The Dutch government seems to understand the power of entrepreneurs and startups, which is why they put together the Ambitious Entrepreneurship Action Plan in an effort to improve access to capital, innovation, and the global market. The plan started in 2017, and nowadays, it’s easy to see the results.
To reach the current startup-pro environment, the Netherlands has put aside €75 million and has been a loud advocate of welcoming foreign entrepreneurs into their country. As a result, more tech startups have put down roots and grown on Dutch soil, which led to various economic advantages for the entire region.
In fact, some specialists even see the Netherlands as the next Silicon Valley! So, what were the measures that led to this amazing development, and what lessons can the US take from all of this?
Better Incoming Capital Management
A startup in the Netherlands has easier access to alternative financing solutions and doesn’t have to jump through hoops to get the financial resources for basic necessities. When you can adjust your debt to your revenue, and when you have government support, it’s easier to focus on development.
The US is still focused on venture capital and top-tier investors, which is why entrepreneurs and startups have a tough time getting started. And while alternative financing solutions and governmental support are available, American small businesses have more difficulties accessing the funds.
A Culturally Open Environment
The aforementioned plan created a tech-savvy and culturally open environment. Plus, most Dutch people speak English and are not averse to ex-pats living in their country. In fact, there are government tax incentives designed to attract talent from all over the world in an effort to build international teams.
Furthermore, the Dutch people are what’s called early adopters of technical products, which is one of the reasons innovations are welcome here. However, entrepreneurs should be prepared for a technologically advanced and curious population that likes to find their own solutions.
Room for Development
Everyone knows about San Francisco’s Silicon Valley, but very few people outside the world of startups and investors know that the Netherlands has lots of tech hubs (and successful ones) all over the country.
True, the country is small (especially compared to the US), but it helps to provide entrepreneurs with room to develop and access different levels of population. In the Netherlands, you don’t just have San Francisco, Austin, or Denver, which are great tech hubs but also cover a lot of space and startups.
The Netherlands has cities like Utrecht (one of the healthiest living environments in the world), Groningen, Amsterdam (startup capital of Europe), and Eindhoven (aka “the smartest square kilometer in Europe”), and more. All these are currently huge tech hubs that also create highly educated young talent.
Easy Access to Talent
The Netherlands puts a strong focus on education and science, which means that most of the talent you’ll want to hire may already be in the country. Also, Millennials and Gen-Z workers are more attracted to remote work opportunities and better work-life balance.
Due to the strong tech startup culture in the Netherlands, young talent is more likely to find such offers in the country than in the US. Not to mention that a low-quality work environment is one of the reasons young talents may be more interested in a work offer from a Dutch-based startup than a large US corporation with rigid hierarchical structures.
Overall, the Netherlands seems to have cracked the code to economic success by making sure innovative entrepreneurs and cutting-edge tech startups have anything they need to grow.
Entrepreneurs wear a lot of hats, especially at the beginning, and must learn how to make decisions, which is why any help and support is more than welcome. Plus, it’s a lot easier to find success when the focus is on growth, and you don’t compete with large, well-established corporations.