Application portal Corona Bridging Loan open from 4 January

The extension of the Corona Bridging Loan (COL) for startups, scale-ups and innovative SMEs is now a fact. Innovative entrepreneurs who find themselves in difficulty because of the pandemic can submit an application via the portal from today, 4 January 2021.

Bridging credit for start-ups, scale-ups, and innovative SMEs

The Corona Bridging Loan (COL) is an emergency loan for innovative entrepreneurs and SMEs who do not have a bank loan facility and are facing financial difficulty as a result of Covid-19. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate has made a total of €300 million available. At the request of the Ministry, the ROMs are providing bridging loans of between €50,000 and €2 million with favorable conditions.

Applications for the first round of the COL were open until the end of September. Now that all applications have been assessed, more than €35 million remains unused. Taking into account the course of the economic recovery and the remaining COL budget, the government has decided to extend the initiative until 30 June 2021 at the latest.

Rinke Zonneveld (Director of InnovationQuarter) on behalf of the ROMs explains: ‘When COL started, we had hoped that the initiative would run for a few months and that the situation would be back to “normal” by the end of 2020. Unfortunately, the reality is somewhat different. Covid-19 is still having a huge impact on the Netherlands and its businesses. We are endorsing the decision by the cabinet to extend the COL initiative and thus help entrepreneurs through the crisis and to continue innovating. After all, innovation will be essential to getting the economy going again after the crisis.’

Applications can be submitted from January 4

The online application portal will open again today. Applications will be assessed using the same tender system as before. This means that ROMs will assess applications on a regional basis and a national committee will weigh applications against one another. In addition to the formal criteria, qualitative criteria such as the number of FTEs, alignment with the mission-driven innovation policy, alignment with eco-systems and the importance of innovation will also be considered. Companies that were awarded a COL earlier cannot claim again under the COL scheme. More info at:

Maurice van Tilburg of Techleap explains: ‘We can see how the current increase in Covid-19 cases and the measures put in place because of that are affecting start-ups. Obtaining capital and rolling out products are both being delayed. We are pleased that the COL bridging loan will be available for longer, and we will be facilitating this process via the application portal along with our partners.’

Application portal Corona Bridging Loan open from 4 January

More than 1,500 companies apply for €540 million in coronavirus bridging loans

Applications for the Corona Bridging Loan (COL) are still flooding in. Since 29 April, 1,507 startups, scale-ups and innovative SMEs have lodged applications for COLs. The total requested comes to €540 million. By now 311 applications – for some €100 million in total – have been approved, with around 50% of the applications still being processed.

On Wednesday 20 May, the Dutch government announced that, on top of an earlier tranche of €100 million, another €150 million will be made available for startups, scale-ups and innovative SMEs. As the large number of applications confirms, this is sorely needed. Businesses can apply for a COL of €50,000 or more, at favourable conditions. The loans are provided by the Regional Development Agencies (RDA’s).

AppThis Group from Enschede was the first business in the east of the Netherlands to receive a COL. “We’re using the loan to make up for the reduction in turnover and to make the latest product adjustments related to the 1.5 metre conditions our clients have had to implement,” says Arjan Zwarteveen, who runs the company with Andreas Weber.

Qlayers in Delft also received a COL. Founder and CEO Josefien Groot: “The COL is a perfect fit with the type of business we are: an innovative startup with high costs relative to revenue. The COL will allow us to complete our product development and bring it to the market on schedule.”

More information on the COL applications to date

Almost three-quarters of the applications are for smaller requests of €250,000 or less. However, 23% of the applications are from scale-ups and these account for around half of the €540 million total requested. All applicants together represent more than 15,000 jobs.

Over a third of the innovative companies that have submitted an application operate in the soft tech field (platform, SaaS, AI), but there have also been many applications from businesses in medtech, life sciences, cleantech and high tech.


Applications for bridging loans for innovative companies top €500 million

Since it was launched on 29 April, more than a thousand startups, scale-ups, and innovative SMEs have applied for a Coronavirus Bridging Loan (Corona-Overbruggingslening, COL) or the Temporary Bridging Loan Programme for innovative Startups and Scale-ups (Tijdelijk Overbruggingskrediet Programma innovatieve Start- en Scaleups, TOPSS). Altogether, these companies employ nearly 12,000 FTEs. Applications totalling more than €500 million have been made to one or other of the two schemes.

