good in presenting to the bank then. It’s also possible to pitch at the Chamber
of Commerce. We don’t lend money but we want to help you
to go further with your company. Okay. For more information please have
a look on the website business.gov.nl. I’d like to thank all of you,
Angèle, Gerhard and Geert. Thank you for sharing
your expertise and experiences. You’re welcome. An essential part of your business plan is choosing a type of financing
suitable for your business. In the Netherlands there are many types of
financing, but which one do you choose? I’ll talk about this with René Kamphuis
from the Netherlands Enterprise Agency. Gertjan Tienkamp, account manager at the
crowdfunding platform Geldvoorelkaar. Roy Spit, director of Qredits and Claudio Gerardi, owner of Fietseria. Before we start our conversation,
let’s take a look at an overview first. Are you looking for ways
to finance your business? Consider the different possibilities
and combinations. If you only approach
one financing institution e.g. a bank then this party
is unlikely to lend you the entire amount. The bank namely wants you
to invest part of your own capital. Or find other investors e.g. family,
friends, an informal investor. An investment fund or crowdfunding.
By investing capital yourself you can convince the bank
to give you an additional loan. The government can also contribute
e.g. by guaranteeing financing or by bringing you into contact
with suitable financing parties. Combining multiple ways of financing
is called a financing mix. A financing mix will ensure
that you find the most suitable investor for different parts of the total investment. With the financing mix you can get
the capital needed to execute your plans. Welcome Claudio Gerardi.
-Hello. How did you find out
about the different types of financing? At the begin, I start to do some research
on the web. Then I ask some friends and other people
who are already running a business. And also I receive some info
from the Chamber of Commerce when I start up, when I register myself
in their company. Very good. And you’ve started
your own business, Fietseria. Here in the Netherlands. Why here? So, I work in the horeca field
since ten years and I discover different places in Italy
and in Europe, as well. I went in London
before to be in the Netherlands but I didn’t like the English lifestyle. On a suggestion of a friend,
I chose to come in Amsterdam. In 2015, and for me it was a nice surprise
to see that in the Netherlands the lifestyle is way better.
-Oh, yes? Than other countries that I already tried. So, for me was kind of also first love
if we can say like that. Let’s take a look at your company,
Fietseria, and the way you financed it. We have a video to take a look at. Nice.
-Nice, I’m curious. Fietseria is a new mobile catering concept and it works
for private catering and events. This new concept brings pizza
everywhere and for everybody. I’m Italian, I’m a pizza lover
and I know how real food taste like. I start in 2017 this new concept. I was looking to build up
an ecologic food truck. To build up a new catering service
and build up the Fietseria. When I start the project,
this special bike was still a prototype. So, was not on the market.
Luckily, I find it one day on the street and then I find the name of the company. The first steps was to calculate the cost
for the entire project. And with some money saved on my own
I start to buy some machinery. I calculate that I need an extra budget
for end up the structure. I wrote a business plan. I download
credit form of the business plan. And when I did the log-in, Qredits
gives to me all the necessary tools to build up a stable business plan,
to do a right research. After some researches, I figured out
that there were different ways on how to get my money.
One was the bank way. The other one was the crowdfunding
and then the micro-financial. The first step was to ask around to people who were already
running business, some tips. Due to the fact
that my budget was not that tight I choose for the micro-financial. Because was the easiest
and the fastest way to offer me money. I’m working as a freelance pizzaiolo and I’m developing catering service
and festivals. Moreover, I’m working to build up
a new structure for the Fietseria and try to make it a franchising. Roy Spit, your company Qredits
believed in the idea of Claudio. Why? Claudio really prepared himself.
He went to the Chamber of Commerce. He had a viable business plan,
he sent in the right documents. So, he had a location scan
of the Chamber of Commerce made. So, that was for us
the first main step to meet him. With all the documents, our loan advisor
made an appointment with Claudio. Then we thought:
this is the man who is baking pizzas. We saw it in the film
so no doubt about that. Claudio, are you already
making a living with the Fietseria? No, because Fietseria
is still an ongoing prototype. We’re on the last phases of the project
so in the meantime I’m working as a freelance pizzaiolo.
I’m doing some consultancy. What’s a pizzaiolo? It’s very Italian. Yes, pizzaiolo,
in Dutch you can say pizzabakker. So you’re doing this job together with
the pizzaiolo and the Fietseria together? Yes, let’s say that Fietseria
is a project to follow. And I’m almost done to put the structure
and product on the market. Ready for other people. But in the meantime, yes,
I’m working as a pizzaiolo. Very good.
-Like what I said. And I’m doing
some consultancy on the side. And when I get the opportunity to do
some catering or events, I’m also in. Thank you so much.
