Moving fast and taking action together: that is what the Frisian Development Company (FOM), Ynbusiness and the province of Fryslân did last summer, when they noticed that the impact of corona had created a gap in the funding world. Thanks to the joint initiative Entrepreneur Impulse Fryslân, Frisian entrepreneurs who would otherwise fall between the cracks can still continue to invest.
'These are emphatically companies that have a good idea of how to emerge stronger from the crisis,' says investment manager Diederik Jongema of the FOM, who evaluates the applications. 'This bridging loan is not there to sit out the corona crisis, but to continue to actively work on healthy business. The money is used as working capital, to make necessary investments or to adapt the business model to a more resistant future. With this initiative, we are literally giving a boost to companies that were healthy but have been hit hard by the corona crisis, while they still have all the potential to bounce back later.'
Vigorous rebounding succeeds the companies Diederik refers to only if their acute funding needs are resolved. 'Among the Frisian micro and small businesses are several sectors that fall outside the criteria of specific corona schemes and the existing funding possibilities. This is especially true for small business services, recreation and hospitality, and precisely these companies are important drivers of the regional economy in Friesland. That is why we have jumped into that gap with an emergency instrument: an affordable bridging loan for entrepreneurs who want to move forward. Sober Frisians are quite reluctant when it comes to funding, but Ondernemersimpuls Fryslân attracts companies that see light at the end of the corona tunnel and are fully committed to it.
One such company is Che Chil, a young food company in Leeuwarden that processes cheese from partner Friesland Campina into surprising smoked cheese sticks. The product caught on well in the hospitality industry, until corona struck and put an acute brake on the company's growth. 'The inspired entrepreneur behind this concept was already planning to focus directly on the consumer market after its introduction via the catering industry,' Diederik explains. 'Now it is dire necessity to fully commit to retail and online sales in the short term. With the bridging loan from Ondernemersimpuls, Che Chil can make the investments needed to make that happen, so that the company is no longer dependent on the catering industry and also has a firmer basis in the market after the crisis.'
Ondernemersimpuls Fryslân is also there for affected entrepreneurs who identify new market needs due to the effects of corona and want to respond to them. Take Barrelcamp from De Wilgen. This start-up was just about to deliver the first of a series of tiny houses in the spring of 2020, when all options expired due to corona. The engineers decided to change course immediately and came up with sanitary units for campgrounds, as there was a growing demand there. Barrelcamp also saw opportunities to apply its knowledge and expertise to home office units and shelters for day recreation. To make production possible, they knocked on FOM's door for a bridge loan. 'It was clear that they had to invest in order to continue,' says Diederik. 'Then you are happy to be able to be significant with appropriate funding.'
Barrelcamp, Che Chil and the other companies that have so far been eligible for a loan from Ondernemersimpuls Fryslân all met the set criteria: before corona they were financially healthy, they have been hit by the crisis, have demonstrable potential to become healthy again, and they did not qualify for conventional funding or schemes in the current situation. 'We review applications within two weeks, because in these times it is essential that entrepreneurs can move on quickly,' the investment manager emphasizes. 'That same efficiency and decisive action was necessary when we as FOM, Ynbusiness and the province of Fryslân signaled last year that companies were in danger of falling between the cracks. Even before the summer, we saw the need and, thanks to great commitment from all involved, we were able to start Entrepreneur Impulse at the end of August.'
The scheme - see box - initially had a duration until December 31, 2020, but was recently extended until the end of this year. Diederik: "The crisis and uncertainty continue. In order to focus on the opportunities that do exist, it is important that micro and small businesses continue to have access to financial resources. The scheme remains expressly intended for companies with ideas, guts and serious opportunities to stay in business and emerge stronger from the crisis. How long and how much impact corona will have remains to be seen. We do not expect to be able to say anything meaningful about this year until after the summer, but in the meantime we will continue to talk to entrepreneurs who show that they are able to turn the blows of the crisis around positively with this bridging loan. So that their own business can stay afloat and thereby also contribute to the resilience of the region.
Entrepreneurial impulse Fryslân
Ondernemersimpuls Fryslân provides loans of €50,000 to €250,000 to enterprises in the Frisian micro and small business sector. It is an emergency instrument intended for all for-profit companies that have an acute funding problem due to the corona crisis and do not qualify for mainstream funding or corona schemes. The scheme includes 2 million euros and was recently extended until the end of 2021, so Entrepreneur Impulse Fryslân can also help entrepreneurs emerge stronger from the crisis this year. You can apply at www.ondernemersimpuls.frl.
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.