Grants and loans for circular textiles

To advance innovations and create a market for circular textiles, funding is needed. There are numerous regulations for this, which innovative textile entrepreneurs tend to get lost in. The tenth meetup of the Green Deal Circular Textiles initiative focused on this complex topic.

The world of grants and loans does not always mesh well with the innovative realm of circular-textile entrepreneurs. They do not always speak the same language and there is a lack of clarity about the available funding options and what conditions apply. During the meetup, entrepreneurs indicated they sometimes fall right in between two regulations. For micro-enterprises and non-technological innovations, for example, funding is not always easy to find.

In the meetup, several speakers shed light on the many available funding options. Below is an overview of these.

KIA CE by the RVO

An important address is the Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland (RVO). The RVO implements laws and regulations and provides funding. But you can also turn to them for information and advice and to join various networks.
For circular textile entrepreneurs, there are several specific and general subsidies at different stages of innovation, saide Wim Boeken during the meetup. Until September 7, 2023 you can apply for a grant for the Kennis en Innovatie Agenda Circulaire Economie (KIA CE) (Dutch). You can apply for technological development of a product and/or research on consumer behaviour, business or revenue models. This grant does not apply to projects around recycling and recovery.

The Trashure project received a grant from this scheme in 2021. Continue reading below the video (in Dutch).

MIA/Vamil

Tax-efficient investments in environmentally friendly assets and techniques can be made with the Milieu-investeringsaftrek (MIA) and the Willekeurige afschrijving milieu-investeringen (Vamil) (Dutch). If you are an entrepreneur paying income or corporate taxes, you can deduct up to 45 percent of the investment via the MIA and as much as 75 percent via the Vamil.

The MIA/Vamil can also be of interest if you have developed an innovative, environmentally friendly technology. This technique can then end up on the Milieulijst (Environment list), allowing other users to benefit from the tax scheme. Market introduction and expansion of this technology thus becomes easier. Techniques for the recycling of textile waste, for example, can be included here.

VEKI and chain subsidy

The VEKI grant can also be of interest to circular textile entrepreneurs. VEKI stands for Versnelde klimaatinvesteringen industrie (Dutch), and you can apply for this subsidy if you have high investment costs for CO2-saving measures. These are investments in devices, systems or techniques that have already proven themselves and whose payback time exceeds five years. Healix (Dutch) successfully applied for this scheme. The company recycles discarded ropes and nets.

The last scheme that Boeken discussed is the Circulaire ketenprojecten grant (Dutch). This is a grant for a group of SME entrepreneurs who want to design, produce or organise a circular product, process or service. This scheme provides financial support and the help of an experienced process facilitator. You can still apply for this grant until Sept. 29.

ROM InWest

The regional development agency InWest (Dutch) also has interesting opportunities for entrepreneurs in circular textiles. ROM InWest has two funds: the Transition Fund and the SME Fund. From that first fund, for example, the United Repair Centre (Dutch) has already received a nice grant. Tex.tracer (Dutch), which works on textile chain transparency, also received a grant from the SME fund.

Another interesting fund is the Amsterdams Klimaat & Energiefonds of the City of Amsterdam This invests in innovations that fit the Amsterdam Climate Neutral Roadmap (Dutch) and/or the Circular Strategy (Dutch). This fund invested in the Amsterdam textile lab BYBORRE, among others. The same municipality’s Subsidie Economische Structuur en Arbeidsmarktversterking (Dutch) supports projects that contribute to economic recovery, economic structure and a stronger labour market within the municipality. Innovation Fund Noord-Holland finances startups and innovative SMEs that are in the proof-of-concept phase. The Rabobank Innovation Loan can help you as a circular entrepreneur with a loan from 25,000 to 150,000 euros. This loan offers an initial two-year repayment free grace period. The Rabo Foundation is also an interesting partner for social enterprises.

Companies like Mud Jeans, Makers Unite and Circotex already benefited from the support of DOEN Participaties, an impact fund of the National Postcode Lottery.

Crowdfunding, Just Transition Fund IJmond, Mkb-innovatiestimulering Regio en Topsectoren and Kansen voor West are other funding options (all Dutch links). A comprehensive overview of all opportunities can be found on the Dutch Versnellingshuis Circulaire Economie website. Need more help? The Versnellingshuis is happy to provide advice.

Our Green Deal Circular Textiles initiative has an ambitious goal: by 2030, the region’s textile sector will be 70 percent circular, and then become fully circular as soon as possible. Forerunners in this sector are already working hard on this. Do you also see opportunities in this beautiful ecosystem and want to participate? Please contact Claire Teurlings.

4 July 2023

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