Roy, I was wondering. Your company is specialized in
microfinance. What is microfinance? Well, microfinance actually is the…
We started in 2009. As a microfinance company
and that means we are a foundation. As a foundation we help entrepreneurs,
starting and existing entrepreneurs with loans up to 250,000 euros. But microfinance is not only about loans,
it’s also about mentoring supplying the right tools.
For example, Claudio who used our template to write
a business plan, our e-Learnings. So microfinance is more than just a loan.
It’s all about mentoring, tools and credit. Okay, and what’s the main difference
between Qredits and a bank? The main difference
is that we are a foundation and for the banks who have shareholders
and we talk a lot about shareholders value but shareholders are important for a bank
so profit is very important for a bank. That makes it very hard for a bank
to make these small loans profitable. And for us, as a foundation,
that’s not our main target. Our main target is to help the entrepreneurs
and to be sustainable. I think that’s the main difference.
-Okay, and Claudio you chose microfinancing. Why did you think
this was the best way for you? I was looking
to get a small amount of money. Also take a look
into the crowdfunding process. But I thought that for a crowdfunding
process you need a bigger plan. And also the time for a crowdfunded
process is way longer than what a microfinancing process can be. So then, yes, I chose for Qredits. Because as I told you, it was the easiest
and fastest way for my money. You talked about crowdfunding. Gertjan,
you know everything about crowdfunding. And is a concept like Claudio’s Fietseria
interesting for crowdfunding? Yes, it is. We have to make
an appointment after the show. Why not?
-But yes, it sure is. What are the basics of crowdfunding?
-The basics are that you get small amounts of funding
by a large amount of people. So, for example, if you need 25,000 euros,
we can get 100 people who all do 250 euros
and then you get a large pot of money. And we can help entrepreneurs
get that capital. For what kind of companies
is crowdfunding an option? Well, it’s suitable
for all kinds of enterprises but the most of the projects we do
for small to medium-sized enterprises. It’s essential that the entrepreneur
has a good business plan. And a decent track record. At crowdfunding you have to convince
investors to invest in your proposition. So that’s a track record
and the business case has to be good. A lot of people think that crowdfunding
is just a donation form. Or for social projects.
-Is it not? It is, but you have multiple options. Because like 70 per cent of all
crowdfunding projects are socially-related. But 90 per cent of the money invested
in crowdfunding is for enterprises. I didn’t know that. If you want to know if
crowdfunding is suitable for your company you’re welcome to take the crowdfunding
scan at business.gov.nl/crowdfunding. So, Roy and Gertjan, how do people,
companies reach out to you? I think most of the smaller enterprises
just have a look on the internet. Like Claudio did. Google is your best
friend when you come to the Netherlands. And there you see multiple options,
so I think it’s a lot through the internet but we see a lot
of professionals helping start-ups like accountants, bookkeepers
or other professionals or consultants. And they also have a great view
of the alternative finance landscape. So, they can also help you but for the smaller amounts we see
a lot of people looking on the internet. How do you know if an idea is viable? That’s a good question. We think that we
have to meet Claudio to have a good idea. But as I said before, it starts with sending
in a viable business plan or the documents. Like Gertjan said: You know, you really
need documents to get an idea if it’s wise to visit the applicants. It starts with sending in and really
think through what you’re sending in. We see that 40 per cent of all the
applications are without any documents. So, then you can be a good entrepreneur,
but it doesn’t help you to make the first main step and to have
a visit from one of our loan officers. Gertjan, crowdfunding as a means
of financing is growing in stature. Do you have any idea
why this is happening? The crowdfunding market
really matured over the years. When we started with
Geldvoorelkaar in 2011 it was the first crowdfunding platform
in the Netherlands and it was all new for investors
and for entrepreneurs. And now it’s more known and when banks
offer low interest on savings investors want to look for other options.
Low accessible, easy accessible options. And that’s why investors
like to invest in entrepreneurs. And for the entrepreneur,
they look for capital. And we bring those two together.
-There are different types of crowdfunding. Which types are there exactly?
-I’ll define four. You have the donation-based model,
like I said earlier. Then there is no reward
for the investment you do. Then you have a reward-based model. That’s like you get a T-shirt
or a pen or a glass. But also like Kickstarter that you get
a product for the investment you make. Then there is equity-based. So for your
investment you get a share of the company. Or through a convertible loan.
And there is the loan-based model. And a loan-based model is, like it says: It’s a mini loan with which
you help the entrepreneur and you get repaid and interest for it. Which type is used most often?
