The coronavirus has had the Netherlands in its grip for quite some time now. In this article, we give an overview for entrepreneurs of the measures taken. Do you want to learn more about the impact of the coronavirus crisis on the Arnhem – Nijmegen – Wageningen area? We collect news stories, webinars, support options and more on our coronavirus page!
Since a package of emergency measures was first announced by the cabinet, some changes have been implemented. The emergency package made way for a support and recovery package. Some new conditions and types of support were also introduced. The duration of the package has been extended to 2021. The article below has been supplemented.
SME Credit Guarantee Scheme (BMKB-C)
The BMKB (‘Borgstelling midden- en kleinbedrijf’) is a pre-COVID scheme that makes it easier for entrepreneurs to borrow money. It has been expanded because of coronavirus crisis and is now called: BMKB-C. They can use the scheme to get a bridge loan or to up their overdraft limit. Since its inception, the scheme has been expanded. This expansion entails that the credit guarantee has been upped from 50 percent to 75 percent, so that banks can increase credit more easily and quickly, and business can borrow more and sooner. The duration of the credit has been extended to four years, so that entrepreneurs have more time for repayment. The maximum credit amount has been set as 1.5 million euros.
Furthermore, the BMKB interest percentage has been lowered from 3.9 to 2 percent for a duration of up to and including eight quarters, and 3 percent for a duration of nine to sixteen quarters. This decrease makes the scheme more accessible for entrepreneurs. The cabinet has made thirty million euros available to this end.
The guarantee budget of the BMKB has also been increased from 765 million euros to 1.5 billion euros, and the cabinet has decided that accreditation should be available to other financiers than just banks, so that these can provide funding for their existing clients under the coronavirus module of the BMKB.
To be eligible for the SME Credit Guarantee Scheme, your company should have no more than 250 staff members and a maximum annual turnover of 50 million euros, or a balance sheet total of 43 million euros. The business should also be more than three years old. Start-ups may also apply if they take out a start-up loan with their bank. Access to the BMKM scheme has been made easier thanks to the use of a turnover test instead of an extensive liquidity forecast. The liberalisation of the SME will run until the end of 2021.
For start-ups, investments aimed at technological innovation and activities affected by PFAS- and/or nitrogen-related issues, there are additional support measures within the BMKB scheme.
Compensation Fixed Charges (TVL)
The TVL (‘Tegemoetkoming vaste lasten’) is aimed at seriously affected sectors like hospitality, recreation, events, fairgrounds, performance venues and theatres. It was initially meant for SME entrepreneurs (with less than 250 staff members), but that requirement has been removed in January 2021.
The TVL was going to be phased out after 1 January 2021, but the opposite now holds true: the cabinet is expanding the allowance, and a greater number of businesses will be eligible for TVL support. Businesses might be eligible for the TVL subsidy on top of the NOW (‘Noodmaatregel Overbrugging voor Werkgelegenheid’). For the first and second quarter of 2021, the new subsidy will amount to 85% of the fixed costs related to the loss of turnover, with a minimum threshold of 30% loss of turnover.
From 10 May 2021 onwards, the TVL has been opened up to large businesses (with the FTE equivalent of more than 250 employees or over 50 million euros in turnover per annum and total assets of more than 43 million euros). Up to that point, only SMEs could apply for the support measure.
In June, the cabinet decided to further expand the TVL for the second quarter of 2021. The subsidy will be upped to 100 percent, compared to the 85 percent it was before. The reference period will also be altered, as the first quarter of 2019 was unrepresentative for most entrepreneurs; this meant that if their turnover was low or non-existent, they would also receive a very limited TVL subsidy (or none at all). For TVL Q2 2021, entrepreneurs can pick one of two different quarters: the first quarter of 2019 or the third of 2020.
The maximum subsidy amount for large enterprises is 1.2 million euros for the second quarter, a lot more than the 600,000 of the first quarter. It will revert to 600,000 euros for the third quarter. The other conditions will remain the same.
It is expected that application for TVL Q2 can be made from the end of June 2021.
→ Read more about the TVL scheme in the second quarter of 2021.
In order to also grant additional support for small entrepreneurs, the minimum subsidy amount has already been raised from 750 to 1500 euros before.
Furthermore, the TVL also includes the decision to increase the inventory compensation amount and duration for the retail sector. The extension of the lockdown leaves many stores with stocks that are hard to sell, like collections. For the first quarter of 2021, the subsidy amounts to 21 percent on top of the fixed-cost percentage that applies under the TVL scheme (previously 5.6 per cent), up to a maximum of €200,000.
