DOING BUSINESS IN THE EU


Doing business in the EU

Visa for ambitious entrepreneurs : the Netherlands

As of 2015, a new regulation makes it possible for ambitious entrepreneurs to apply for a temporary residence permit for the Netherlands. Here you can read more about the in-depth details and conditions of the start-up permit.

What are the conditions of the start-up permit?

  1. Working together with a trusted and experienced mentor (facilitator) that is based in the Netherlands;
  2. A product or service that is innovative;
  3. The start-up entrepreneur has a (step-by-step) plan to develop their idea into a business;
  4. The start-up entrepreneur and the facilitator are registered in the Trade Register of the Chamber of Commerce (Kamer van Koophandel);
  5. The start-up entrepreneur must have sufficient finance (resources) to reside and live in the Netherlands for one year.

 What is a facilitator?

One of the requirements for obtaining a residence permit is working together with a business mentor: a facilitator. This cooperation must be officially established in a (signed) agreement between the start-up entrepreneur and the facilitator. The facilitator must have experience in guiding innovative start-ups.

The facilitator provides the entrepreneur with a tailor-made package of support dependent on the specific needs of the start-up. The facilitator can, for example, offer help with operational management, marketing, research and investment acquisition for setting up an innovative business.

The facilitator must be trusted and financially sound. On no account can the facilitator be in receivership or bankrupt and may not have negative equity.

The facilitator may not be related to the start-up entrepreneur (up to three times removed; child, parent, grandparent, uncle/aunt).

What makes a product or service innovative in the Netherlands?

A product or service can be classed as innovative if at least one of the following three conditions are met:

  1. The product or service is new to the Netherlands.
  2. A new technology or technique for production, distribution or marketing is involved.
  3. There is an innovative organisational procedure and method.

(Non-definitive) examples can include the following:

  • Stimulating business activity in the Netherlands’ top sectors
  • A self-developed new product or service
  • New product-market combinations
  • Socially responsible enterprises
  • An original approach to energy conservation
  • An original approach to environmental/sustainability issues
  • Smart and creative adaptations or combinations serving cross-sectoral applications
  • A creative or innovative market approach
  • Social innovation.

Read more on the website of the Netherlands Enterprise Agency.

What conditions must the step-by-step plan meet?

As a start-up entrepreneur, certain activities must be undertaken to advance an idea into a successful business. Before approving an application, the government must understand what business development activities will take place. The start-up entrepreneur must provide a description of this in a step-by-step plan, containing information relating to:

  • The organisation. The start-up entrepreneur must have an active role. This means he/she is not simply a shareholder or financer. At aminimum, the step-by-step plan must detail the following:
    • the structure of the organisation
    • the assigned roles and tasks
    • the legal form of the company
    • the personnel
    • the purpose of the enterprise.
    • A description of the idea for the product or service and why it is innovative (see section 2)
    • Details of the development activities planned for the first year. A description of the planning and activities for the business; the steps to be carried out in setting up the company.

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Andre Beukes LLM

Andre Beukes LLM

I am an International human resources consultant to multinational companies in international employment law and employee relations.

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