Bison helps the pioneers: How Bison Capital Fund supports techno starters

Project information

Index: 0086R1
Priority:1: Innovation and the knowledge economy
Sub Theme:Innovation, research and technology development
Location NETHERLANDS NOORD-NEDERLAND Leeuwarden Friesland (NL) Start/End date of the practice
Start: 2008-01-01
End: continued

Topic of the practice

Bison stands for Business Support North Netherlands and is a foundation that implements the government programme of Subsidies for the Exploitation of Knowledge (SKE) of the Ministry of Economic Affairs in the North of the Netherlands. The foundation uses this programme to promote the economy of the region in the following strategic sectors: · Water technology · Life sciences · IT · Engineering

Good Practice Information

Bison provides aid in several areas, including:
· Financial help with pre-seed loans
· Coaching by experts
· Generating ideas
· Making business plans
· Finding business accommodation and equipment
· Protecting ideas and applying for patents
· Extending networks
The foundation’s services are available to people in the whole of the Northern Netherlands, who make new technical inventions, who can apply existing inventions in a new way or who can combine different techniques. No more than an idea is needed as long as it is related to water, life sciences, IT or engineering, and if it is feasible to believe that the idea can be made into a product on the market within three years. Coaching these starters with good ideas plays an essential role. The structure that has been set up for the implementation of the Bison fund works well. The foundation has a board of stakeholders with representatives from education, SME- Nederland Noord and the Rabobank. Project leader Edwin Elferink of NHL University, commends the cooperative nature of BISON and the way it can boost innovation in this region. Very often the initiatives that take off have something to do with sustainability: they are technological changes that combine economy and ecology with the potential of changing/ improving society.

Evidence of success

Up to now more than a hundred applications for support have come in. Twenty- three have been accepted for a loan. As Bison becomes better known the number of applications is increasing. When the project stops after four years, Elferink is confident of a relaunch.Which factors have contributed to Bison’s success? The foundation:
• Is committed to social aims
• Makes networks and equipment available
• Is flexible: the conditions that participants must meet are not hard and fast
• Works with annual plans
• Joins up with other initiatives such as F-linc (the one stop shop for venture capital in
North Netherlands) and the Chamber of Commerce
• Has a good reputation
• Makes use of the regional media
• Is small-scale

Contact details to obtain further information on the practice

Wim Huizinga

City of Leeuwarden

Annex completed on: 09-29-2011

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