1. Investigate subsidy opportunities
The Dutch government and the European Union offer many subsidies for companies. Especially if your products or services address topics they find important. Such as sustainability, innovation, or international cooperation. There are different types of subsidies and schemes.
2. Write your subsidy application
Most subsidy schemes have special application documents. You can download these from the website of the organisation that regulates the subsidy. Sometimes you need an eHerkenning tool to do this. This is a secure way to log on to the government organisation’s platform.
In your application, clearly describe your project plan. Do this enthusiastically. You need to convince the government of your idea and the intended result. Basically, you need to sell your project. But do not oversell it or include any lies. Because you must be able to explain and justify everything from your project plan.
3. You get a confirmation of your application
After the government organisation has received your application, you will usually get a confirmation of receipt. This will state the period (deadline) in which you will get a response to your application.
4. You get a decision or question letter
The government organisation reviews your application. This results in a decision (beschikking) — positive or negative— or a question letter. What this means is explained below.
This means that the government wants to spend money on (invest in) your plan(s). The decision tells you, for example, how much money you can spend, and when you can spend it. But also how to record the costs. The decision also tells you how you will receive the amount. For some schemes, you can request an advance. You will then get part of the money in advance.
Will you not get the money until after your project? Then you will usually receive a grant decision. With this, you can prove that you will receive a subsidy. This may be necessary to get a loan from a bank.
The government states that your project does not (sufficiently) meet the conditions for the scheme. But it can also happen that there is no more money left for the scheme. You can object to the rejection. The decision tells you how and by what date you must do so. Only object when you are sure you can convince the government this time, so you do not unnecessarily waste your efforts.
The government organisation may need more information to evaluate your application. In a question letter they will ask you to provide additional information or explanations for your project. Be careful to keep to the deadline mentioned in the question letter. If you respond too late, you will not be given an additional opportunity.
5. Keep project records
Because you receive money from the government, they want to know what you do with that money. You are required to record all activities and expenditures in clear project records. Often there are guidelines you must meet. Comply with these guidelines, because they will check during your project. Keep all your records even before you start the project. This will prevent unnecessary searching.
6. You make a final declaration
Do you receive the subsidy after your project? Then the government organisation will determine the exact amount by means of the final declaration. In this declaration, you make an overview of all costs, including the supporting documents. For example, invoices and bank statements. You can only make a final declaration if your administration is in order.
7. You get the determination decision
This states the final subsidy amount you will receive. The government organisation bases this amount on your final declaration. Did you receive money during your project? And is that amount higher than your final statement? Then you must pay back the remaining amount. Before the determination decision is sent, the government organisation may pay you a monitor visit. They will then check your project records. Sometimes they will ask some critical questions about the course of the project. Be prepared for this.
Please note: Even after the determination decision, your project administration and final declaration may be checked.