Alternative financing for your business

You are looking for money to make your business plans a reality. Perhaps alternative financing suits you. What is alternative financing and which financing options are available for you? Below you will find an overview of different financing methods.

What is alternative financing?

Alternative financing is also called non-bank financing, as the financing does not come from a bank. In addition to banks, alternative financiers offer new forms of financing. Before you turn to these financing options, you should research subsidies and government schemes.

Alternative forms of financing

Family and friends

Start close to home. Do you ask family or friends to invest in your plans, or do they offer? It is smart to clearly write down the agreements about a private loan on paper. 


With crowdfunding you collect money via a platform from 'the crowd': people who want to invest money in your company. You first mobilise your network of friends and family so that you already have a part of the money before your campaign starts. Business crowdfunding often involves amounts from €50,000 and sometimes a bit less, starting at €25,000.


With leasing, you pay for the use of business assets such as a car, machine, or computer as a form of rent. Private lease for your car is an alternative for self-employed professionals. 


With factoring and debtor financing, a lender such as a bank or factoring company provides you with a form of credit or advances an invoice amount. With some factoring companies, you can get invoices of €1.000 in advance. With invoice financing, you sell your invoice to a financier.

Microcredit and SME credit

Microcredit is a business loan of up to €50,000 for starting and existing entrepreneurs. An SME loan is a business loan of a minimum of €50,000 and a maximum of €250,000. You can request both from financier Qredits.

Business angels

Business angels are private or informal investors, often former entrepreneurs, who – alone or with a group – invest an amount between €50,000 and €750,000 in your company. They also have expertise and experience that they are willing to share, as well as access to their personal network.

Credit union

credit union is a cooperative of entrepreneurs that offers financing and coaching for amounts between €50,000 and €250,000.

Strategic partner

strategic partner is a person or organisation. It can be a business angel or a private equity firm. But important competitors, customers, suppliers, and acquisition candidates can also finance your plans.

Seed fund

Seed fund is a special Venture Capital (investment) fund, partly financed by the government, that focuses on innovative starters (0-5 years) from an amount of €200,000.

Direct lending

Direct lending is the financing of businesses by companies and institutional investors without the intervention of a bank. This is done through SME funds and specialised financing portals.

Online credit via fintech

Using financial technology, a fintech financier organises the financing process. Application, review, and pay-out can be done fast. It concerns amounts from €5,000 to €250,000 or higher. For example, online credit, online working capital, matching platforms, advance credit via an ATM, and an advance credit for an online shop.

Private debt fund

A private debt fund is another form of direct lending. A private debt fund provides subordinated loans to SMEs. In the event of bankruptcy, other creditors then have priority. To qualify, you must make a profit, generate sufficient cash flow, and not be able to get extra credit from a bank. Financiers offer an amount between €250,000 and €10 million intended for growth, innovation, business takeover, or refinancing.


Invest-NL is a private investment fund with a focus on energy transition and innovative scale-ups. The guideline for an investment amount is €5 million, whereby the fund finances 50 percent of the required amount. Invest-NL uses a quickscan to estimate if a project or company qualifies for a contribution.

SME Stock exchange

The NPEX is a stock exchange for SME entrepreneurs looking for (growth) capital for an amount between €1 million and €10 million. Nxchange is another stock exchange for SME entrepreneurs aimed at direct trading of securities between companies and investors. At Nxchange, your SME company can also raise startup, innovation, and growth capital by issuing shares or bonds via blockchain. Financing from €200,000.

Venture Capital fund

Venture Capital fund is an investment fund aimed at high-risk investments in innovative and/or fast-growing companies. Investments from approximately €200,000 and almost always against a percentage of shares. Private equity firms manage the assets of institutional investors and investment funds. They focus on larger SMEs with amounts between €1 million and €2 million.

Regional Development Agencies

Regional Development Agencies (Regionale ontwikkelmaatschappijl, ROM) are venture capital companies of the provinces and invest mainly in innovative and fast-growing companies. The conditions differ per ROM and the minimum amount is €50,000

Startup Box

Via the Startup Box, you can see if there is Dutch government funding aimed at innovation that is suitable for your startup.

Stock exchange

The stock exchange (in Dutch) focuses on larger companies with an equity capital of €5 million and a share value of €5 million. A new stock market trend is the SPAC, a special purpose acquisition company. SPACs are companies that use their stock exchange listing to raise capital for an acquisition or merger. At the time of the IPO (initial public offering), investors do not yet know in which company they will ultimately invest. SPACs do not have an existing business on the day of their IPO.

Islamic business financing

Islamic or halal corporate financing takes into account the following rules:

  • Interest may not be charged.
  • You may not use money for alcohol, weapons, pornography, gambling, and prohibited foods such as pork.
  • Certainty and clarity are a priority in contracts and transactions to prevent irresponsible risks.
  • Gambling is prohibited: you cannot make a profit based on chance, where one wins and the other loses. A fair distribution of risk and profit is important.

Financing can be done through the sale of shares in a private limited company. A partnership or joint venture is also an option. A financier contributes money, and a company provides production and personnel. Leasing or hire purchase is also an option.

KVK Guide for business financing

Are you looking for money for your company? The KVK Guide for business financing explains how you go about it.  

Subsidies and government schemes

In addition to subsidies, the subsidy overview also contains guarantees, financial contributions, and tax measures.

Decree on social assistance for the self-employed (Bbz)

You can apply for financial support from the municipality where you live through a credit or supplement to your income. You can apply for Bbz (Besluit bijstandverlening zelfstandigen) support:

  • if you want to start a business and receive social assistance benefits;
  • when you have temporary financial problems as an established entrepreneur;
  • when you are 55 years of age or older with a non-viable business;
  • you want to end your business.

Investment Security Review Act

Since June 1, 2023, the government checks investments that pose a risk to national security. This is set out in the Investments, Mergers and Acquisitions Security Screening Act (Wet veiligheidstoets investeringen, fusies en overnames, Vifo). The security test applies to two types of companies in the Netherlands:

  • suppliers of critical processes
  • companies that have sensitive technology.

The security test applies to investments from all countries.

More success for your funding application

Increase your chances

Select a financing form using the financing flowchart so that you can find a suitable financier. Before submitting a financing application, view the criteria that financiers check against. Adjust your business operations in advance where necessary and discover alternatives if you score less on a certain criterion. The Financing your business video explains the steps you need to take.  

Video: Financing your business

Help and preparation

To help you prepare your financing application, use a business plan, annual figures, and the Business Model Canvas. Consider asking for help from a finance consultant who can speed up the process with their knowledge and network.

Financing quality mark

Stichting MKB Financiering (SMF) offers 2 quality marks for non-bank financing:

With annual audits and training modules, the affiliated parties and financiers are bound by a code of conduct (in Dutch). Quality in service is paramount. The Kifid complaints desk intervenes in disputes between financiers and entrepreneurs.