Starting a business

Startup in Rotterdam

The Netherlands is one of the five most competitive economies in the world. A good business climate comes with the good living conditions enjoyed in the Netherlands. The country has much to offer for foreign entrepreneurs and investors: but where and how do you get started?

Starting a business in The Netherlands

If you have an innovative business idea we would like to help you achieve your goals, we advise you to consider the following steps:

Financial plan & innovation

1. Make sure you have a (step-by-step) plan. Develop a financial plan.
Don't forget to register your company at the Chamber of Commerce
More info: Business register and Tax Administration

2. Is your idea innovative? See if your product or service is innovative
Double check it through our Innovation Credit fund and fill out a Quick scan.
You can also use our patent databases to find out if your invention is new.

Residence permit & finding a facilitator

3. Do you have a residence permit? We offer a Residence permit especially for foreign startups
Check whether you fulfil the conditions for staying in the Netherlands

4. If you want to use some of our startup services, find a business mentor / facilitator
Make sure you and the facilitator are both registered in the Trade Register of the Chamber of Commerce

Income & market information

5. Do you have sufficient financial means (resources) to be able to reside and live in the Netherlands?
The Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service requests a sufficient income

6. Interested in doing research whether your idea is potentially feasible in the market?
Take a look at our Proof-of-concept funding

Intellectual property & workspace

7. Is the idea you have your property?
You may consult us free of charge regarding any queries about patents and other ways of protecting intellectual property (IP) Learn more about Patents & other IP rights

8. Do you need a place to work? has an overview of workspaces, incubators, accelerators and other facilities in the Netherlands for you to turn your ideas into reality.

What can we do for you?

Take a look at the overview below for all our funding opportunities for Startups.

  • BMKB

    Entrepreneurs who want to start businesses in the Netherlands, Bonaire, St. Eustatius or Saba can take advantage of the SME government-guaranteed loan scheme (BMKB). You can use this scheme if you want to take out a loan but do not have...

  • Residence permits for foreign start-ups

    Ambitious entrepreneurs can apply for a temporary residence permit in the Netherlands. This residence permit ‘scheme for start-ups’ allows one year to launch an innovative business. A prerequisite is that the start-up must be guided by an experienced mentor.

  • Credit schemes

    The Ministry of Economic Affairs gives SMEs financial support for risky innovation projects, filling a gap in the capital market.

  • Research and development

    Using the WBSO (Wet Bevordering Speur- & Ontwikkelingswerk/Act for the Stimulation of Research & Development), companies can lower the wage costs for R&D and other R&D costs and expenditures, such as prototypes or research equipment. You can set off the tax benefit in your tax return to the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration.

  • Man with two monitors

    The Innovation funds for SMEs builds on existing financing tools. One of these is the SEED Capital arrangement.

  • Horizon 2020

    Horizon 2020 is the European Commission programme for financing European research and innovation projects, covering climate change, ageing population, food safety & security and affordable renewable energy.

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