In association with the two other universities located in the province of South Holland, Erasmus MC is to establish a new fund designed to support spin-offs, i.e., small companies seeking to apply scientific findings. The fund is slated to start issuing grants this summer.

In addition to Delft University of Technology, Leiden University Medical Centre and Erasmus Medical Centre, fund participants will include the South Holland provincial authorities, the municipal authorities of the cities involved and InnovationQuarter, a regional development society. These parties have committed to investing a total of 22 million euros, which sum also includes an EU subsidy which has by now been applied for.

Valley of Death

According to Erasmus MC’s Thijs Spigt, the fund is intended to fill the gap between real start-ups and so-called “scale-ups”, i.e. companies which have outgrown the developmental stages and wish to move up a level. Spigt calls this gap “the Valley of Death”. “These will be small companies which have already begun operating and now wish to develop a prototype. Investment companies and banks tend to consider this stage too risky, thus causing such companies to get stuck. In such cases the government needs to get on board. This fund will enable us to support our own spin-offs.”

Spigt thinks the arrangement will be very advantageous for the various parties involved: “We will be able to apply for grants in association with the provincial and municipal authorities, and the authorities will be pleased to see that the start-ups will create jobs.”