The EUR 7.6 billion of extra support measures that the Cabinet is now releasing to entrepreneurs means that people who have previously been out of the boat sometimes get money from the government. “To reach the other side together in one piece,” said Minister of Social Affairs this afternoon about the purpose of the aid.
For example, entrepreneurs will be met even more in their fixed costs, there will be an increase in the wage subsidy and there will be a separate scheme from spring onwards for start-ups who started business between 1 January and 30 June 2020. But, uh, does that support come on time?
Starter scheme: Waiting for months is too long
The starter fund is a nice gesture, but according to hospitality entrepreneur Benjamin Charro it is one that comes far too late. “Actually, this is a package of nothing: entrepreneurs like me need retroactive money to pay outstanding debts and get air. We also have to wait for months to come when that time is simply not there.”
The entrepreneur has four months of rental arrears and debts that have yet to be paid off. Charro already had a business in Enschede and decided to start a second restaurant at the end of 2019. Before that, he had to turn a store into a restaurant. He financed this with loans from suppliers and relatives. When he could open, the coronacrisis came. But since he was a starter, he got zero financial support.
Charro expects the crisis to last for a while. He cant bridge that time without financial support. “I even tapped into my childrens savings. Give money earlier, deposit it in our account if necessary to give some air, but dont let us wait until May. The creditors want money, they dont give any help.”
It opened in November after all, although it sometimes yields very little. “I have days when I turn a turnover of six euros, sometimes nothing. You laugh at such a sum.”
Granting fixed expenses also for large companies: Good news
The extension of fixed charges (TVL) also requires assistance to large companies: previously only small and medium-sized enterprises could claim it. The wage subsidy, the NOW, is also being extended. “We are pleased with this package,” says Mieke van Deursen, founder of clothing chain Shoeby.
With 230 shops throughout the Netherlands and 1500 employees, the loss of turnover of her company is due to the coronacrisis in the millions. “If you look purely at the money we will get from the government, its not even a huge amount: our fixed burdens are higher, but it gives room again. All the little bits help and thats what its all about.”
Van Deursen says that the extra money also helps for a positive mindset for employees. “You noticed that everyone was getting a little insecure and restless. In this press conference, I felt real understanding. This gives perspective to make everything ready again in the shops when we are allowed to open again. Then we can make it a feast.”
Guarantee fund for events: Very important
While the organisation of the British music festival Glastonbury cancels the upcoming edition, the Dutch festival industry hopes to start again carefully this season. Paaspop is the festival that traditionally kicks off the season in the Netherlands. Director of Peter Sanders calls such a fund very important. “Because we organize festivals with million-dollar budgets. And the risk of a festival being canceled because of a virus, of course, leads to enormous damage.”
Also the director of the hip hop festival WOO HAH! is happy. Thanks to the Guarantee Fund, he now dares to get to work:
According to Sanders, those risks are too great. “Previously, we were able to insure ourselves against pandemics, but that option has been removed by insurers from the policies. That is why a state fund is very important. Its about the combination that the government says then and then you can organise another event and then we also have a fund that guarantees if it cant happen.”
That the fund is available for events after July, according to the organizer, is not bad. “Of course, Paaspop is always at Easter but we already considered moving it to September. That offers a lot of advantages: then you have nice weather. And then in 2022 just again Paaspop in April.”