The idea for the Pre-financing & Guarantee Fund (VGF) was launched in the 1980s
The idea for the Pre-financing & Guarantee Fund (VGF) was launched in the 1980s by the Netherlands Board of Tourism & Conventions (NBTC). In concert with other parties, NBTC wanted to set up a fund to encourage scientists who were considering organising an international conference in Holland for several days. NBTC sought cooperation with the Dutch Conference Industry Association, now CLC Vecta, the Ministry of Economic Affairs, and some twenty organisations in the Dutch conference industry. In 1986, this resulted in the foundation of the Pre-financing and Guarantee Fund International Conferences Holland, abbreviated to VGF.
The current board of the VGF is represented by the following members:
Carola van der Hoeff
International Pharmaceutical Federation
Maurits van der Sluis
Sander de Hoop
SdH Event Management
The pre-financing scheme
In the preparatory stages of the conference, the organiser has to deal with various aspects that must be paid for. Examples are the costs for establishing a foundation, a down payment for the accommodation, and expenses incurred for developing marketing tools, such as a brochure, first announcement, or website.
As the registration fees will not be received until later, the organisers may not always be able to fund these initial expenses. The pre-financing scheme of the VGF can help to pay these costs.
Conference organisers may apply to the VGF for an interest-free loan, free of charge; a kind of subsidy scheme for conferences. The loan is capped at € 90,000, with the actual amount depending on the size of the conference and the liquidity forecast.
The guarantee scheme
All conference budgets have expenses and income. A limited risk only is attached to the costs, because conference organisers can benefit from the knowledge, experience and the stable infrastructure of the conference industry.
The income, however, is less solid. Most of the income, apart from possible sponsoring, comes from the registration fees of the attendees. This is exactly where the main risk lies for organisers. If the attendance level falls short of expectations, this yields less income, which will impact the overall conference budget.
In order to minimise this risk, the VGF offers the possibility of a guarantee. This guarantee allows the conference organisation to guarantee that the event will take place, in spite of possible disappointing numbers of attendees. The guarantee is capped at € 90,000, and the actual amount depends on various aspects, such as the size of the conference, the history of the conference, possible sponsoring, and the overall budget. Moreover, the budget must have been drawn up competently.