Inspiring entrepreneurs

A CEB loan of €16.6 million, approved in 2018, has enabled Qredits to lend to micro, small and medium-size enterprises (MSMEs) with the aim of creating and preserving jobs and entrepreneurship.

Rachel Swaab
Photo: Jaap van den Beukel
Qredits is an innovative Netherlands-based microfinance institution (MFI) that provides credit and business development services to micro-entrepreneurs. Established in 2009, it has created 25,000 jobs and approved 15,000 business loans.  

Qredits focuses on businesses with a viable business plan but unable to obtain financing through regular channels. Its forward-thinking approach to microfinance comes from leveraging the intensive use of technology while retaining the personal character of microfinance.  

Loan officers, who oversee a specific geographical area, visit applicants at home or work. The loan assessment process is fully tailored to the applicant’s needs – a vital element given that start-ups and small businesses cannot be assessed through standardised methods and criteria.  

The way Qredits bundles loans with business development services has also proved critical to enhancing its economic sustainability.   

Support from the CEB

A CEB loan of €16.6 million, approved in 2018, has enabled Qredits to lend to micro, small and medium-size enterprises (MSMEs) with the aim of creating and preserving jobs and entrepreneurship. The CEB loan has promoted Qredits' financial sustainability, allowing it to lower its interest rate from 10.75% to 8.75% and provide free e-learning materials.   

“As a result of the CEB’s financial support, Qredits can finance more start-up entrepreneurs who are unable to get a loan from a commercial bank. The CEB is having a macro-economic impact on micro-entrepreneurs – positively impacting their lives as they try to improve their social and economic welfare.” 

Courses and services

Qredits provides coaching to its clients and the general public via a network of some 600 coaches who are entrepreneurs, accountants and marketing experts. All for free. There is a range of e-learning and in-person training programmes for different target groups, including:

  • A free e-learning course on 'How to write a business plan' for starting entrepreneurs. This offers a business plan template plus step-by-step guidance on writing a compelling business plan.
  • In-person training on marketing and social media, book-keeping and personal effectiveness.
  • Group training for entrepreneurs on writing a business plan and creating a marketing strategy.
  • Entrepreneurship programmes in some 800 schools.
  • Training on entrepreneurship for migrants and refugees, with the aim of increasing the number of loans offered to these vulnerable groups. Qredits works in partnership with cities and local government, for example, the City of Rotterdam, to develop customised training for migrants.

Success fuels success

Qredits has become one of the most innovative and forward-thinking microfinance organisations in Europe. Some 86% of the businesses established with support from Qredits still exist after three years, compared to a benchmark of an average of 74% for start-up businesses in the Netherlands. Qredits is now sharing its know-how globally through Qredits lnternational, established in July 2018.  

“Qredits' business model has proven to be financially sustainable; however, its main challenge now is to ensure this continues and that it can manage the growth in the volume of loans while maintaining the quality of its loan advisory services. Qredits has approached the CEB to request fresh funding now its original loan has been disbursed,” says Holger Seifert, Country Manager for Netherlands at the CEB.

Case study

Train Lodge gets on track

Harry de Boer
Photo: Jaap van den Beukel.
For many years Harry de Boer enjoyed organizing train trips to the Alps but when demand slowed he looked for a new way to make the most of the train carriages he owned. That’s when the idea for a hostel with sleeper cars located next to Amsterdam’s Sloterdijk Station presented itself.  

While Harry already owned the train carriages, he needed to find a lender willing to finance their remodelling and the creation of the hostel. With Qredits on board, Harry could finally start making it happen. The Train Lodge hostel has been running at full speed since 2015, and offers 132 beds in 44 compartments. 

Fast facts - Qredits

  • Formed in 2009
  • 25,000 jobs created
  • 15,000 business loans approved
  • 14,000 clients
  • Disburses over 5,000 new loans each year
  • 86% of Qredits’ clients’ businesses still exist after three years (vs c.74% for start-ups in the Netherlands)
  • Enabled the government of the Netherlands to save over €47m in social welfare benefits

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