DHI: Demonstration project - Feasibility study - Investment preparation study

The subsidy program DHI (Demonstration projects, Feasibility study, Investment preparation study) aims at supporting Dutch companies in realizing the international ambitions. These ambitions can be export or investments in foreign markets; developing countries, emerging markets and developed countries. For developing countries a positive impact on sustainable developments is a condition. 

The DHI program comprises 3 modules, 1 focused on investments and 2 focused on export support: 

  1. Investment preparation study; focused on the preparation of investments of Dutch SME in foreign markets, stand alone or in joint venture.
  2. Feasibility study; focused on the support of export of a Dutch SME by supporting the potential client in executing a feasibility study related to the potential export;
  3. Demonstration project; focused on support of export of a Dutch SME by demonstrating a for the target country new technology.

The specific information of the three modules can be found in separated pages on this website. The general characteristics of the DHI program, applicable for all modules, are summarized hereafter: 

Difference between Feasibility study and Investment preparation study?

In case of a feasibility study, the potential client for technology, capital goods or services in one of the DHI countries takes decision to invest or not. In case of an investment preparation studythe Dutch SME takes the decision whether to invest ione of the DHI countries. In case of a investment in a developing country, the project needs to contribute to sustainable local developments. 


The DHI program is a subsidy program. 50% of the accepted costs are subsidized up to a maximum of € 100.000 subsidy (For Demonstration projects maximum € 200.000). The types of costs that are accepted can differ between the modules. In general costs that are accepted are time spent, ticket costs, board and lodging costs, local transport, depreciation costs for hardware in case of a demonstration project (very limited). Costs made by a foreign partner are not eligible.  


  • SME-check: Only Dutch SME companies can apply. Whether the Dutch company complies with this, can be checked with the mkb-check.
  • De-minimis: European regulations determine that Dutch companies can only receive maximum € 200.000 subsidy during 3 fiscal years for a number of selected subsidy programs, among which DHI. 
  • Agricultural producers: A Dutch SME agricultural producer can only receive maximum € 15.000 subsidy over a period of 3 fiscal years. Although there are exceptions.  
Exceptions for Dutch SME agricultural producers: 
  • Processing: in case the agricultural producer processes its produce to another product which is sold directly to consumers;
  • Sales: in case the agricultural producers has produce in stock with the aim to sell them to the consumer and the sales is executed in a separated space, specially for selling the produce. 

In both cases the agricultural producer can apply for the maximum subsidy of  € 200.000 during a period of 3 fiscal  years. 


The DHI program works with a tender procedure which is executed twice per year. Only the Dutch SME or a consortium of companies can apply. In case of a consortium one company takes the lead and submits the application. The procedure for application is as follows: 

  • Quick-scan: Before the final application can be made, a Quick-scan needs to be submitted with the Dutch agency RVO. The Dutch SME provides in the Quick scan among others information about the Dutch company/consortium and about the project. Based on t this RVO assesses whether it makes sense for the Dutch SME to prepare and submit an application (advise). The period for this is circa 2 weeks. 
  • Application: Aftr recieving the RVO advise, the final application can be prepared and submitted.

An Quick-scan can be submitted during the whole year, an application can only be submitted after the tender is open.  


The assessment of projects takes a period of 13 weeks. The assessment of an application is carried out in three steps based on (1) threshold criteria (2) exit criteria and (3) ranking.

Threshold criteria

Applications have to comply with the threshold criteria:

  • The application needs to be complete and submitted before the deadline;
  • Applicant is a Dutch SME (mkb-check). In case of a consortium, the leading partner needs to be a SME. Non-SME companies can be part of the consortium if this is needed for the project.  
  • Applicant or the members of the consortium need to have the knowhow and experience to execute the project. This does not mean that the Dutch SME should be active abroad, the main question is whether the Dutch SME has the serious intention to invest or export to foreign markets. 
  • The legible project costs need to be minimum € 50.000
  • The subsidy is applied for, is not more than 25% of the average annual turnover during the previous 3 years. In case the Dutch SME does exist less than 3 years, than the turnover of these years is divided by 3. 
  • The applied subsidy remains within the limits of the European de-minimis regulation. 
  • The leading partner of the consortium has minimum 3 employees (including management). 
  • With the project an export value of at least 10 times the applied subsidy is targeted and can be expected. This accounts for Demonstration projects, Feasibility studies and Investment preparation studies. However this is not applicable for Investment preparation studies in so called DGGF countries (see country list DGGF). In this case the export value should be at least 5 times the applied subsidy.

In case the application complies with the threshold criteria, than the application is assessed based on the exit criteria.  

Exit criteria

In case the contents of the application does not comply with the exit criteria, than the application will not be included in the next step. The exit criteria are:

  • The project should comply with the description of a demonstration project, feasibility study or investment preparation study as included in the text of the regulation. 
  • The budgeted project costs are largely eligible costs and are minimum € 50.000;
  • The applicant is a Dutch SME. In case of a consortium, the leading partner should be a Dutch SME. 
  • The potential export volume is minimum 10 times the applied subsidy. This does not account for projects in DGGF countries
  • Projects in DGGF-countries contribute to sustainable developments. 

In case the application complies with these criteria, than the application will enter the next step; Ranking. 

Ranking: based on award points

Your application is assessed based on a number of criteria for which award points are given. The result is a ranking. The project with the highest ranking is the first to benefit from the program. Award points are given for: 

Compliance with the target of the DHI program

  • Does the project contribute to (further) positioning of the Dutch SME in the target country?  New activities, new target market or new technology or service? 
  • Is support from the Dutch government justified?
  • Does the project, in case of a DGGF country, contribute to sustainable local developments?

Connection to the target market

  • Does it result in investments and export?
  • Is it realistic that the investments and the export can be financed? 
  • Is the project political feasible?
  • How will the activities be implemented locally?

The applicant

          • Is experience and knowhow available to execute the project?
          • Is the continuity of the Dutch SME guaranteed?
          • Is the project in line with your activities?

          The quality of the project

                  • Is the project plan logical and understandable?
                  • Risk mitigation included?
                  • Is the budget reasonable and are costs are necessary?
                  • No negative consequences from social and environmental point of view?

                  The assessment is not per country but over countries. However there are two budgets for the DHI program, one for DGGF-countries and one for the other countries. This means that, after the applications have been assessed, two separated rankings are made, one for ranking of projects for DGGF countries and one ranking for the projects in other countries. 


                  In case the application is awarded, the Dutch SME will receive a contract. In this contract among others, the payment of the subsidy is regulated and the obligations of the applicant are included. After the project is finalized, a final report is submitted based on which the final subsidy amount is determined.

                  Support from Agriment

                  Agriment has an extensive experience in the preparation of application for this and similar subsidy programs. Additionally, Agriment has an extensive experience in the execution of these projects, carrying out feasibility studies and developing business plans for companies active in Agri and Food chains. Additionally our support in project coordination and management creates the conditions that the subsidy is received in line with the real time and costs spent in the project. 

                  In case you have an idea for a project, or have some doubts whether your project could apply successfully, please contact us and we can support you in preparation of the Quick-scan and the application and if needed in the execution of the project.