Most independent entrepreneurs are now aware that innovation is an important theme in just about every sector. However, it is mainly the large enterprises that are innovating fully and many SMEs are lagging behind. This is not because of a lack of motivation or because it is not considered important; most entrepreneurs are eager to innovate and understand the importance of it. Often the barriers are of a financial nature or are caused by a lack of knowledge. To ease these obstacles, entrepreneurs in the northern provinces of the Netherlands are offered numerous attractive subsidies North Netherlands Partnership (SNN). An important one is the VIA subsidy, which is specially intended for financing projects in the field of organizational innovation.
What exactly is the VIA subsidy?
The VIA subsidy is especially for SMEs from the provinces of Drenthe, Groningen and Friesland and is intended to finance projects around the design and implementation of a new way of organizing, a new revenue model or a collaboration with other parties. The subsidy therefore gives entrepreneurs the opportunity to, for example, hire a specialist when setting up a new organizational model or a new online marketing strategy.
As an independent entrepreneur you are often very good at your own profession, and you do the marketing of your products and services as well and as bad as it goes. The VIA subsidy gives entrepreneurs the space to tackle these ancillary activities in a professional manner, and thus to put innovation high on the SME agenda. This helps entrepreneurs to get the most out of their company, now and in the future. After all, strategic innovation prepares your company for the future.
To be eligible for the VIA subsidy, you must of course first be located in one of three northern provinces. It does not matter in which sector you work, as long as it concerns a company from the SME segment. The subsidy is intended for projects in the field of organizational innovation. When the application is submitted, it is of course necessary to substantiate why the subsidy is applicable to the project in question. No later than thirteen weeks (one quarter) after submitting the application, it will be announced whether or not the subsidy has been awarded. The project may have already started, although there is of course the risk that the subsidy will not be awarded, while the project is already running and costs have therefore been incurred.
What conditions do you have to take into account in order to maximize the chance of a successful subsidy application?
Conditions VIA subsidy
Because the subsidy is available for all branches and markets, there is no easy to tick off checklist with which you can quickly check whether your project is eligible for financing via the VIA subsidy. In all cases: the project plans must substantiate that the project responds to current developments in the market and / or relevant external circumstances.
It is also very important that you do not incur any costs or make payment obligations before you leave the subsidy application. If you do this, there is a good chance that the entire project will no longer be eligible for subsidy. The subsidy is intended to persuade entrepreneurs to start working on innovation, not to finance projects that have already started. If the application has been sent out, but you have not yet received a definite answer about the award, you can already start the project. You can only enter into payment obligations from this moment.
A third important condition is that, once the grant has been awarded, you must complete your project within a maximum of eighteen months. Completing means: completing the work described in your project plan. You may therefore not only carry out half a project with the full subsidy.
This subsidy fund will fund a maximum of fifty percent of your total project costs and will amount to a maximum of € 12,500. For projects that cost more than € 25,000, you will therefore never receive more than € 12,500 in subsidy.
There are many more, smaller conditions, all of which are automatically addressed during the application process. What is still good to take into account is that an advisor (or consultancy) that you hire to develop and implement your innovation plan must be independent. Keep that in mind when looking for a suitable match.
When is this grant suitable for me?
'Innovating your organization' can sound rather heavy. How do you know as an entrepreneur whether it is smart to get started with innovation, supported by this subsidy? What does innovation look like for the car garage, upholsterer or locksmith?
Let one principle be clear: in every industry innovation vital, even if you only sell or deliver (offline) products. For many smaller entrepreneurs, the most innovation gains can be made through online marketing. Because the vast majority of customer journeys today start via online channels, it is important for every company to have a good online presence and to have developed a solid strategy for it.
The subsidy is therefore in principle suitable for any entrepreneur who has the idea of gaining more profit if the quality of his online marketing would improve (drastically), but does not know well. how. The subsidy then gives the space to hire the necessary specialist (s) to arrive at such a solid marketing strategy.
A second group of entrepreneurs for whom the subsidy is interesting is the group that actually knows exactly what needs to be done, but simply lacks the financial means to execute it. In that case, the subsidy is not interesting to develop a strategy - after all, it already exists - but to realize it correctly and to be able to employ the right specialists.
Online marketing specialists
Various parties are available in the northern regions of the Netherlands for the development and implementation of a new online marketing strategy. These parties can often also help with the elaboration, completion and submission of a subsidy application. Very handy, because you want to make such an application right the first time. This is especially true if you plan to enter into payment obligations (or incur costs) before the final commitment of the grant is received.
Fueld is such a party. The website of Fueld displays the services and knowledge in the field of online marketing. On this page about the VIA subsidy you will get various insights into all the possibilities that this VIA variant of SNN offers for organizations that want to improve their competitive position via online marketing.