Generic grants for IT innovation projects

IT innovatieprojecten

Are you active in the development of IT solutions? Our colleague Roddy has shortlisted several grant programmes that are relevant to companies that are engaged in innovation in the fields of IT or ICT.

Grant Programmes for Individual Companies


The tax credit for research and development (WBSO) is a fiscal programme intended to stimulate businesses by the Dutch government. Wage costs, but also other costs and expenses related to research and development work are partly compensated for via a reduction in income tax.

IT projects are eligible for WBSO when they are engaged in the development of new technical software. Technical challenges have to be overcome by writing new codes in a formal programming language (for example, .NET, Java, Python, or C++). In practice, this means that the mere implementation of pre-existing software elements, or the connecting thereof, is not eligible for WBSO, because this does not entail the writing of new codes.  

“The Innovation box”

Just like the above-mentioned WBSO, the “Innovation box” is a fiscal programme aimed towards stimulating businesses. However, whilst WBSO is aimed towards innovation, the Innovationbox is directed towards the phase shortly after the innovation has entered the market. When the Innovationbox has been awarded, companies that make a profit from innovations pay less corporation tax.

In order to be eligible for the Innovationbox, the innovation that has been developed has to derive from WBSO activities (for which an R&D declaration [“S&O verklaring”] has been obtained). In some cases, a patent for the innovation is also required.  


The Energy Investment Allowance (EIA) is a fiscal incentive scheme for entrepreneurs who pay income and corporation taxes, and is aimed towards stimulating investments into energy-saving company resources.

In order to qualify for the EIA, a minimum of 2,500 euros has to be invested. In addition, the energy-saving company resource cannot have been used previously, and must be listed on the Energy List of the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO). Moreover, the resource has to be reported within three months after the investment has been made. The Energy List also includes specific, software-related investments, making the EIA of potential interest for IT projects.

Grant Programmes for Consortia


The MIT Innovation Credit for SMEs (MKB-Innovatiestimulering Topsectoren) aims to support SMEs who conduct R&D activities within the so-called “top sectors”. These top sectors comprise:  

  • Agriculture & Food
  • Chemistry
  • Creative Industry
  • Energy
  • High Tech Systems and Materials
  • Life Sciences & Health
  • Logistics
  • Horticulture & source materials
  • Water & Maritime

MIT entails several instruments directed towards the work that is conducted during the different phases of an innovative IT project. These instruments consist of knowledge vouchers, feasibility projects (TRL 3-4), and R&D-cooperation projects (TRL 4-6). The Technology Readiness Level (TRL) indicates the phase of a technological development.

The MIT is attractive for IT organisations who are planning to cooperate in the field of innovation. In addition, (individual) feasibility assessments can be conducted as well, assessing the technical and economic feasibility of the project.


Eurostars is a European grant programme for SMEs who conduct research and aim to bring a technologically innovative product, process, or service to the market. An SME qualifies as a research-conducting SME when at least 10% of its profits or FTEs is dedicated to R&D activities. This programme offers opportunities to collaborate on innovation projects that are still at a relatively early stage of R&D (TRL 3-6).

In order to apply for Eurostars, two steps must be taken: First, a project proposal must be submitted to Eurostars’ secretariat in Brussels. Subsequently, if the proposal is accepted, the grant can be obtained in the Netherlands via RVO.

Another important requirement is that the consortium must include at least two partners from Eurostars’ countries. In addition, large companies, knowledge institutes, and universities can participate in an SME-led consortium.

SME Instrument

Similar to Eurostars, the SME instrument (“MKB instrument”) is granted by the European Commission as part of the Horizon 2020 programme. This instrument is intended to support SMEs to bring a new product, process, or service (TRL 6 or higher) onto the international market. It is possible to apply for a grant for the following phases in the development and commercialisation trajectory:

  • Feasibility studies, in which the technological, practical, and/or economic feasibility of the project is assessed;
  • Business innovation projects, in which the technology is further developed and demonstrated, preparing the product for introduction to the market. This can concern prototyping, testing, and demonstrating, but also, for example, the upscaling of a given technology, miniaturisation of certain parts, design, or market replication;
  • Business coaching, in which SMEs are supported in turning their innovation project into a commercial success.

Importantly, in addition to consortia, individual SMEs can also apply for the SME instrument.

We are at your service

If you would like to learn more about any of the above-mentioned grant programmes, please do not hesitate to contact us and discuss the possibilities in a non-binding intake conversation. Together with our clients, we assess the possibilities and the feasibility of your plans. Based on our assessment, you can make an informed decision as to enter the trajectory. We will provide you with honest advice pertaining to the route taken and your chances of success.  

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