Thousands of new jobs and more than €750 million in investments in the regional economy. These are the joint results from 2017 of five regional development companies (ROMs). They presented these figures Wednesday, May 16, to State Secretary Mona Keijzer of Economic Affairs and Climate. Last year, BOM, LIOF, OostNL, NOM and InnovationQuarter again made a significant contribution to strengthening innovation and competitiveness in their regions and in the Netherlands.
The ROMs were involved in almost half (48%) of Venture Capital investments in the Netherlands and 40% of growth capital funding in 2017. The ROMs also managed to attract as many as 130 foreign companies to the Netherlands, resulting in more than 4,000 new and retained jobs. Together, they realized more than 350 innovation projects with more than 1,000 entrepreneurs. This made the ROMs rightfully the growth engine of the regional economy in 2017 as well.
ROMs account for half Venture Capital investments
Regional development companies play a leading role in investing in fast-growing innovative companies. Last year, the ROMs invested € 46.9 mln from their own funds in 96 startups, scale-ups and innovative SMEs. From their other funds under management, they also provided funding to more than 70 companies. Most of these were early-stage funding for still young companies.
Over the period 2012-2016, as many as 56% of companies that managed to raise Venture Capital (venture capital) received their investment in part from a ROM. In 2017, this was nearly half (48%) of the companies. Whereas Venture Capital investments show a slight decrease compared to the multi-year average, growth capital investments actually show a strong increase. Over the period 2012-2016, ROMs' stake was 27%, while in 2017 40% of companies raised their growth capital partly through a ROM. The ROMs have a total of more than €1 billion in investment funds under management, making them by far the most active investors in the Netherlands.
More foreign companies lead to job growth and new investment
Last year, the ROMs managed to attract as many as 130 foreign companies to the Netherlands or allow them to expand here. In some cases, this also involved retaining foreign companies that intended to close or relocate their Dutch branch. To this end, the ROMs are working intensively with the NFIA (Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency) in the "Invest in Holland" network. The foreign companies attracted expect to invest as much as €589 million in the Netherlands over the next three years and create 4,258 jobs.
Driver of innovation and development for SMEs
Helping innovative SMEs with their innovations is one of the ROMs' core activities. Last year, the ROMs worked jointly with more than 1,000 innovative SMEs on 354 innovation projects with a financial volume of €136 million.
In addition to individual support, this mainly involves forming consortia of companies to jointly work on innovative solutions in areas such as health, sustainability and safety. The ROMs also work to realize open innovation facilities, such as Smart Industry Fieldlabs. In this way, the ROMs are strengthening dynamic ecosystems in their regions and increasing their economic and societal impact.
About the regional development corporations
Five full-fledged regional development companies operate in the Netherlands. The NOM for the three northern provinces, OostNL for Overijssel and Gelderland, the LIOF for Limburg, the BOM for Brabant and InnovationQuarter for South Holland. They are organized under private law and have the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate and their provinces as shareholders and financiers, with some ROMs also having regions, cities and universities as shareholders.
The ROMs are active as investors in companies through their own funds and funds under management, are responsible for attracting foreign companies to their region, encourage innovation among SMEs, and strengthen the ecosystem in their region by driving partnerships between entrepreneurs, knowledge institutions, and governments. Most ROMs are now also active in internationalization and trade promotion.
It is precisely the combination of these tasks that makes the ROMs more than a connector and booster, more than an acquisition organization and more than an investor. The ROMs employed 315 FTEs at the end of 2017.