You wouldn't immediately tell, but the letters GROEI in the name GROEIfund are secretly also an abbreviation: GROninger Economic Investment Fund. Established in 2016. With the goal: to give Groningen an economic boost, with primary focus on the northern part of Groningen.
What kind of companies can turn to the fund for support in the form of venture capital? The two investment managers Emma Schakel and Gijs Vermeer have an answer to that: "We don't exclude any sector. Basically anyone with growth plans, driving either innovation, sustainable or social returns, everything from energy transition to a restaurant with opportunities to expand, as long as it's about meaningfully increasing economic activity.'
'In short: the SMEs in North Groningen, but then really very broadly. We focus less on the international giants at Eemshaven and more on the regional SMEs. The most important thing is that you can always find us and approach us, gladly even. If it doesn't fit, we may be able to refer you to another financier, or to another entrepreneur in our hefty network who can suddenly give wings to your naughty plans.
Good to know: the Groninger GROEIfonds never works solo as a financier. There must always be the added value of additional funding. Finding a co-financier is even a hard requirement. 'The power of leverage' is what we call it. With our network, we may also be able to help you find a suitable cofinancier.'
'The great thing is that our interest in a product or idea also attracts other financiers. We then also win them over!' Gijs and Emma agree on many things. They are both enthusiastic, energetic, curious, busy talkers who are also good listeners. Determined to find opportunities to really help companies move forward. Plenty of similarities, then, between the two permanent faces of Groningen's GROEIfonds.
Find the differences!
'I have been working on projects at NOM for 6 years, mainly in a back-office role: contracts, agreements, that sort of thing. I was involved in the start of the Groninger GROEIfonds from the very beginning and it still feels a bit like 'my' fund. I advanced to the position of loan specialist, i.e. remote manager. Now I'm back as an investment manager; that way I can mean even more to the entrepreneur. I love the fact that I get to visit companies a lot now.
My journey to the far north went like this: grew up in the Betuwe, studied business administration at the Hogeschool Arnhem-Nijmegen, lived in the Veluwe. It's almost impossible to be more northerly than now. Now that I mention it: my family has a primitive little house in northern Sweden. I love to go there. Go for a walk, be outside, light a fire, read a book, go to bed early. In winter you can only get there by snowmobile, in summer by boat. Very relaxed. And then in time back to the hustle and bustle here.'
'Emma and I complement each other perfectly, that's the beauty of it. I am a born northerner, I explore the region in my spare time on my racing bike, among other things. Emma has been familiar for some time at NOM with the subject of risk-bearing loans for SMEs; I worked in banking for a long time before that. Of course also with funding and an extensive network full of entrepreneurs, but under different conditions. We don't say here for nothing 'the Groninger GROEIfonds dares more!' That network has remained, it's not going away.
I have not been working for the Groninger GROEIfonds for long; I am already very impressed with all the substantive knowledge present in the NOM house. Within all kinds of sectors: such as chemistry, energy and agri & food, there is always a colleague who can tell you something about it. I may not be as adventurous as Emma with her sleepovers in Sweden, but I did make a year-long trip around the world when I was 29. Quit my job at the bank and suddenly your whole life fits into a backpack. That's all you need. Very educational. I studied commercial economics at the Hanzehogeschool - and I strongly feel that I'm in a very good place now.'
In this white paper you will learn:
- What you have to deal with when you start working with investors
- Differences and similarities between bank funding, subordinated loan and equity capital
- In what ways NOM as an investor can help you
Please note that this whitepaper is only available in Dutch at the moment. We are in the process of translating this whitepaper.