A world of international opportunities for SMEs

Asia and Africa offer a world of opportunities for Dutch SMEs. But Dutch entrepreneurs rarely realise their investment plans in these regions. Rabobank is deploying its experience and extensive international network to help this group tap into the possibilities.

Obtaining export financing is often an insurmountable obstacle for SMEs. Harry Weinands of Export Finance explains: ‘SMEs find that most banks are not interested in entering into transactions under ten million euros. We take a different approach because Rabobank is committed to making a maximum effort to support this group of clients to achieve growth. That’s why the amount of a request for financing is not a reason for us to say no. Thanks to our involvement in various projects worldwide, we also understand the time and perseverance it takes to build a successful company in developing countries. More and more SMEs are consequently turning to us to finance their international growth.’

Government funds

Rabobank often uses Dutch government facilities when helping SMEs get started in Asia and Africa. Han Bartelds of Export Finance: ‘If a local Rabobank needs additional assistance to support an export transaction for one of their clients, we can provide an internal guarantee or offer a structure for reducing the financial risks for the bank. And we can also, when necessary, use Dutch government facilities, such as the Dutch Good Growth Fund (DGGF). This fund is designed to promote Dutch investment in 66 primarily low and middle income countries.’

Discovering opportunities

Rabobank not only plays a role as financier, it also helps find opportunities in emerging markets. The bank often works in association with other organisations in order to bring opportunities to light. Weinands: ‘We recently organised a seminar on the development of the dairy sector in Sri Lanka together with the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Wageningen University. Dutch companies with expertise in the field of processing and distributing dairy are welcomed with open arms in Sri Lanka. So the country offers fantastic opportunities across the chain for Dutch SMEs.’

‘This ultimately not only benefits the Dutch businesses. By pointing out opportunities in, for example, Sri Lanka to our clients, we also help bring about more effective food and agri chains in developing countries.’

Read more