Food Valley Society
Get connected with the members of Food Valley NL

Teckle team can help tackle tough innovation questions

Published: 17-05-2016, | Member: Rabobank

Entrepreneurs may find some steps in the innovation process more difficult than others. To help them take these hurdles, Rabobank has established 7 Teckle teams, specialized groups at local banks that provide critical assessments and sound financial advice. In this way, they assist innovative new businesses in taking the next step towards success.

“Startups often think the sky is the limit,” says Ben Smeenk, managing director of business clients at Rabobank Rijn en Vallei. “Sometimes they have no idea how many obstacles they’re going to find on their path before they can start cashing in. Rabobank has the experience and expertise to support these entrepreneurs and help them make their plans come true.”

Smeenk emphasizes that Teckle teams do much more than establish a credit line. “Our knowledge of the industry is exhaustive. Our clients can access this by asking our innovation specialists, or by consulting our practical app.” The Rabo Kennis app offers real time information on developments in various industries. Users can also access figures and trends, and loads of helpful publications and videos, Smeenk says. “Knowledge of the industry is a prerequisite for launching an innovation. Rabobank makes it easier to do market research and identify and monitor demand. In addition, entrepreneurs can benefit from our large international network of businesses, research centers, institutions and alternative financiers.”

The seventh Teckle team, specialized in agribusiness, was recently established at Rabobank Ede. Teckle teams help entrepreneurs, starters, spinoffs and startups in the Netherlands get their business plans off the ground. Every Teckle team is located near a university or other knowledge institute. “That’s where most knowledge and innovation power is concentrated, which makes it easier for our experts to call in outside help on innovation issues,” Smeenk says. “Our Teckle team experts are familiar with various disciplines from technology to sales and marketing, and funding. Rabobank has an in-house expert for almost every innovation issue our customers come across.”

Financial control
Rabobank is traditionally a farmers’ bank. With this background, it is active across the entire food production chain in the Netherlands and the rest of the world. Smeenk explains the benefits of these roots: “Our bank has very short lines of communication with knowledge institutes in and around Wageningen, and with the many agro-food businesses in the area. We can point agro-food entrepreneurs in the right direction and hook them up with the right business partner. In our view, it’s crucial that entrepreneurs take their business plans to the bank at an early stage. Together, we can assess the feasibility of the plans and decide what adjustments might be necessary.”

Innovation development is a multi-phase track, Smeenk explains. “Every phase has its own challenges. As a bank, we think it’s important that entrepreneurs have financial control every step of the way. Our Teckle team experts can help devise a ‘stacked funding’ plan. After all, some phases are high-risk and not fundable for banks. In those cases, we point entrepreneurs in the direction of other sources of money, such as subsidies, crowdfunding or informal investors.”

“As a bank that’s deeply rooted in the food and agribusiness, we’re looking forward to helping Food Valley entrepreneurs find their feet,” says Smeenk. “Agrifood is one of the main focus areas in Rabobank’s overall strategy. Our ‘Banking for Food’ concept is an example of that. This global concept is our attempt to help solve the worldwide food scarcity problem. We’re focusing on the sustainable use of natural resources, reducing food waste and creating sustainable profitability. Obviously, innovation plays a big role in this. And that closes the loop quite nicely, we believe.”

To find a local Rabobank with a Teckle team, go to www.teckle.nl. These branch offices regularly get together with other parties to organize ‘Meet & Grow’ events where entrepreneurs and financiers can get acquainted.

Rabobank