20 February 2024
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Eight years ago, when it became clear that small and medium-sized enterprises in particular were having difficulty with financing, the Financing Table was quickly born. The table is now a household name in the Brainport region. We spoke with Piet van der Wielen, who stood at the cradle of this initiative. In his function as Program Manager Business at The Gate, from Brainport Development, he takes part in the Financing Table every last Wednesday of the month. He explains why, as a tech start-up, you should seize this opportunity.
How did the Financing Table come into being? Piet: "The Financing Table in this form was established in the period when SMEs had difficulty obtaining financing; the form of applications by the SMEs and the receipt of these by the financiers did not match up properly. In recent years, the focus has shifted towards start-ups and scale-ups. Any tech-oriented entrepreneur with a challenge can come to us with their question."
Most pitchers come in through their networks. "That's often how it goes. I always contact them beforehand, and explain what the intention is. You get 15 minutes to pitch, and there are 40 minutes to answer questions. It is certainly not the intention to give a commercial pitch. It is about your challenge, what are you up against. From our areas of expertise, we think along with you in terms of solutions. That is the great thing about the Financing Table: after your pitch, you can get straight down to work with the solutions offered."
Which parties are at the table? "That is a broad group of financial and business specialists from Rabobank, ABN AMRO, ING, DLL, Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland, BOM, Brainport Development and The Gate."
For a startup, it is often a threshold to enter the market with a financial question. Why would he choose the Financing Table? Piet: "That is without doubt the informal and open setting in combination with the quality of the participants. They give you valuable feedback and help you with their knowledge and network. Especially when it comes to choosing the right form of pitch, because there are many possibilities. And that's very important when you're applying for funding."
Are there any other initiatives in the region? "There is also an equity table, with local investors. And the Brainport Meetup, where you pitch to CEOs of family businesses from our beautiful region. The main focus here is on the further development of your organisation and how you can grow. How cool it is to be able to ask questions to the companies that have taken these steps themselves!"
Finally, what would you like to give tech start-ups, Piet? "About 80% of start-ups seek funding at the wrong stage and in the wrong place. If you don't succeed in finding investors, it's probably due to insufficient insight into the financing landscape and/or the way you bring your idea to the attention of the public. In any case, whether you qualify for a business loan or financing depends on many things. Think of timing, the amount required, the form of financing you are looking for and, for example, your company's risk profile. My appeal is therefore: Do you have a challenge in the innovative area, and would you like help in forming your financial pitch? Then sign up for the Financing Table, every last Wednesday of the month. Our network is ready to help you shape your story."Do you want to sign up for the Financing Table? Please contact Piet van der Wielen.