→ Read all about applying for the TVL here (in Dutch)
Entrepreneurs with staff: Temporary Emergency Bridging Measure (NOW)
The NOW (‘Noodmaatregel Overbrugging voor Werkgelegenheid’) was created to help entrepreneurs pay their wage costs. Businesses that expect an extensive loss of turnover because of the coronavirus crisis, can receive a reimbursement that covers a significant percentage of their wage costs.
The scheme is undergoing a lot of changes, with new periods and regular amendments to the conditions. Currently the fifth application period is underway. From 6 May up to and including 30 June 2021, people can apply for compensation for the period from April to June 2021. Compensation for the sixth period (July, August, and September 2021) can be applied for from 5 July up to and including 30 September. Applying for the compensation for the first four application periods is no longer possible.
The NOW serves two purposes. It offers aid to companies in order for them to survive the crisis, and to maintain employment. Secondly, it gives businesses the opportunity to prepare for the new economic situation.
The conditions are largely the same for the more recent application periods. An employer with a loss in turnover of at least 20 percent over a period of three months will be eligible for compensation. That compensation can amount to 85 percent of the wage costs for the relevant application period. Initially, the idea was to gradually scale back on that percentage in later periods, but this never happened.
The UWV pays out an initial 80 percent of the compensation over three periods. A final settlement will take place subsequently. People might be made to refund the amount partially or completely afterwards.
Meanwhile, the Dutch house of representatives has accepted a motion with regards to burden alleviation for entrepreneurs in the context of NOW. It makes having applications checked cheaper and easier for organisations. This is evidenced from a recent letter to the house of representatives by the hand of Minister Koolmees of Social Affairs and Unemployment.
Self-employed professionals: Temporary Bridging Measure for Self-Employed Professionals (Tozo)
When self-employed professionals run into financial difficulties in normal circumstances, they can make use of the Decree on Assistance to the Self-Employed (‘Besluit bijstandsverlening zelfstandigen’ – Bbz). The National Government has created a similar measure — but with less conditions — for the coronavirus crisis: The Temporary Bridging Measure for Self-Employed Professionals (Tozo). The scheme is implemented by local municipalities.
After Tozo 1 to 3, the application period for Tozo 4 runs up to and including 30 June 2021. Under the name Tozo 5, Tozo has been extended with another three months. Applications can be made through the residential municipality of the independent entrepreneur from 1 July up to and including 30 September. The conditions remain unchanged, but the frameworks for repayment will be eased. Entrepreneurs will not have to start repaying until the start of 2022 and have five years to complete repayment. The total funds for Tozo have been expanded to 850 million euros.
Tozo allows people to receive income support up to the minimum social income. The amount of the Tozo compensation depends on the age and family situation; the partner’s income is also considered, for instance. The rule is that if the income of the household exceeds the minimum social income, you are not eligible for a Tozo pay-out.
Click on your municipality for more information (in Dutch) regarding Tozo:
- Berg en Dal
- Mook en Middelaar
Job-related Investment Reduction (BIK | REVOKED)
To provide incentive for businesses to keep on innovating during the coronavirus crisis, the cabinet introduced the BIK (‘Baangerelateerde investeringskorting’ in Dutch). In May the decision was made to revoke the scheme retroactively from 1 January 2021. Informal talks with the European Commission indicated that the BIK could be seen by the Commission as illegal state aid.
As the cabinet is still trying to promote business investments during this coronavirus crisis, the new plan is to reduce the Unemployment Fund compensation (‘AWf-premie’ in Dutch) for employers in 2021, if possible per 1 Augustus 2021. A reduction of the employer contribution Awf effectively lowers the wage costs, which the cabinet expects will increase space for investment and/or finding external funding for investment.
Small Credit Guarantee for SMEs (KKC)
The KKC (‘Klein Krediet Corona’) scheme is designed to help small-scale entrepreneurs, as it can often be difficult for them to get access to financial aid. Through this scheme, the Dutch government underwrites 95 percent of 750 million euros of bridging loans for small enterprises that have a financing need of 10,000 to 50,000 euros.
Small, medium-sized, and micro-enterprises with a turnover of more than 50,000 euros can apply for the loan. This can be done until 31 December 2021 through an accredited, approved financier.
