How does it work?

Feeling inspired and can't wait to apply for an ELF Pre-seed loan? Then carefully read through the application procedure below.

Application procedure

  1. Intake – Meet with the Entrepreneurship Advisors of ELF Pre-seed
  2. Preparation – Fine tune the plan in coordination with the Entrepreneurship Advisors until the standards for application are met
  3. Application – Submit the final application, the Investment Manager will determine whether the application meets the formal requirements
  4. Pitch – The applicant will be invited to pitch the plan to a committee, which may consist of the Investment Manager, a representative of Rabobank and an entrepreneur, within five weeks of handing in the final application
  5. Decision – The committee will come to a decision based on the application and the pitch
  6. Offer – The Investment Manager will notify the applicant, within one (1) week of the pitch, of the decision. A positive decision will result in an offer, including the amount, milestones and other conditions for the loan.
  7. Acceptance – If the applicant accepts the offer, the Investment Manager will arrange the setting up of the accounts and will provide a loan agreement including a loan schedule.
  8. Follow up – After the applicant has received the loan, the applicant will inform the Investment Manager about the development of their venture on a regular basis.


1. Intake
The first step is an intake meeting with the Entrepreneurship Advisors to state an interest in applying for an ELF Pre-seed loan. The Entrepreneurship Advisors will assess the idea -  how it fits with the conditions and goals of ELF Pre-seed, and its status - and determine what needs to  be done to turn it  into a formal application. Regardless of whether an applicant would like to continue with the application process after this meeting, the Entrepreneurship Advisors may be able to help the applicant with relevant contacts and other resources to assist in taking the idea further.

2. Preparation
If the applicant decides to go ahead and apply for an ELF Pre-seed loan he/she has to prepare an application such that both the idea and the plan for execution can be reviewed. The Entrepreneurship Advisors will be available to provide feedback, in what can be an iterative process,to improve the quality of the application. Ultimately, it is  up to the discretion of the applicant to decide to formally apply for a ELF Pre-seed loan.

3. Application
Once the applicant deems the application ready for review , he/she sends the application to the Investment Manager. The application should be accompanied by a recent copy of the applicant’s passport, and if the applicant is a student, a copy of the applicant’s bachelor’s degree. All correspondence will go through Luris, the Knowledge Exchange Office of Leiden University and Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC). Each application will be reviewed by the Investment Manager. All submitted documents and correspondence, including drafts and the pitch, will be treated as confidential. All members of the fund committee will be bound by a requirement to maintain confidentiality and avoid conflicts of interest.

4. Pitch
If the application does not meet the standards in quality and contents, the applicant will be informed by the Investment Manager which part(s) of the application failed to meet the requirements. Applicants can re-submit their application. If the application meets the above standards in quality and contents, the Investment Manager will forward the application to the fund committee and the applicant will be invited to pitch within five (5) weeks of receipt of the application.

5. Decision
The application and pitch will be evaluated by the fund committee, which may consist of members representing ELF Pre-seed, former recipients of ELF Pre-seed funding and relevant experts. The fund committee will base its decision on both the application and the pitch given by the applicant. The application and pitch will be evaluated on:

  • the action plan including the budget, proposed deliverables and milestones;
  • the motivation and ambition of the applicant;
  • the pitch of the applicant and the reviews of the fund committee;
  • the fit of the application with the profile and priorities of ELF Pre-seed;
  • the potential benefit to the Leiden regional economic infrastructure, and;
  • the potential societal and commercial impact

6. Offer
The Investment Manager will notify the applicant, at the very latest within one (1) week of the pitch date, of the decision of the fund committee. A positive decision will consist of a loan agreement, which will contain (at least) the amount, milestones and the conditions mentioned above.

7. Acceptance
If the fund committee offers the loan and the applicant accepts, the Investment Manager will manage the follow-up of the applicant’s project. The agreed upon loan will be a personal loan and will be provided via a specific account at the Rabobank, opened for this purpose. The agreed upon sums will be made available according to the loan agreement. Release of the money is dependent on meeting specific criteria, also agreed upon beforehand. These criteria can be event specific (e.g. milestones) or time dependent (e.g. monthly allowance). 

8. Follow up
The recipient of the loan must report to the Investment Manager as frequently as agreed upon to avoid unnecessary debts and to make sure the money is used for the agreed upon objectives. In addition, both recipient and the Investment Manager need to make sure that the plan remains feasible.