By Ed Koster
My name is Ed Koster and I am a financial business coach at Mercator Launch. As a business coach, I try to help starting entrepreneurs find investors and get their first funding. This seems simple enough, but getting funded always requires a lot of work and careful preparation. Curious about how this process at Mercator Launch works?
Follow the program and get started
Well, first you come up with an innovative business idea and apply for our IMPROVE program at Mercator Launch. This program consists out of:
- The Discovery Track, a 6-step program that supports entrepreneurs in the important first stages of validating your business idea, and;
- The Venture Track, a subsequent program in which the focus lies on creating competitive advantage, get your first customer, design your MVP, how to pitch perfectly and crunch the numbers and get funded!
Write a business plan
During these tracks, entrepreneurs validate their assumptions regarding the product and the market need. At the end of the IMPROVE program, entrepreneurs have all the ingredients for a good business plan. And this plan is the basis for a funding application.
Apply for a starting voucher
If you need to improve your business case, say for example, that you need a prototype of your product or that you need to conduct market research to get to know more about your customer. Gelderland Valoriseert, a regional investor whose goal is to strengthen the innovative power of the region, offers starting vouchers of 2500 euros. And this can be a great first step!
The application process for this voucher is quite simple. The only thing you need to do, is write your business plan and prepare a pitch for the Gelderland Valoriseert committee. This pitch has to be 3 minutes long and afterwards there’s a question round of about 10 minutes. So, if you combine a strong business plan with a great pitch, you’ve got a pretty good chance! Want to know more about this voucher? Talk to a business coach!
Get an investor on board
Once your business case is solid, you can apply for a special startup loan at Startup Fonds Gelderland, up to a maximum of € 250.000. This money will help you develop your solution and bring it to the market. It is a lot of money, so you will be judged by a professional investment committee. There are strict requirements for the business plan and there must be sufficient insight into the (expected) turnover within 2 years. Naturally, all Mercator Launch business coaches are here to help starting entrepreneurs with their application!
Find yourself a business angel
A great next step is often to find a business angel. This is an entrepreneur, who has successfully sold his/hers business, and is now helping starters financially. A business angel brings money and knowledge (not unlike the dragons of Dragon’s Den 😉). Of course, the business angel does not do this for free and wants a return on his investment in exchange for their money, time and knowledge.
When you successfully entered the market and you need to scale up further, you can go for funding to OostNL. The further along the way to success a company is and the better the figures, the easier it is to raise capital.
The struggle is mainly in the beginning when you do not have a working product yet and no guarantee whether the market wants to purchase your product or service. But the good news is: Mercator Launch is here to help!
Well, this is how you fund your startup in a nutshell. Want to know more about it? Go to www.mercatorlaunch.nl and contact one of the business coaches.
P.s.: OostNL is hosting an event called ‘How2Finance’ on November 13th. Check out this link for more information!Contact Ed