According to an article in the NRC newspaper, less than 20 percent of the funding that was made available for the loan had actually been used by March.
Do you own an SME and have your international activities been impacted by the coronavirus crisis? Find solution with the help of an external advisor. The voucher covers eighty percent of the costs and could equal up to 2500 euros ex. VAT. The Kickstart Voucher has been available since 26 June.
Time-out Arrangement (TOA)
The Time-out Arrangement (TOA) allows entrepreneurs to pause their business temporarily. This is the cabinet’s way of trying to avoid bankruptcies. In future, the Act on Confirmation of Private Restructuring Plans (WHOA – ‘the Act on Confirmation of Private Restructuring Plans) will allow businesses that have been hit hard by the coronavirus crisis a soft landing, in order to limit the significant negative consequences of the crisis for entrepreneurs. This is a rather complicated, technical piece of legislation. The TOA will help entrepreneurs make use of this law and will remove difficulties that entrepreneurs might encounter in using it.
The WHOA will be combined with a credit facility, as was decided at the beginning of 2021. This combination of credit and the WHOA enables businesses to restart their operations when the situation improves, so that jobs will be not be lost. The cabinet is setting aside 200 million euros to this end.
→ Read all about TOA here (in Dutch)
The TONK (‘Tijdelijke ondersteuning noodzakelijke kosten’) scheme is aimed at households that have faced a substantial loss of income due to the coronavirus crisis and who are not aided sufficiently by existing measures to be able to pay their fixed charges. This can apply to self-employed professionals for whom the TOZO scheme does not offer enough support, as well as to employees who have lost their job.
The scheme is implemented by local municipalities. An initial 130 million euros was made available for this scheme for the first half of 2021; due to the protracted length of the coronavirus crisis and the extended lockdown, however, this spring the cabinet decided to up the amount to 260 million euros.
Applications for the TONK can be made from March onwards in most municipalities. Those municipalities will make different choices in determining the target group as well as the amount of the payment, as they are best situated to determine what is required specifically in their area. The cabinet has called on municipalities to be generous in their TONK payments, but the differences between municipalities are quite significant, as can be seen in the province of Brabant.
At the beginning of May, Minister Koolmees indicated that many self-employed persons who were eligible for the TONK, did not apply for it. In some municipalities, the total amount of TONK funds paid out equals only 10 percent of what was expected.
The TONK scheme has been extended by another quarter, up to the end of September.
Execution differs per municipality, but in multiple municipalities, the maximum amount has been upped or a TONK application can be made for all private fixed costs. Multiple municipalities have also loosened the conditions, such as in Nijmegen.
Corona Bridging Loan (COL)
The Corona Bridging Loan (‘Corona-Overbruggingslening’ – COL) 3.0 is again available for start-ups, scale-ups and other innovative SMEs currently impacted by the coronavirus crisis. The cabinet has made 300 million euros available for the COL. The bridging loans are provided by the regional development corporations (‘Regionale Ontwikkelingsmaatschappijen’ – ROMs). Gelderland’s ROM is Oost NL, Limburg’s ROM is LIOF (for entrepreneurs from the municipality of Mook en Middelaar).
In May 2021 in turned out that the scheme is not sufficient for many businesses. Research from Techleap.nl indicated that 87% of the start-ups that received a Corona Bridging Loan (‘Corona-Overbruggingslening’ – COL), were expecting to sail into more trouble. That would mean that they would not be able to pay back the borrowed money.
Compensation Entrepreneurs Affected Sectors COVID-19 (TOGS) – closed
Applications for the Compensation Entrepreneurs Affected Sectors COVID-19 (TOGS – ‘Tegemoetkoming Ondernemers Getroffen Sectoren’) could be made from 27 March up to and including 26 June 2020. Businesses from both the food and non-food sectors could apply for a one-time compensation of 4000 euros. This compensation was intended to allow entrepreneurs to pay their fixed charges.
Emergency package for agriculture, horticulture, and fisheries
Many businesses in agriculture, horticulture and fisheries have been faced with a substantial loss of turnover, as the export market and their largest domestic selling market – hospitality – have temporarily been taken out of the equation. In order to meet entrepreneurs in these sectors halfway, the cabinet has created various measures. The Credit Guarantee Scheme for Agriculture (‘Borgstelling MKB-Landbouwkredieten’ – BL-C), has been expanded temporarily, for instance. The Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality guarantees seventy percent of the coronavirus bridging loans that banks provide to agricultural entrepreneurs. Fisheries can also make use of this scheme. Applications can be made until 31 December 2021.