-The last one. It’s really clear and simple. For
the investor, they know they get repaid. And they get return on their investment,
like interest. And the entrepreneur knows
for the duration of the loan I have to pay this amount every month,
on a monthly basis including interest. A combination of crowdfunding
and microfinancing is that common? It happens.
At the moment, we go live with a project
that is started with microfinance and it has matured over the years
and now it’s scaling up. And they come to us
and we do a crowdfunding campaign. I see you nodding Roy. Do you agree?
-Yes, it is possible but let us not make it too fancy. Because there is also
some difficulty in combining and that’s that we all
want to have some collateral. I think it’s very hard to combine
the same type of finance like crowdfunding, banks and Qredits
up to 250,000 euros. The smaller amount is harder
than bigger amounts to combine. We see a lot of combinations
with other types of alternatives like when you talk about leasing or factoring it’s easier to combine
different kinds of alternatives than the same kind of alternatives
because then it comes to collateral and we all want to have some collateral.
-What Roy says is totally true about the collateral,
but there are entrepreneurs who look for crowdfunding
because there is a second advantage. That’s the marketing aspect of it.
-Of course. Because every investor investing
is a promotor for your company. If I invest 1000 dollars in a bakery I’ll tell all my friends and family
to buy a bread at that place. So that’s the marketing
and publicity effect that a lot of entrepreneurs
like about crowdfunding. And it works.
-What kind of loans does Qredits offer? Actually, we have three types of loans.
It’s quite easy. We have micro loans,
it’s up to 50,000 euros. Then we have SME loans for the medium
enterprises up to 250,000 euros. And we have flexible loan. A
flexible loan is more for working capital. And it’s up to 25,000 euros. So these are the three types
of loans we have. How does that work exactly? To do an application or the type of loan?
-Yes. The type. We only have loans that you
repay within between one to ten years. We also do mortgages
and these are up to 20 years. So, if you want to buy a property
for your business that’s also possible. Then it’s up to 20 years. That’s also a branch very difficult
for banks at the moment. Properties for businesses. But most of our loans are about
repayment within four or five years. So, that’s the typical loan. I don’t
know what kind of loan you had? I have the microfinancing loan and I will pay back the entire amount
in three years. Three years?
-Most of the time we have a grace period. For start-ups it’s better to only pay
interest in the first five or six months. So you can build up…
-That’s the way I chose. Then you can build up your business,
get some cash flow and then you can pay it back
in three, four, five years but only up to ten years. The flexible loan,
then you don’t have a repayment. So, within 25,000 euros
you can repay and you can withdraw. So, it’s like, sort of a bank account.
-Exactly. Okay. And how do you apply?
Digitally or in person? We still get some post but 99% of all the applications
come through the internet. You get some post, actually?
-Yes, we do. Real paper.
-Real paper, yeah exactly. But most of them come through the internet.
It’s only three-four steps. The preparation, if you have the documents within five minutes you can do an
application. Also at Geldvoorelkaar. If you have the documents
it’s not so hard to apply. Is it the same for crowdfunding?
-We’re an online-based company. So, it goes through our website but we do discover possibilities by phone,
mail or in person with the entrepreneur. Or with an accountant or advisor
like Roy said earlier. First you apply online?
-Basically it’s online. When the financing proposal is ready
we publish it online and investors invest online. I would like to involve René again. Welcome back, René.
-Thank you. Can the government offer help?
Maybe, like, subsidize? Yes, of course. We have a lot of financial instruments
available for entrepreneurs. It’s not always like crowdfunding
or micro credits alone. But we offer a lot of instruments that fill
in the gaps in the financial landscape. That’s basically also the main goal
of the government. We also have a lot of subsidies in place to achieve some stimulation
in the economy on certain points. Very relevant at the moment
is energy saving and new energy projects. There are subsidies for these investments. What are the conditions
for getting a subsidy? They differ a lot,
because subsidies differ also in the goals that they have to meet. But in general you just
have to fill in forms for a subsidy that describes where you are
going to use the money for. And what the investment is going to be
where you apply the subsidy for. What are the chief misunderstandings
concerning subsidies? Well, the biggest mistake that people
have in their heads about subsidies is that they think that every financial
instrument of the government is a subsidy. It’s not?
-No, it’s not. And it’s even less than,
for instance, ten years ago. There are less and less
subsidies available. Instead, you will find instruments
like loans, like SME guarantees where we provide a guarantee
to a bank loan where there’s not enough
collateral for the bank. In that case we can provide the collateral
that the bank needs to provide the loan. But we also have equity programs
and proof-of-concept funding. We do a lot of different kinds
of instrumental projects. I want to get back to Gertjan and Roy.
