Interim analysis of the SME funds of the province of Limburg

Interim analysis of the SME funds of the province of Limburg

Dutch SMEs account for more than half of the turnover and added value and also offer more than 54 percent of employment in our country.

The figures for Limburg are largely in line with this. SMEs make an important contribution to the total growth in turnover and employment in Limburg. However, several studies have shown that the lack of risk capital for innovative SMEs are an obstacle to further growth. This problem was mainly addressed in the aftermath of the credit crisis, but statistics from DNB also show that lending from Dutch major banks to Dutch SMEs fell by another 13% in the period after the credit crisis (2013-2017). This shows that the question of whether SMEs can raise sufficient risk-bearing capital to fulfil their innovation and growth ambitions is still very topical. This is also made known in the financial sector, given the recent initiative of the Limburg Rabobanks to pursue growth and innovation to make economic growth possible.

The economy has an important place in the new coalition agreement of the province of Limburg. The province therefore took the initiative in 2014 to set up two funds that focus on financing innovative SMEs, which need financing most during their expansion phase.

The two funds, called the Limburg Business Development Fund (LBDF) and the SME Loan Fund (MKB-L), have been operational since 1 May 2015. Together, the two funds provided a total of 164 loans and grants in the period up to 31 December 2017.

The province believes it is important to closely monitor the development of LBDF and MKB-L to ensure that social goals are achieved as effectively and efficiently as possible. The interim analysis by Ecorys is a product evaluation of both funds. This product evaluation must provide an objective overview of the results achieved with the instrument and their effectiveness.

The interim analysis provides information to be able to make a statement about the realized effects and their impact. Questions that are relevant to ask:

  1. How much stronger has this made the Limburg economy?
  2. How much additional employment has been created with this?
  3. Is the Limburg capital market functioning better than before?

These will be answered through desk research, interviews and a survey among Limburg SME companies.