The cabinet has made 600 million euros available for businesses in the ornamental plant sector and specific parts of the vegetable horticulture subsector specialising in products for the hospitality sector. Up to seventy percent of the loss of turnover is compensated for. Applications could be made between 7 May 2020 to 18 June 2020.
For impacted growers of potatoes that are used for fries 50 million euros were made available. They received a compensation of forty percent of the average market value of the amount of potatoes they still had in storage. Applications could be made between 7 May 2020 to 18 June 2020.
Cultural and creative sector
The cabinet is accommodating the cultural and creative sector with various measures. Institutions and self-employed professionals can use the general as well as the sector-specific measures. Furthermore, three hundred million euros of supplementary support is available through five schemes. The goal of this supplementary support is mainly to help out institutions that are important to the sector as a whole, for instance because they are generating employment opportunities for other institutions and self-employed professionals.
The cabinet announced on 28 August that it would make an additional 482 million euros available for the cultural sector, on top of the general support measures.
Of that 482 million euros, 150 million euros has been allocated for the first half of 2021. That money has since been distributed across the municipalities. What the money is used for by the municipalities, is as of yet unknown.
The cabinet also presented a grant scheme for the cancellation of events. The national government underwrites the expenses incurred when an organised event is cancelled because of coronavirus restrictions. In that case, the organisation will be reimbursed for at least 80 percent of the costs in the form of a donation. Other costs are reimbursed through a loan.
During these times, it is more important than ever that people are kept abreast of development concerning the coronavirus and news from their direct local environment. News media are crucial in this regard. In order to allow it to function properly, the cabinet is taking action in three ways: general measures, forbearance measures and the temporary support measure for local media. The general measures also apply to the media sector. As part of the forbearance measures, the Regional Public Broadcasters provided two million euros to stimulate regional and local journalism. Finally, the cabinet opened a support fund to aid local information services, such as door-to-door papers and local newspapers, that have run into trouble because of the coronavirus crisis.
Mobility Cluster Manufacturing
This spring, the cabinet made 150 million euros available for the mobility cluster in the manufacturing sector. This amount is aimed at investments in research and development in sectors such as automotive, aviation and maritime. The scheme mainly focuses on SME manufacturing businesses. They are stimulated to involve knowledge institutions in research and development projects through public-private collaborations.
In order to provide some financial space for entrepreneurs who have run into difficulties because of the coronavirus crisis, the cabinet has implemented various tax measures. The period in which entrepreneurs can apply for tax deferrals or an extension of deferrals has been extended to 1 July 2021.
Those who had not applied for a deferral or extension before, can do so now. For entrepreneurs who were already awarded an extension earlier this year, that extension will now automatically apply until 1 July 2021. The date from which businesses have to start paying the deferred tax will also be pushed back, from 1 July 2021 to 1 October 2021. They will be given 36 months to pay back their tax debt.
The cabinet extends the lowered recovery interest of 0.01 percent (the usual interest rate is four percent) through 31 December 2021. This applies to all tax debts.
On 1 October 2020, the tax interest rate returned to the original level of four percent, to stimulate people to submit their tax returns on time. De tax interest for business tax will be fixed at four percent through 31 December 2021, instead of the original eight percent, so that entrepreneurs who are faced with tax interest are not also instantly faced with high financial burdens.
→ Read all about the government’s tax measures here (in Dutch)
All twenty municipalities of the Arnhem – Nijmegen – Wageningen area have allowed their entrepreneurs deferment of tax payments. Please note: you do need to apply for this through your own municipality.
As part of the Time-out Arrangement (TOA), the Tax and Customs Administration aims to be more flexible about waiving specific (tax) debts, in cases where a payment arrangement is not sufficient. The cabinet is also looking at shaping tax measures that allow employers to compensate for legitimate expenses made while staff members were working from home
Business Loan Guarantee Scheme (GO)
The GO (‘Garantie Ondernemingsfinanciering’) is a scheme that precedes the coronavirus epidemic and is aimed at SMEs and large businesses who require credit. It makes it easier for large and medium-sized companies in the Netherlands to obtain funding that would otherwise have been hard for them to get. The current situation has led to a specific coronavirus version of this scheme: the Garantie Ondernemingsfinanciering corona (GO-C). The GO-C assures banks that the government stands as guarantor for 80% of loans for large companies (public limited companies) and for 90% of loans for SMEs.
