Entrepreneurship is thriving in Netherlands

In focus: Some government policies & schemes for women entrepreneurs in the Netherlands

Entrepreneurship in the Netherlands is thriving, and it can be noted that recognition of the value of the enterprise spirit has also risen substantially. This favourable development has also had an effect on the country’s economic performance. The Dutch economy has grown in the past decade by an average of 3 per cent; and during this period, approximately 1.3 million jobs have been created. It is therefore not surprising that Netherlands can fit into the ‘new economy’.

It’s a fact that students now regard entrepreneurship as a serious option – either for the future or as an activity to be pursued alongside their studies. And more and more employees are familiarizing themselves with aspects of entrepreneurship too. These developments are indeed promising, for entrepreneurship is the foundation on which prosperity and welfare are built.

Another point to note is that The Netherlands’ innovative top sectors are among the world’s best. The government wants to further strengthen their position in the international scenario too. The Netherlands has nine top sectors: Horticulture and propagation materials, Agri-food, Water, Life sciences and health, Chemicals, High tech, Energy, Logistics and Creative industries.

Here are some government policies and schemes for women entrepreneurs in the Netherlands.

>Government’s Policy for Entrepreneurs

The government at Netherlands supports entrepreneurs, which is a very positive move, as we know that entrepreneurs are good for the economy and employment too. Specifically, the government supports innovative startups and assists their growth.

The central government’s policy for entrepreneurs aims to strengthen the Netherlands’ position as one of the world’s top five most competitive economies; and also increase spends on research and development.

Supporting innovative enterprise : The government supports innovative enterprise in a number of ways – Increasing scope for finance: The government has many financial schemes for entrepreneurs wanting to expand their businesses quickly and innovative entrepreneurs.

Promoting cooperation between researchers & the private sector : The government is working with the private sector and knowledge institutions mainly to improve public-private partnership.

Reducing the regulatory burden on entrepreneurs : The government is taking specific steps – to reduce the regulatory burden on entrepreneurs. These include granting permits more quickly (or even automatically) and also making greater use of digital technology.

Developing IT tools for entrepreneurs : Providing government services online certainly reduces the regulatory burden on entrepreneurs. It also offers unlimited scope for new products or for making business processes more efficient.

Helping entrepreneurs access networks : Good networks are important because they help businesses grow. The government is using tools to help entrepreneurs build solid networks: like trade missions abroad, as the Netherlands can access new foreign markets. Currently, the focus here is on emerging markets like Brazil and India.


>The Startup Box

Do you want to search for government funding? The Startup Box is an online tool that helps you to specially identify if there is a Dutch government funding instrument, which is suitable for your startup. Often, for many entrepreneurs, government funding is hard to navigate and financing difficult to find. The Startup Box explains what you need and what you can expect.

To elaborate, The Startup Box is an initiative of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, StartupDelta (now TechLeap.nl), Netherlands Chamber of Commerce KVK and Netherlands Enterprise Agency. If you have any questions about the Startup Box, email or call the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce.


Encouraging top sector innovation

To be noted is that the government in Netherlands is encouraging innovation in top sectors in many ways with interesting activities like.

>>National Icons Competition : Every two years, the government selects several projects or products as winners of the National Icons Competition. These projects and products show how Dutch innovations are among the world’s best. The winning entries all address major social issues.

>>Innovation Expo : Taking innovations further, realizing breakthroughs, and thus contributing to the social challenges – that is the aim of the Innovation Expo. This event takes place every two years – to solve major social challenges in the fields of the circular economy, energy, water, mobility, the built-up environment, health, and food, as well as the required enabling technologies.

>>‘Volg Innovatie’ database : The ‘Volg Innovatie’ database is managed by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency. Basically, it provides information on the funds the Ministry of Economic Affairs spends on various projects.

>>National Science Agenda : The Ministry of Economic Affairs & Climate Policy’s National Science Agenda identifies focus themes for scientific research in the near future. It analyzes questions like: What areas hold promise for the Dutch science sector? How can science help find solutions to social issues? How can science create economic opportunities for innovation.

>>Innovation Attaché Network : Innovation attachés are based at Dutch embassies and consulates, and they assist Dutch companies that are doing business abroad. For instance, by introducing them to potential partners, like research institutions or other companies.

>>Smart Industry : The Smart Industry initiative (in Dutch) aims to smartly strengthen Dutch industries – by promoting the use of cutting-edge IT and technology, like 3D printing, nanotechnology and robots.


>Supporting ambitious entrepreneurs and startups

The government goes out, wishing to help ambitious startups and other entrepreneurs to grow quickly.

> Ambitious Entrepreneurship Action Plan

The government supports (startup) entrepreneurs through its Ambitious Entrepreneurship Action Plan, which provides better access to capital, knowledge, innovation and the global market. Plus, the government has set aside €75 million to for the following activities:

  • early-stage finance for researching whether an idea or product is technically feasible and suitable for the market;
  • strengthen the international position of startups and growing businesses.
  • attract foreign startups to the Netherlands through Techleap and Netherlands Point of Entry;
  • provide temporary residence permits for non-EU entrepreneurs,
  • develop the NLevator initiative – a platform created for and by ambitious entrepreneurs which aims to help businesses grow faster;
  • fund Eurostars projects – innovative technology development projects involving business and knowledge partners from at least two different European countries;
  • provide funding under Horizon 2020, the European Commission programme to stimulate European research and innovation


The Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO)

The Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) assists entrepreneurs and organizations in many useful ways – to invest, develop and expand their businesses and projects (both in Netherlands and abroad). This is a government agency which is part of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy.

Significantly, they support entrepreneurs, NGOs, knowledge institutes, policymakers and organizations. They work towards improving collaborations and strengthening positions through funding and networks. By sharing know-how, they help you move forward doing business abroad.


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