Take the next step with your startup with the Novel-T TOP loan.
The TOP loan is a (pre-)seed fund for innovative startups in Twente. For a period of one year, it offers comprehensive support to businesses in the form of legal advice, communication advice, access to networks and a loan with favorable conditions. For more than twenty-five years, the TOP loan has been offering financial support and assistance with business development to hundreds of innovative organizations.
What is the TOP loan?
- A loan of up to €40,000;
- With an interest rate of 7.75%;
- The loan has a standard duration of 4 years;
- Of which the first 2 years are interest-only;
- The entrepreneur personally guarantees this loan for 20%.
Conditions of participation
In order to apply for a position in the loan, a number of conditions have to be met:
- The business is no older than five years and has or will have a Chamber of Commerce registration;
- An innovative and scalable business model;
- The business has not applied for and been granted a TOP position in the past;
- The business demonstrably contributes to the economic development of the East Netherlands region;
- There is a sustainable connection between the company and the University of Twente. For example, a student/employee relationship or a collaboration with research group or technology at the University of Twente.
Procedure for applying for TOP loan
To qualify for the TOP loan, the following procedure must be followed:
1. Intake meeting with the coordinator
2. Submission of intake form (Check conditions of participation)
3. Support in improving business plan (workshop, accountant, one-to-one meetings)
4. Submission of final business plan + check completeness (deadline: every first Wednesday of the month)
5. Presentation and rating by TOP commission (scheduled: every third Wednesday of the month)
6. After approval, an explanation of the supporting services on offer in the TOP loan, including the provision of the TOP loan by Qredits
7. Upon allocation: connection with external parties that provide support to the TOP loan
8. 6-month evaluation with the TOP commission
9. Final evaluation with the TOP commission after one year
Assessment and committee
The TOP Committee is made up of experienced entrepreneurs and possibly supplemented with representatives from the UT, Business Development team and financial experts. The committee meets on every third Wednesday of the month for the presentations of the potential TOP participants. The decision is based on the presentation and the business plan.
The committee expects a short pitch of 5 minutes in relation to the business plan. Subsequently, there is another 25 minutes to spar with the committee to gain a good understanding of the business case. Afterward, the commission discusses the business plan and presentation. The coordinator will contact you as soon as possible about the decision.
The TOP committee particularly assesses the extent:
- to which there is a well-considered, realistic, innovative and scalable business model that (preferably) solves a problem in the market;
- to market validation has taken place;
- to which there is an entrepreneurial and complementary team (financial, technical, commercial);
- it can be expected that the TOP loan can be repaid;
- there is already access to the market (or whether this can be expected in the near future);
- there is a demonstrable competitive advantage;
- the financial figures are realistic and correct;
- to which there is cooperation between the company and the University of Twente or whether it is realistic that this will be achieved.
Based on the (written) information and pitch, the TOP committee will decide:
- to award a TOP position, whether or not under certain conditions or;
- not to award a TOP position because the set criteria are insufficiently met or;
- to ask further questions and, if it so wishes, to give the entrepreneur the opportunity to pitch again.
Key points for the business plan
There are a number of things that must be described in the business plan:
- Financial paragraph with the TOP loan and repayment obligation;
- The motivation for submitting a proposal to the TOP loan;
- Evidence of the added value for the East Netherlands region (e.g. location of business)
- How cooperation with University of Twente is envisaged.
You’ll find a concise checklist of the business plan here. In case you need extra information for writing the business plan or draw up the financial part, the coordinator can supply in this.
What do we expect from a TOP participant?
The TOP loan offers a huge amount of financial and practical advantages. Both financial and practical. We expect, in return, a certain level of effort from a TOPper. This effort should be obvious at the final meeting at which we expect the following from the entrepreneur:
- A presentation of the state of progress of the business plan;
- Transparency and an overview of the use of TOP loan;
- Annual financial report for the year ended from an accounts department. The annual report must be signed by an accountant. The signature confirms for the committee that the report has been fully and properly authorized and compiled;
The monitor of TOP results
Countless businesses have acquired a TOP position in the past. The TOP support has helped many of these companies realize impressive growth. We monitor these results periodically. You will find an overview of the success rates here.
Frequently asked questions
You’ll find all the frequently asked questions here. We have tried to be as complete as possible with these FAQs. However, if you cannot find the answers you are looking for please contact the coordinator.
Intake form for TOP loan
We ask you to fill in the form completely, but only after the intake meeting with the coordinator. You can find the intake form here. Please fill this in completely and we will contact you for further procedure.