Last fall Anne-Wil Lucas of the ruling Dutch liberal party VVD presented a proposal with over 43 measures to improve the Dutch startup ecosystem. A majority of the house representatives supported the proposal. Recently Lucas explained in an interview with Startup Juncture the importance of creating a vibrant startup ecosystem for the Dutch society and economy.
“Startups make up for a lot of jobs, 60 percent of the job growth comes from companies that didn’t exist five years ago. It’s only normal that we focus on those companies that can bring growth and job growth to the Netherlands”, she said.
The Dutch Cabinet seems to agree with Lucas. This Monday the Minister of Economic Affairs, Henk Kamp, sent a letter to the Parliament on behalf of the Cabinet stating that the majority of the 43 measures proposed in StartupNL will be turned into government policy.
Kamp says ambitious entrepreneurs are ‘sources of innovation, new jobs and productivity.’ They can accordingly play an important role in providing creative solutions for societal challenges such as affordable healthcare, sustainable energy and clean drinking water, he argues. Kamp: “I therefore want to give ambitious entrepreneurs all the leverage they need and abrogate barriers.”
Here is without further ado a short summary of the main points:
- In cooperation with the European Investment Fund (EIF) a €75 million co-investment fund with business angels will be created. Business angles interested in this opportunity can bid to tenders following this year.
- Existing innovation policies (subsidies) will be adjusted in 2014 to benefit startups in the early and growth phase. Policies specifically mentioned are: the R&D subsidy policy WBSO, the credit fund ‘Innovatiekrediet’ and the TKI-allowance for joint-ventures between academia and entrepreneurs that focus on one of the 9 ‘top sectors.’
- As of this year a ‘startup visa’ will be available for ‘innovative foreign startups’ wanting to establish in the Netherlands.
- Tax relief measures on the Dutch version of a private limited liability company, Besloten Vennootschap (BV).
- Tax relief measures for venture capital investment.
- The creation of Nlevator (I don’t know who made that up…..)with relevant stakeholders in the startup ecosytem, among which the Ministry of Economic Affairs. It’s unclear what Nlevator will be, but the objective is as stated: ‘To realize a change in culture and to decipher the latent need for education on entrepreneurship, mentoring and coaching.’
- The assignment of a special startup envoy. Use of ