An entrepreneurial fund is a municipal facility. Participating businesses pay a surcharge on their property tax (onroerende zaakbelasting, OZB). This surcharge functions as collective capital. It enables businesses to finance collective initiatives, projects, and investments in their own surroundings. The municipality ensures that the money is spent on collective projects. One advantage of the entrepreneurial fund is that a project can receive long-term financing from the contributions of the entrepreneurs themselves. Check with your municipality if it runs an entrepreneurial fund.
- Bedrijven- en winkelpark De Zwette in Leeuwarden is an example of financing by an entrepreneurial fund (in Dutch).
- Stichting Clok: offers more information (in Dutch) on entrepreneurial funds.
Businesses Investment Zone (BIZ)
A BIZ is a delimited area, like a shopping street or business park, in which the businesses jointly invest in the quality of their surroundings. The businesses in the BIZ draw up a BIZ plan together. The municipality assesses the plan and levies a charge, which it then returns to the BIZ as subsidy money. All businesses help to pay into the plan. The BIZ’ activities are complementary to the municipal efforts, often focusing on maintenance, safety, and cleanliness. A BIZ can also decide to tackle sustainability issues. The participating businesses pay a compulsory fee, just as in an Entrepreneurial Fund. The agreements last for a 5-year period, which calls for extra focus on the collaboration’s continuity. The money the businesses raise may only be used for activities included in the BIZ plan.
- Check the (Dutch language) article Bedrijven Investeringszone (BIZ) for more information.
- Bedrijventerrein Schiebroek in Rotterdam is a BIZ on its way to an energy-positive estate.
Businesses on an industrial estate often unite in a business association. The association enables them to set up sustainability-enhancing initiatives together. A company can propose an idea or initiative to the association. The municipality or province may finance the plans to increase sustainability. The association may also join existing initiatives, such as Bepositief (BE+). Is your business association working on sustainability? Ask your municipality or province about financing, or other support options.
- Read more about the Stichting CLOK and Bepositief (BE+) approach (in Dutch).
- Bedrijventerrein Hoon80 in Hoorn is a BE+ pilot project, aiming for an energy positive, carbon-neutral business park.
- Bedrijvenpark De Wildeman in Zaltbommel: here, several associations decided to set up a cooperative (in Dutch).
- Industriepark Kleefse Waard in Arnhem uses sustainable principles to build a business park.
External funding through subsidies
In some cases, a subsidy scheme can trigger industrial estates to get to work with sustainable goals. Businesses and business parks can use the financing offered by municipalities, provinces, or other organisations.
The Association Breda Energie was set up by the city of Breda and other parties to save and generate energy (in Dutch).
Broad municipal or provincial initiative
Some municipalities or provinces set an (extra) ambitious agenda for sustainability. They offer businesses and business parks the opportunity to participate in realising that ambition. The more businesses participate, the greater its effectivity. Check with your municipality or province what initiatives are being carried out.
Groningen Werkt Slim (in Dutch) is an example of an initiative that combines the efforts of business associations, municipalities, and the province of Groningen to reach carbon neutral status by 2035.
The Dutch government offers several subsidies and tax schemes to stimualte businesses that want to make their business more sustainable.
- Energy Investment Allowance (EIA): allows a business to deduct part of the investments in energy-saving measures from their profit in the tax return, under conditions.
- Sustainable energy investment subsidy scheme (ISDE): subsidy for concrete applications. Both private individuals and businesses can apply, based on a list of devices and energy-saving measures.
- Sustainable energy transition subsidy scheme (SDE++): subsidy for the generation of sustainable energy, paid out per generated kWh. SDE++ is particularly interesting for the use of solar panels. However, there are conditions attached to the number of solar panels.
- Environmental investment allowance (MIA) and Random depreciation of environmental investments (Vamil) schemes: MIA allows businesses to deduct up to 36% of their investment from their profit for tax. Vamil allows businesses to depreciate the investments made at a moment of their choice, creating a tax benefit.
- Subsidy Demonstration Energy Innovation (DEI+): for innovative pilot projects to reduce energy consumption or CO2 emissions, and for investments in renewable energy sources and/or the circular economy.
- Subsidies energy innovation Top sector Energy (TSE): subsidies for businesses, scientists, and knowledge institutions to research the feasibility of future sustainability projects.
- R&D tax credit (WBSO): fiscal innovation scheme for businesses that conduct research and development projects and want to lower their R&D costs.
- Stichting CLOK (in Dutch): aims to reinforce the local and regional economy. Connects municipalities and partner organisations on business parks. CLOK offers support to businesses setting up an entrepreneurial fund or a BIZ. CLOK is also a signatory of the Convenant Duurzame Bedrijventerreinen (Sustainable Business Parks Covenant, read the TNO article on this covenant), initiated by Stichting Bepositief (BE+): BE+ supports business parks by developing and sharing knowledge.
- Collective financing (ESCo) and the rapid startup guide ‘How do I start an ESCo?' (in Dutch).
- Stichting BespaarGarant (in Dutch): is a collective sector organisation initiative. They offer a standard method for making buildings more sustainable, with a technical performance guarantee and smart financing out of reduced energy costs.
- Handleiding Aanpak collectieve verduurzaming bedrijventerreinen (in Dutch): this manual, published by the Energie Collectief Utrechtse Bedrijven, offers practical information on setting up and financing a collective.
- Regional energy funds (in Dutch): several regional energy funds play an important part in speeding up the energy transition in the Netherlands.