I recently returned from a trip to the Netherlands, where my mother and her family are from. Being in the Netherlands brought back many memories, especially of the time when I lived in Utrecht. As many of my colleagues know, I studied International Law at University College Utrecht. What many of them don’t know is that I minored in Entrepreneurship. I have always had a passion for business and, because I consider myself a lifelong learner, I wanted to learn all that I can about growing businesses. Thus, when the opportunity to participate in a minor program in Entrepreneurship offered by the Utrecht School of Economics was brought to my attention, I didn’t hesitate to sign up.
While I was on this trip to the Netherlands, I was curious about how entrepreneurship in the Netherlands was evolving and I decided to take a deeper look. What I found was a surprising article published by Erasmus University in Rotterdam in which Professor Henk Volberda stated, based on his research, that “the Netherlands achieved a high score as a competitive economy, but this offers no guarantee of a strong entrepreneurial climate.” The article also stated that many of the Netherlands’ neighbors, such as Germany, Denmark, and Ireland, had “more growth potential and creation of new employment by entrepreneurs.” This finding took me by surprise because the Netherlands was known for its mercantilism and pioneering spirit as far back as the 1500s.
Interestingly, the Dutch government has been working on creating an “entrepreneurship friendly” environment by offering various incentives to entrepreneurs to create new businesses. What fascinated me most about the incentives is the Dutch government’s desire to bring in entrepreneurs from other countries. Specifically, the Dutch government passed a new regulation that will make it possible for “ambitious entrepreneurs” from outside of the EU to obtain a temporary residency permit in the Netherlands so they can start a business within the country’s borders. The entrepreneur will have one year to launch the business. They must have a mentor during their first year. Once the business is launched, the “ambitious entrepreneur” can have his or her residency permit extended by the Dutch government.
That’s Great! But why would I move to the Netherlands?
Aside from amazing cheese and a rich history, the Netherlands can be a great place to launch a business. First, the plan above requires that you have a mentor in your first year of business. Think back to when you started your current business. Did you have a mentor? If so, didn’t you love having their assistance? If not, do you wish you had a mentor? When I first joined Access, Marina, my mom, was my mentor and she helped me get through many unforeseen hurdles of being in business – and Access wasn’t even a start up!
Additionally, the Netherlands has a budget of 75 million euros to help entrepreneurs launch their businesses, and the Netherlands is a gateway to the rest of the world. It is easy to get anywhere else from the Netherlands. Notably, many multinational corporations place their EU seat in the Netherlands for the benefits that it offers and they are connected through an initiative called StartUp Delta. Not only can you enjoy the benefits of being an entrepreneur in Holland, you can connect with other businesses, as well.