According to D66 Member of Parliament Romke de Jong, the reason why SMEs cannot yet benefit from the billions reserved for businesses is that the existing schemes are mainly aimed at large amounts. ‘Perhaps small entrepreneurs only need small investments,’ says De Jong. ‘Many of the schemes are estimated at high amounts, and then it would be nice if entrepreneurs were also given the opportunity to invest small amounts.’
Although he acknowledges that greening actions at large and industrial companies are more effective, he emphasizes the importance of sustainability among SMEs. ‘They also want to become more sustainable. Whether it’s to save money or to reduce their emissions,’ he continues. ‘But also because customers simply expect a company to do something about its environmental impact.’
De Jong therefore has little sympathy with the wait-and-see attitude of Minister Adriaansens, who first wants to wait for all kinds of evaluations and see how the regulations turn out. D66 advocates a micro fund with which entrepreneurs can borrow money easily, well and cheaply if they cannot cough up the investment amount themselves.
This should include companies and entrepreneurs for whom the available loans are insufficient or too large, says De Jong. ‘So small companies with loan amounts of up to 50,000 euros, such as the baker’, he explains. ‘He could switch from a gas oven to an electric oven, for example. But it could also be a company that wants to get rid of gas and install a heat pump.’
According to De Jong, the plan of a micro fund fits perfectly within the spring memorandum of Minister Sigrid Kaag of Finance, and smaller entrepreneurs are indeed taken into account. ‘150 million euros has been made available for making SMEs more sustainable, and we would like to see part of that amount reserved so that entrepreneurs can borrow well and cheaply in order to invest in making their own company greener.’