Where do you go as a startup with international ambitions?

You are the CEO of a startup in The Netherlands. Your organisation has grown quickly and you are thinking about expanding abroad. But where do you find the information you need to take that next step? This page will show you how to navigate the Dutch startup ecosystem and find the answer.

Internationalisation is key to the growth process of every startup. If you have reached the limits of the Dutch market, your business can face serious challenges. Could you meet those challenges by scaling up to become a major international company?

Managing this is no easy feat. Fortunately, the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO.nl) is here to help. Below we have answered some important questions you may have as a startup entrepreneur. It outlines the opportunities available to you on the international market.

Need help?

Still have questions about expanding abroad from The Netherlands? We’re happy to help, feel free to get in touch.
Are you a foreign startup looking to expand into the Netherlands? Then head over to Business.gov. This website offers a helpful overview of how to launch an innovative startup in the Netherlands.

1. Where do I start?

As a startup, you know that well begun is half done. So where do you begin when you want to expand abroad? Doing your homework is a good start. Our partner StartupDelta is a go-to source of information for startups that are based in the Netherlands and looking to expand abroad. Some helpful resources are:

  • StartupDelta: I run a startup explains how to get access to capital, talent & skills, customers and networks.
  • Startup events lists upcoming events for Dutch startup companies. Events are a good place to discover opportunities

Another good source that lists the players in the field of startup support, capital, expertise, networking and education is this diagram of the Dutch startup ecosystem (PDF). It also demonstrates how StartupDelta can help you make the most of the Dutch startup ecosystem, by representing local startup initiatives from major cities and regions.

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2. Which growth markets are right for me?

Not sure which countries might be of interest to you as a startup entrepreneur? If you want to know more about a particular country or compare your options, get in touch with one of our advisors. They can help you on your way.

If you’d like to know more about how RVO.nl and the Dutch trade network can help you explore growth markets, visit the Dutch Tech Expansion Guide. This website explains how we can help you on your way to international expansion. It lists relevant networks abroad that are available to you, including tech hubs, embassies and innovation attachés.

Getting help from a coach

You could also consider a coach to help you get started abroad. For example, the SIB coaching programme works with advisors from private organisations. You can choose who you want to work with, and together you can explore the opportunities and risks of doing business abroad.

Dutch Base Camp also offers coaching that can help you decide whether you are ready for international expansion. The focus of this organisation is sharing practical examples and experiences.

3. How do I get financial support for my startup plans?

Are you looking for financial support? You may be eligible for funding. There are various schemes for different types of businesses. Have a look at our available funding programmes to see if there’s a match. You can also use this handy overview of RVO international supporting tools for startups to see how RVO.nl can help your startup in its various phases.

If your startup is aimed at innovation, the Startup Box is worth a visit. This online tool points you towards potential sources of funding for your startup.

Need help?

If you have any questions about financial support from the government, you can get in touch with the Startup Information Desk (+31 88 585 2222) to talk to a Chamber of Commerce advisor.

Additionally, each ministry has its own startup officers, who represent the Dutch governmental departments and municipalities. They can help you get in touch with the right people and discover possibilities for collaboration.

4. Who can I collaborate with?

Joining forces with another company can help your startup grow. But is now the right time? Ready to Team Up is a website that assesses whether you are ready to collaborate or whether there is still work to be done. It also offers insight into the various aspects of successful collaboration.

Once you know your startup is ready for collaboration, the Corporate Network website is a logical next step. On this website, you can find an overview of relevant corporate partnership cases as well as other parties looking for a partnership.

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5. What kind of help can I expect from RVO.nl?

Are you a startup that operates internationally? The interactive PDF document below (under Download) gives you an overview of the programmes and other activities RVO.nl uses to help companies like you. If you have any questions about these activities in relation to your startup or if you need advice, don’t hesitate to contact our startup liaison by phone:

  • Call +31 (0)88 042 42 42 and ask for the startup liaison

Your startup can be the first step towards becoming an international scaleup. We are here to help you take the next!


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