What are the risks… or let me rephrase it,
the pitfalls for entrepreneurs? I come back to the subject of transparency.
That’s quite important, also in the plan. We see a lot of entrepreneurs, most of
them have only a best case scenario. That’s very good. They’re an
entrepreneur and apply for a loan because they think: I really have
this plan and it can only succeed. But reality is different.
Anything can happen: Illness, divorce. So, also think about what will happen
in a worst-case scenario. When turnover isn’t that good,
or whatever, you know. Just think about it and write
something about it in your plan. Do you have a partner with income? All the subjects are important for us
as a finance institute to know how your reaction is
when you get in trouble. For us that is very important to know
and write it down in your business plans. Most applications don’t have anything
in their plan about this so I would really recommend to do that. A good tip.
-Thanks. Did you think about the pitfalls
when you started your Fietseria? Yes, but luckily I have a really nice job. Really. Because a job as a pizzaiolo is well-paid. So in the case that my supposition
would go on a bad way I still got my job,
and I can pay back the loan. You discussed this with Qredits as well
when you asked for financing? Of course.
-You wrote it in your business plan. As well, yeah.
-You talked to the Chamber of Commerce. You had a location scan.
You did quite some preparation. I have to say that I received a lot of help from the phone assistant of Qredits
and the Chamber of Commerce. Really, they helped me out a lot
and I just… I just had one question and they filled my brain with a lot
of information. So, it was really helpful. There’s a question for you
to fill your brain with. What did you underestimate during
the process? It’s a viewer’s question. Yes, what I underestimate. I underestimate the fact
that a good plan can save you time. And in business time are money. So, I developed the project together with a job on side. So, supposed to be back
and restart again I will focus more on the planning
of the whole project. Well, we have another question for you
from the viewers. If you had to start the financing process
again, what would you do differently? First, an important point for me is to understand how to split the business
from your private life. This, for me,
was a big problem at the end. When you start, you…
For me, with anything new, so… all my focus was on my project. I understand that people
might be annoyed that I were talking about
my Fietseria always any time. And you can lose some friends.
-Ah, did you? Yeah, I did, but… It doesn’t matter. That means
this friend was not really important. Thank you so much, gentlemen,
for sharing your information with us. Summing up, there are
many possibilities to get funding depending on the kind of business you
have and the amount of money you need. You have to be able
to give detailed information and be able to pay back.
Thanks again. Be to the point, don’t arrive late
and look neat. These are some elements
of the perfect pitch. I’ll talk about how you can
present yourself to an investor with Gertjan Tienkamp of the
crowdfunding platform Geldvoorelkaar Roy Spit, director of Qredits and
Claudio Gerardi, owner of Fietseria. Claudio.
-Hi, hello. Hello. How did your presentation go?
Did it go well? For me, it was easy to get a line to follow. So: where do I have to put this,
I have to find the right info. And how did it go?
Where you relaxed or stressed? No, I was a bit stressed, but… At the end I was sure that the idea
got good walue, value, sorry. Okay, so that relaxed you a little bit?
-Yes, that was my calm point. How did you prepare exactly? I wrote down a business plan,
which was not big. Just three pages. I put in the business plan some numbers
about provision. I also included some picture of the bike
because at the time people couldn’t imagine how pizza bike look like. Then, also I added
something about my private life which was my income at the moment,
which job I was doing on the time. So that was very complete. What important tips did you receive from
the Chamber of Commerce and Qredits? I received a lot of important tips
from these two entities. The first one, and the most important,
was a right form of business plan. From the Chamber of Commerce
I received marketing research which was specific for my field. Moreover, I received tips on
how to deposit my trademark because that was my biggest problem: How to protect my idea,
as such a new idea. They helps me a lot. So, they direct me to another association,
which is the BOIP. They help me also on how to
edit the trademark deposit. Okay, and did you also get tips like,
did you have to be a BV or not? Yes, this was another important question
on the time. Because I was working as a ZZP’er. And I asked if for the Fietseria
I should make a BV. But, luckily, they suggested me
to continue on that way. Then if the Fietseria would get value then you can transform it in a BV. Yeah. And Roy, what does
a good presentation consist of? Well, let’s say we visit all our… Or most of our applicants. When it’s an existing business,
we visit them at their business. When they’re a start-up
we visit them at their home. So, it’s very important for us to visit
the applicant in their own environment. What we see, I wouldn’t recommend to
open the door in your sleeping outfit… Do people actually do that?
-People do that. So, clean up the house
and make a cup of tea or coffee. And add pictures like Claudio did. And let
us feel that you really want to do that. Not that you’re on social benefits
and you say: ‘There was nothing else I could do,
so let’s start up a business.’ We have to feel that you fit
the business that you want to have. So, that’s actually
the main advice I can give. Be yourself.
