Currently, SMEs cannot take advantage of the subsidy scheme to increase sustainability. Climate Secretary Rob Getten has the scheme in effect StopBecause energy consultants abuse it.
The subsidy was introduced in October last year and meant that small businesses could receive compensation if they hired a consultant who helped them become more sustainable. For example, a consultant could state if companies should switch to electric cars or perhaps install solar panels or a heat pump.
But in recent months, it appears that some advisers have tried to abuse the scheme. For example, they tell companies that their advice is free or that they are obligated to get energy advice. Some of the advisers also pretended to be employees of the Dutch Enterprise Agency, which implements the subsidy scheme on behalf of the government.
So Gettin decided to stop the arrangement, which actually lasted until the end of September, effective Thursday. The plan is to reintroduce the scheme, but perhaps with stricter requirements for advisors, so that abuse becomes difficult. If all goes according to plan, the support desk will reopen sometime in the fall. SMEs can still apply for a subsidy for advice obtained before July 14.
With the so-called Sustainability Support for Small and Medium Businesses (SVM), small businesses can get back up to 80 percent of the costs they incur when seeking energy advice. It aims to encourage entrepreneurs to turn green. A small and medium-sized company can receive a maximum of 2,500 euros in subsidy.
When it opened on October 1 last year, the support pot was valued at more than 28 million euros. Of this, 20 million euros remained. A number of requests are still pending.
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