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Offer: 2014 Private Sector Investment (PSI) Program - Deadline: March 10, 2014

The Private Sector Investment Program of the Dutch government and provides 50% grant funding for investment projects in emerging markets.

The grant finances up to 50% of a 1,5 million pilot project initiated by a local and international partner, who are financially capable to finance the other 50% own contribution and prefinance the grant.

The project introduces new economic activity to the target country that does not directly compete with existing local businesses and has a high impact on local development.

Deadline to submit your application to the final tender is March 10, 2014.

Companies based in one of these countries can only apply with a Dutch partner: Albania, Algeria, Armenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Colombia, Cape Verde, Egypt, Georgia, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, Kosovo, Libya, Macedonia, Mongolia, Moldova, Morocco, Nigeria, Peru, The Philippines, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Thailand, Tunisia, Vietnam.

Companies based in one of these countries can apply with a partner abroad (any country): Afghanistan, Angola, Bangladesh, Benin, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, DR Congo, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guatemala, Iraq, Laos, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Palestinian Territories, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South-Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Yemen, Zambia.

If you consider applying for the next PSI, here are some tips to get you started:

1. Check the criteria: the full critieria are published in the governmental gazette (“Staatscourant”). Print the criteria and write notes in the margin: which criteria you meet, what needs extra research? Only apply if you meet all criteria. If you have doubt, check with us. We can do a free assessment. It'd be frustrating to get halfway through your application and then discover that your project doesn't really fit the guidelines or you that do not have the proper information required to complete the application.

2. Start in time: I know entrepreneurs are busy, but copy pasting your business plan in the PSI application form in the last week for the deadline will not work. Most likely it turns out that there are a lot of questions that need additional research. You might need input from an external expert (who is just on a great location out of any network in the week you need him) or (most likely) it turns out the project is slightly different from your business plan, meaning you need to recalculate everything resulting in a lot of sleepless nights.

3. Start now with collecting relevant documents: latest audited financial report of your company and of your partner. Contact potential customers for Letters of Intent to buy your product/service, this will strengthen your case as it shows that there are potential customers for your product. Do you need a bank guarantee? Can take weeks as well. Avoid high blood pressure and start collection of relevant documents today.

4. Contact the Dutch embassy in the specific country to learn more about the local market, they might have the right contacts to help you to the next step.

5. Plan a meeting with RVO staff for an intake: prepare well for this session. The better prepared you are, the better they can give feedback on your questions. We can support in presenting your case well and prepare for the questions.

6. Write, rewrite & rewrite your application till you come down to the essence: avoid handing in a book. A max of 25 pages of the core text will do;

7. Run a spelling check: Simple, but people forget. Finance people tend to be very accurate and don’t like reading all your typos. There is only one chance to make a first impression. It is the final render as well. Don’t screw it.

8. Proof: here it comes down to my favorite mantra: Risk = assumptions - proof

Business plans are in general full of assumptions. The more proof, the stronger the case. Is there a market? Do you have customers already for your new product/service? Or letters of intent of customers? Did you conduct market research?) Is the technology proven (in comparable market/conditions)? Has the team the right skills and a proven track record in comparable projects? You still have time to get the expert in the market in your advisory board. Call him/her. You can always ask.

9. Do your homework: It is a grant, but they don’t give it away for free. Prepare well. Very well. Hand in a solid case worth the precious time of the PSI staff to study it. Just divide the amount you apply for on the hours you worked on the application to feel every minute on it is well spend.

10. Entrepreneurs that want to apply to the final PSI tender MUST meet the minimum criteria - see




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