Strong boost for the 'Randstad' economy
The European economic stimulation program "Opportunities for West" received an additional impulse of over 82 million euros from the European Union from the so-called "REACT EU" funds. This amount was supplemented by the national government with over 11 million euros. The funds, which come from the large European recovery program "Next Generation EU", are intended for a rapid recovery of the Randstad to a green digital and resilient economy for the future.
Quickly put away but sustainably spent
The funds obtained must be quickly committed in projects, because they must be spent by the end of 2023, otherwise the money must be returned. That is why Kansen voor West (Opportunities for West) has set its pace. After a well-attended webinar in January, the window opened on February 15 in anticipation of approval. In just one day, this resulted in more than 130 applications for over 200 million euros. Subsequently, the assessment started quickly and special teams were put to work. Already 50 proposals received the green light from the independent expert committee and last week the first two were provided with a grant decision. The money is intended in particular for the so-called "2nd valley of death" projects. This is the phase just before a company can bring a product to market. For that phase, additional public money is now needed, because own funding and private funding has been greatly reduced by the crisis. This poses a direct risk to the goal of achieving a fully circular, digital and climate-neutral economy. These additional funds will largely prevent that delay.
BAMBOODER and Local Heroes the first lucky ones
The first two decisions went to Amsterdam-based companies last week. The young company Bambooder received a grant to convert its successfully tested method of turning bamboo into a very strong and durable composite into a production facility. And the typical COVID-19 project Local Heroes empowers smaller Amsterdam entrepreneurs by giving their sales a new digital outlet through distribution hubs and online apps. It is expected that 70 more initiatives can be supported in the coming months.