Acute need among startups, scale-ups, and innovative SMEs

Initially, the cabinet set aside €100 million for the Coronavirus Bridging Loan (COL). In just one week, over 1,000 companies applied for €385 million through the COL, an amount that even exceeds the expectations of the Regional Development Corporations (Regionale Ontwikkelingsmaatschappijen, ROMs) that are implementing the scheme.

Invest-NL is making €100 million available for the Temporary Bridging Loan Programme for innovative Startups and Scale-ups (TOPSS). For TOPPS applications, Invest-NL has set a lower limit of €2 million. In the first week, Invest-NL received 21 applications, seeking total financing in excess of €130 million. Invest-NL must now assess each application on its merits and, if the application is approved, will pay a maximum of 50% of the financing itself.

‘Based on research, we had estimated that at least €350 million would be needed to help startups, scale-ups and innovative SMEs through this crisis,’ says Rinke Zonneveld (Director InnovationQuarter) on behalf of the ROMs ‘The budget of €100 million was a first step. The fact that applications for the COL are already almost four times that amount is indicative of the acute need among innovative Dutch companies. A rough estimate based on initial assessments is that around 50-60% of the applications will be successful and, thanks to the co-financing we are requesting from shareholders, around 35-40% of the total sum applied for will be needed for applications received thus far. This would mean that the figure of €100 million has already been used up by applications in the first week.’

Nils Beers, CEO, says: ‘This huge demand confirms how much money is urgently needed to keep these innovative companies afloat. We will continue facilitating and monitoring applications via the central portal, and the data from this will also be used to continually evaluate whether the current measures are enough.’

Criteria for Coronavirus Bridging Loan (Corona-Overbruggingslening, COL) for start-ups, scale-ups, and innovative SMEs announced: platform open for applications

On 7 April, the Dutch government announced that it would make €100 million available in bridging loans for start-ups, scale-ups, and innovative SMEs. These companies can submit an application for a Coronavirus Bridging Loan (COL) since this Wednesday. This facility was developed as part of an intensive collaboration between the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate, joint regional development corporations and, and with the close involvement of Invest-NL.


Loans under favourable conditions

The government has asked the regional development corporations to grant these bridging loans under favourable conditions. These loans range between €50,000 and €2 million. Shareholders or other investors are expected to co-finance 25% of loans above €250,000.

A uniform interest rate of 3% will be payable on these loans, and the terms will be tailored to the target group. More information on the conditions is available at Q&A. The goal is to assess and deal with applications for less than €500,000 within four to nine working days and to reach a definitive decision on applications for more than €500,000 within three working weeks.

More information on the criteria and the application procedure is available at this page.

The COL must be seen as an emergency measure implemented in response to the economic impact of the Covid-19 outbreak. This means that businesses must be able to demonstrate that, although they need a loan in the current economic crisis, they nevertheless have fundamentally sustainable and healthy prospects. Businesses must also have implemented the cost-reduction measures that may reasonably be expected of them at present.

Supplementary measures for start-ups and scale-ups

Start-ups and scale-ups are being hit hard by the coronavirus crisis: an inventory made by revealed that 55% of businesses are faced with a fall in demand because they are losing existing customers or not winning new customers. Attracting the necessary new funding in the current conditions is a problem for this group, as start-ups, scale-ups, and other businesses without bank financing can at best make only limited use of measures previously announced by the government focused on companies with loan capital.

Ms Mona Keijzer, State Secretary for the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate, explains that

‘the government intends to make financial support more accessible to all businesses in these exceptional and difficult times. Start-ups and scale-ups are of great importance to the future of economy and our society: they provide tomorrow’s income and jobs, and their innovative products and services contribute to solving global challenges including, for example, the coronavirus crisis. This is why the government is now investing 100 million euros in bridging loans that will enable our growth businesses to get through these difficult months.’

Applications can be submitted

Applications can be submitted to a special online portal. Only complete applications submitted online will be processed. Applications for funding to a maximum of €5 million can also be submitted to this portal, which was developed in cooperation with These will be examined jointly by Invest-NL and the regional development corporations.


We can quite understand that businesses and investors will have questions about the Coronavirus Bridging Loan. We have drawn up a comprehensive Q&A with all the details of the Coronavirus Bridging Loan.