-That’s a good tip. Do you have anything to add to that? At crowdfunding the presentation is online
and you present to investors. So, an investor decides in five minutes
if they’re going to invest or not. The story has to be very clear and simple. If you have a very difficult
or complex product then make a video, add some pictures. In that way an investor can easily and
quickly decide whether they want to invest. Is it about the entrepreneur’s likeability?
-Yes, it’s very much about the likeability. Investors at crowdfunding are about profit and are about the returns on their investments
but also: is it a nice entrepreneur? What’s the background,
what’s the motivation behind it? And, eventually, do I have a good feeling
with the guy I’m going to invest in, or girl? And you get goodies as well,
right, when you… Yeah, we do advise to use incentives like a discount
or a part of the product you’re willing to offer to your investor. Netherlands Chamber of Commerce has
also lined up practical tips for pitching. Personalize your presentation,
every investor is different. Explain why you want to start your business.
What’s your passion? Stick to the essence of your story. Practice your pitch with friends or
acquaintances and/or in front of the mirror. Keep it short and simple. Gertjan, in what way does a digital
presentation differ from one in person? A digital presentation, you can’t discuss
or get a reply to your investors. So, the story has to be very clear,
very simple, like you just said. But also must not raise any questions. What makes your bike unique?
-What makes my bike unique? My bike is unique because it’s
the biggest bike on the market. The biggest pizza bike on the market. You can find bike
capable to bake 200 pizza. Only getting your bike, cycling around,
stop on the spot. Put up your structure
and then you can bake 200 pizzas. The structure is a tent as well?
-Yeah, it’s a handcraft tent. All the system,
I have built it on my own. Wow.
-The only help I got for the structure was from a welder and from my father.
-Very good. That sounds unique. Roy, when entrepreneurs
present their plans at Qredits which is most important? Is it the numbers,
the story or the entrepreneurs themselves? When we have the plan and we’ve read it,
we want to know who’s the entrepreneur. Who’s the man or woman behind the plan.
So, the entrepreneur comes first. We get curious because we want to know
who’s the man with a plan for a pizza bike. A fietseria.
That’s the most important thing. So, the story and to know the story
we have to meet Claudio. Or we make a video call,
that’s also very common. To speak people on a WhatsApp. And then the numbers. You talk about the
numbers, you talk about the financial plan. I really would recommend to also
put some effort in the financial plan. Because we see a lot of people
telling a lot about the story but they don’t have the skills
to write a financial plan. And how do you actually find out
who you can work with or not, Gertjan? Well, a good entrepreneur
knows what he’s talking about. He knows his market, he knows his
branch, his bike. He knows everything. It really comes with passion
and convincement in their story and their business plan. What if you’re not so good at pitching?
What then? At Geldvoorelkaar
we help the entrepreneur to get a good pitch for the investors. So, videos, pictures
and a really nice presentation. But I think it’s not a very difficult way to get some help
if you’re not really that good in it. Do you agree?
-Yes, it’s not the main thing. What we want to do, is to meet
Claudio in his own environment. If he’s a good pizza baker, and if he has
the right skills like hospitality to sell them. And pitching is… I think for crowdfunding
it’s more important than for us. But I think you also help people with
writing a pitch, that’s not a problem. Let’s be honest, for a bricklayer it’s not the most important thing
to have a good pitch. If you are a consultant, we look at how you
pitch yourself, but that’s another thing. Just a small part of the market,
it’s very important to have a good pitch. You give tips for that as well?
-Exactly. Do you want to know from entrepreneurs who
want to start a business in the Netherlands why they want to do it here? Yes, we will always ask them. We want to know why they’re here, do
they have relatives or family over here? What’s the reason they come over here? Because we also want to know, what’s
the risk that they go back with a loan? We ask these questions and we
want to have straight answers. Did you practice your presentation,
Claudio? And how did you do it? Yeah, I practiced my presentation but only on the numbers side
of my business plan. Because for the rest,
it was quite natural for me. Because I built up
from the first screw my bike. I’m a pizza lover. Pizza is something
in my blood. You can say it like that. So that part wasn’t difficult for you.
-No. What would have done if you hadn’t
succeeded? Did you have a plan B or C? Yes, my plan B was just
to go back to my old job. Start to do a pizza again,
and pay back my debts. That was my B plan. Sounds like a good plan B.
-It is. Thank you so much for being here and
sharing your expertise and experiences. You’re welcome. We’ve come to the end of this webinar.
Thank you for watching. For more information
please visit business.gov.nl.

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