How the Netherlands startup ecosystem is attracting and retaining international talent

The Netherlands is home to a vibrant and collaborative startup ecosystem. During a panel discussion at TechSparks 2021, panelists discussed the pool of opportunities provided by the government for leading the efforts.
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With a globally competitive talent pool, an intricately connected economic structure, and a booming tech sector, the Netherlands has more than enough reasons to be designated as Europe’s fastest-growing startup ecosystem. Besides, the Dutch government’s pledge to aid the foreign startups with the tools and information they need fuels up the thought.

At YourStory's flagship startup-tech conference, TechSparks 2021, founders and officials from India and the Netherlands came together for a panel discussion on the topic: 'Destination Netherlands: Europe’s fastest-growing startup ecosystem'.

The panel was moderated by Shradha Sharma, Founder & CEO, YourStory, and the panellists included experts like Iris Schut, Advisor, Startups and International Talent, Netherlands Point of Entry; Stef Prinsen, Account Manager, Innovation Quarter; Captain Dhruv Sawhney, Founder & CEO, ShipsKart; and Yoram Wijngaard, Founder and CEO, Dealroom.Co.

Destination Netherlands

Speaking about the Dutch startup ecosystem and what Dealroom.Co does, Founder Yoram said, Dealroom is a global database that tracks startups and venture capital.

“We help the government and venture capital firms to understand about the ecosystem while helping promising companies turn unicorns using analytics, algorithms, and research,” he added.

Apart from this, initiatives like the Netherlands Point of Entry lead international entrepreneurs to capture and market talent in the Dutch startup ecosystem. Here, Iris elaborated on how entrepreneurs and startups can get help at the Netherlands Point of Entry with one-one advice and it also helps them navigate in the Dutch startup ecosystem.

“It is a part of the Netherlands Enterprise agency that delivers the policies from the Ministry of Economic and Climate. We attract international talent to arrive in the Netherlands and persuade them to stay if they are here.” This also includes helping with the paperwork and delving deeper into the pros and cons of choosing the Netherlands as their workplace for career enhancement.

Stef Prinsen from Innovation Quarter, an economic development agency, spoke about what startups in the western part of the Netherlands do.

“The Dutch support ecosystem is amazing depending on the best fit incubator and accelerator, and depending on your industry interface. You just need to plug in your efforts and there are loads of knowledge and resources to help you with,” said Stef on startups joining the bandwagon.

“The Netherlands was always the go-to-market for us. In 2018, we had set up our first Dutch subsidiary as it has the largest port in Europe, and it has benefitted us greatly,” said Dhruv, elaborating on the fact of choosing the Netherlands as an entry point of expanding business outside India.

Facilitating international talent

The Netherlands is filled with opportunities that need to be explored. Iris spoke about the talent programme by the Dutch government, scheduled for November launch. It would essentially become a navigator for the talent pool arriving in the Netherlands to work, study, or initiate startups.

“Here, you can find information on housing, the right healthcare, schooling for kids, and all other relevant issues for facilitating international talents,” she said.

Speaking about Indian companies in the Netherlands, Stef said: “We have assisted many Indian companies in the recent years. Many founders are also coming to the Netherlands to set up their office.”

He added, “during the pandemic, due to travel restrictions, we began a 10-week digital programme for Indian companies who wish to get started in the Netherlands.”

Speaking about the roadblocks and challenges faced while setting up trade in a foreign land, Dhruv said, adapting to that particular country’s corporate culture is the first step towards setting up a business in a foreign land.

“We had our vision intact, yet we wanted to have an in-depth understanding of the work culture in the Netherlands and the thought process of the Europeans.”

The Netherlands is a beautiful travel destination with a wonderful culture, unfolding a pool of business opportunities. Thus, in the days to come, it would only add up to its reputation of being Europe’s fastest-growing startup ecosystem.


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