The scheme is designed for Dutch companies with substantial activities in the Netherlands that are essentially sound businesses. They can only apply for funding for liquidity shortages caused by the coronavirus crisis. Businesses in the real estate, financial and healthcare sectors are not eligible.
A business can borrow a minimum of 1.5 million and a maximum of 150 million euros through the GO-C scheme. The application for that scheme has been extended a second time to 31 December 2021. Financiers may submit their guarantee application with the RVO up to 15 December 2021. More information on the application may be found here.
Would you like to know which measures, supports, and tips the municipality in which live and/or work offers? Check out the alphabetical overview below:
Arnhem’s support fund for entrepreneurs SOFA (‘Stichting Ondernemersfonds Arnhem’) has, together with Arnhem municipality, agreed to the establishment of a temporary Emergency Fund. SOFA made 300,000 euros available until 1 July 2020. This emergency fund was extended to 1 October 2020 and increased by 100,000 euros. Finally, SOFA has upped the Emergency Fund again and extended it to 31 December 2020.
→ Read all about SOFA’s Emergency Fund here (in Dutch)
Arnhem municipality is investing nineteen million euros in the local economy, announced its municipal executive on 7 July 2020. The municipality of Arnhem is trying to support businesses and organisations that and individuals who have suffered severely from the coronavirus crisis; it also hopes to sustainably strengthen the city in this fashion.
Many organisations that are active in events, culture, sports, welfare, and healthcare, are anxious about their income and cannot (always) meet their obligations. The municipality of Arnhem will keep providing subsidies in the specified periods, so that parties will not run into liquidity problems.
- Berg en Dal
- Mook en Middelaar
Nijmegen municipality took temporary measures to supplement the national package of measures. The municipality extended these measures to 1 September 2020. Rules were extended, outgoing payments were quickened, extensions were granted on incoming payments, the existing regulations surrounding the Participation Act were implemented in a generous fashion, the allowance for housing costs was upped, the search period was temporarily eliminated for young people requesting a PA welfare payment, no fees/rent for activities that were (partly) cancelled, a relaxed approach to subsidy recipients not rendering an agreed upon performance, a more free approach to the use of specific public funds, a subsidy scheme for coronavirus-related cultural projects, support for temporary alternatives and events, and adjustment of the rent increase of municipal houses and sites.
→ Read all about the temporary measures (in Dutch)
The municipality of Nijmegen has also decided to speed up the use of the 300,000 euros from the budget of the Economic Vision. This money is intended for activities that aim at a quick economic recovery, like hosting a hackaton and a pilot for a House of Skills.
- Renkum (supplementary newsletter)
The Province of Gelderland
The Province of Gelderland has made 10 million euros available for emergency assistance. Nearly 6 million euros went to the municipalities. The other 4 million euros is being distributed via specific schemes, such as:
- Temporary measures theatres and performance venues
- Monuments serving a public function and regional museums
- Municipal support
- Social initiatives (closed)
- Smart Education & Job Market (closed)
- Support measures for entrepreneurs and organisations (closed)
A total of fifty million euros has been made available by the province for the recovery programme that should help Gelderland weather the coronavirus crisis.
The province has a special website on which all information with regard to the coronavirus crisis is compiled. It also features the impact monitor for Gelderland, which is released every two weeks.
Information on the impact of coronavirus on entrepreneurs
Where can entrepreneurs gather more information and to whom should they address their questions?
- The Chamber of Commerce has a special corona service point (in Dutch). The site provides a lot of information, and entrepreneurs can call a special number if they have any questions: 0800-2117. Dutch SME organisation MKB-Nederland and employers’ organisation VNO-NCW are also aiding in this effort.
- The National Government’s website also provides a lot of answers to questions. Read about the full package of coronavirus measures on the National Government’s website here.
- Oost NL’s website contains all information about the coronavirus that is relevant for regional entrepreneurs.
- The same goes for the websites of, among others, MKB-Nederland (in Dutch), and employers’ organisation AWVN.
- ICT Campus, the partnership between government, IT entrepreneurs and educational institutions in Region Foodvalley, has opened a special corona entrepreneurs service point (in Dutch) where entrepreneurs discuss their questions.
- Were you involved in a project of OP Oost? For questions about programmes, projects and/or funding, you can contact OP Oost here (in Dutch).