Your project may be rejected in its entirety or in parts. After you have submitted your WBSO application, you will receive the S&O declaration from the RVO (National Agency for Enterprising Netherlands). This statement indicates how the RVO has assessed your project application. It may be that the RVO finds that your project does not meet the requirements, that they do not find it technically challenging enough or that there is too much commercial interest in developing the project.
If you disagree with the RFO's assessment, you can start the objection procedure. To start this procedure, the party applying for the WBSO must submit a notice of objection to the Legal Affairs Department of the RFO. This must be done within six weeks of receiving the R&D statement. In the notice of objection, explain why you disagree with the RVO's assessment and why, in your opinion, the project does meet the requirements of the WBSO subsidy.
After submitting the objection, you will receive an answer from the RFO within six weeks. In the event that the RFO has not provided an answer within those six weeks, in special cases it may be that another six weeks will be allowed. You will be notified of this by the RFO. In the answer of the RFO you will receive an invitation for a hearing. During this hearing you will have the opportunity to explain what you have put in the objection and the RFO will have the chance to respond to this.
Does it make sense to object?
If your WBSO application has been rejected because the personnel listed on the application are not approved for the project (due to a lack of technical background, for example), then it is unwise to file an objection. In that case, you simply do not meet the requirements.
Do you think the RFO is misinterpreting your project? Then you should first ask yourself whether objecting makes sense and has a chance of success. Of course, it is quite possible that you can already show more of your project. This can give more substance to the application. Of course, even in that case, it is never guaranteed.
Besides these examples, it is also important to realize that an objection process costs time and money. For example, you have to travel to Zwolle for the hearing and the time you invest in getting your case right can be invested elsewhere. Especially for small subsidy amounts, this can make it better to let the WBSO approval go. However, be careful if you claim the Innovation Box with your project, include this in your deliberations.
What can you do to prevent your project from being rejected?
If your project is rejected in its entirety, the RFO probably has a very good reason for this. For a rejection, RFO will usually call you or your intermediary for consultation. The evaluator will discuss the application with you and indicate why he believes the application does not meet the conditions. There is then often an opportunity to provide a clarification or more information that will still move the decision in the right direction.
Because the RVO was established to support Dutch entrepreneurs, it is also in their interest to provide the subsidy to everyone who is entitled to it. So if your project is rejected, then the WBSO is most likely not the right subsidy for your project. So to ensure that you do not end up with a disapproved project, it is important that your project meets the requirements of the WBSO. For more info on the projects that qualify for the WBSO, check out our blog.
Do you have doubts about the suitability of your project? Or would you like to know more about how we can guide you through this process? Then contact us and we will think with you.