Netherlands continued to innovate in 2020 thanks to Regional Development Companies

€400 million in capital grants to over 1,050 companies, 683 innovation projects worth €177 million and 157 international companies with 5,374 jobs and €1.1 billion in triggered investments. The joint Regional Development Companies (ROMs) meant a lot to the innovative business community of the Netherlands in 2020.

Regional funds were involved in 64% of all companies that raised Venture Capital last year, making them by far the most active investors in the Netherlands. But beyond their core activities (Innovate, Invest, Internationalize), the ROMs also rigged the Corona-OverbruggingsLening (COL) within weeks; in doing so, they helped 802 innovative Dutch companies through the crisis that otherwise would probably have gone under. As regional networks, the development companies are the eyes and ears of entrepreneurial Holland. And made an important contribution to preserving and strengthening important innovative sectors in the Netherlands in a difficult year.

Organic compost to restore soil and plant resilience (Freesoil from Limburg), a technology that will make the promising quantum computing scalable (Qblox from Delft), a robot assistant for eye surgeons (Preceyes from Eindhoven) and a robot that picks leaves and fruit from cucumber and tomato plants (SAIA Agrobotics from Wageningen). A small sample of the companies helped by the regional development companies in the past year.

ROMs offer unique infrastructure to drive innovation

The joint annual results of the regional development companies were presented to Focco Vijselaar, DG Business and Innovation at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate: "The ROMs are right at the heart of innovative and renewing the Netherlands. Now that the network has almost national coverage, the ROMs have become a full-fledged, mature player in the ecosystem. A player we desperately need to keep the Netherlands competitive and to develop earning capacity. And to ensure that public interests are achieved at the same time. I have every confidence in a bright future with and from the ROMs."

"Cooperation between the ROMs was already strong, but in the past year we have found each other more than ever," says Rinke Zonneveld, director of InnovationQuarter and chairman of ROM-Nederland. "In just one month we set up the processes and systems to implement the Corona-OverbruggeningsLening (COL) for the Ministry of EZK. But we also worked together when reprocessing proposals for the National Growth Fund. After all, it is our innovative ecosystems with which the Netherlands earns a large part of its prosperity, inventing solutions for the whole world. From innovative greenhouses to corona vaccines, from microchips to sustainable aviation."

Results 2020: €1.1 billion investment in the regional economy


Perhaps the most important task of the ROMs is development power: the generation and realization of innovation projects, business cases and innovation programs with innovative SMEs. Last year this involved 683 innovation projects with several thousand companies expected, in the areas of energy transition, food transition, resource transition, healthy aging, security and key technologies such as quantum, hydrogen and AI. The innovation projects have a financial volume of €177 million. From their development role, the ROMs are also closely involved in most Growth Fund applications.


The eight regional development companies invested in 256 innovative companies with an investment volume of over €137 million in 2020. With this, the ROMs were involved in 64% percent of the companies that managed to attract venture capital last year. This makes them by far the most active investors in the Netherlands. In addition, the ROMs provided € 254.4 million in Corona Bridge Loans to more than 800 companies.


Because of Corona, the total number of companies decreased, but the share of ROMs in the total increased. Last year, the development companies accounted for 50% of all international companies settling in the Netherlands (37% two years ago). Last year, the ROMs attracted 157 international companies to the Netherlands. Those companies will invest €1.1 billion in the regional economy over the next 3 years and create more than 5,300 jobs. Together with the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA) and several urban acquisition organizations, the ROMs are responsible for attracting international companies to the Netherlands.

Nationwide coverage this year with establishment of ROM MRA/North Holland

In this way, the BOM, LIOF, Oost NL, InnovationQuarter, NOM, Impuls Zeeland, Horizon Flevoland and ROM Regio Utrecht have made significant contributions over the past year to strengthening innovation and competitiveness in their regions and in the Netherlands. This year, in addition, the ROM MRA/North Holland will be established, giving the regional development companies full national coverage.

Watch this video for the presentation of the annual figures from Rinke Zonneveld to Focco Vijselaar.

ROM annual results 2020 at a glance