economy northern Netherlands
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Entrepreneurship in turbulent times

The year 2021 was still dominated by the corona crisis and recovery for many companies. Today, the war in Ukraine also plays a role. For many an entrepreneur, this brings uncertainty. This makes the three global transitions more sustainable, healthier and smarter more important than ever. The Northern Netherlands can make an important contribution to these transitions. European funds and the National Growth Fund are being used to this end and are driving investments, to which innovative SMEs are responding. NOM can also help companies with subordinated loans and equity capital. The historically high return achieved by NOM in 2021 is timely and contributes to the future earning capacity of the Northern Netherlands.


NOM is a driver of innovation and development. The goal is to form ecosystems around important tasks in the North. One of these is Chemport Europe. Since its inception in 2017, the ecosystem for green chemistry has grown into the place where raw materials are made into end products, and where used materials are reused as raw materials. In Delfzijl and Emmen, a lot is being invested in this and more and more companies want to participate. The Fascinating (Food Agro Sustainable Circular Nature Technology) program set up in 2021 also focuses on circularity by working on the agricultural system of the future. Several parties from the food and agri sector are involved.

The manufacturing industry must also change to remain future-proof.The importance of the transition to so-called industry 4.0 is great in the context of dwindling resources, a growing struggle for talent, climate problems and the drawbacks of global supply chains. Industry 4.0 focuses on so-called smart factories. Machines are linked and read out so that a good insight can be gained into what is actually happening in the factory. As a result, processes can be optimized faster. The North has the right building blocks to be among the frontrunners of a digitized Europe. This comes together in the Smart Industry Hub (SIH) in which more than 400 companies are now working together. Meanwhile, the new phase is also already presenting itself with the European Digital Innovation Hub, the EDIH. This broadens the scope from Smart Factory (smart manufacturing) to digitization in other important transition areas, such assmart agroandsmart utilities.


Within digitization in industry, artificial intelligence (AI) is playing an increasing role. In 2019, the Dutch AI Coalition was launched from the national ambition to permanently establish the Netherlands in the leading group of players around AI. The AI Hub North Netherlands emerged from this in late 2020. This is an ecosystem in which networking, collaboration and 'learning by doing' are core concepts. More and more companies know how to find the AI Hub and now 200 companies have agreed to participate in the AI Hub.

Gertjan Lankhorst, Chairman of the Supervisory Board: "Thanks to the fund strengthening and a couple of successful sales, NOM has the capabilities to make a difference for the Northern Netherlands in these turbulent times. NOM is ready and seizes the opportunities and challenges in this situation with both hands! "


2021 was a successful year for acquisition activities. Although the corona pandemic continued to affect the ability to introduce companies to the full scope of the Northern Netherlands, 5 successful acquisition projects were realized. One of these involved the American company Shine Medical. For them, the choice fell on Northern Netherlands. The proximity of highways to Germany, the presence of Groningen Airport Eelde and the University of Groningen, the knowledge at the UMCG in areas such as radiochemistry and nuclear medicine, and a thriving biotech and pharmaceutical cluster in the area were reasons for choosing Veendam.

Thanks to the acquisition projects, €253.2 million was invested in the Northern Netherlands in 2021 and 360 new jobs were realized.

Exports and international growth also fall under internationalization activities. Through Trade Relations, company visits are made to provide targeted advice on export opportunities to various countries.


From the NOM funds, 24 investments were made in companies in different sectors in 2021, with an investment level of €6.4 million. As of the end of 2021, the NOM portfolio consists of 72 companies.

NOM's income consists of interest, dividends and the sale of NOM's interest in portfolio companies. The portfolio companies are characterized by a high risk profile and unpredictability. NOM is also involved in portfolio companies for a longer period, on average about seven years. The financial result is strongly influenced by the sale of participations.

The 2021 fiscal year ended with a profit of 40.1 million euros, thanks mainly to the sale of 2 portfolio companies.

Recovery after corona crisis

In 2020, NOM, together with the other ROMs, Techleap and the Ministry of Economic Affairs, set up and implemented the Corona Bridge Loan (COL). Entrepreneurs could apply for this until September 30, 2021. Throughout 2021, 18 applications were approved with a total value of €3.2 million.

As part of the package of emergency measures drawn up in 2020, the Cabinet announced at the end of 2021 to make an additional €150 million available to strengthen the fund assets of the ROMs. The provincial shareholders were asked to match this amount. From this, a total of € 23.4 million has been allocated to NOM. These recovery funds are intended to enable companies to grow faster after the corona crisis. Starting in 2022, this can be used, for example, to provide additional bridging credit to companies still hard hit by the pandemic.

Dina Boonstra, director NOM: "These are tough times for entrepreneurs. The pandemic, problems in the supply chain, high energy costs. Just a few of the challenges entrepreneurs are facing. We try to support them as best we can. By financial means, by using our network and by sharing our expertise."

Catawiki sale creates historically high returns

Catawiki showed that it is possible: starting with just an innovative idea and then becoming a world player. NOM supports companies in the development leaps they want to make. That worked out well for Catawiki. Thanks to the sale, a historically high return was achieved. This in turn will help many innovative startups and scale-ups in the Northern Netherlands.

This historically unprecedented financial return must be seen in multi-year perspective. NOM often invests in young companies that want to bring an innovative, new product to the market.With money, an active advisory and sparring role and the network, a company is helped to move forward. Once added value is created together and a strategic party, a market investor or a co-shareholder wants to take over the NOM share, this can be a natural moment for NOM to exit. Successful exits are therefore a result of efforts over a longer period.


Connection is the key word for a more sustainable, healthier and smarter (Northern) Netherlands. Especially in light of current global developments. Connection stands for cooperation and making progress together, wherever that may be, in these global transitions. Connection also applies to the internal organization. Much attention is being paid to connecting colleagues in a hybrid work environment. This requires new skills from all employees. Connection also applies literally; connection through infrastructure resulting in better accessibility. The Lelyline is high on NOM's wish list. And finally, NOM's right to exist, connection with entrepreneurs as a key word towards their growth expressed in NOM's vision: Making businesses grow.Groeien begint hier

NOM 50years!
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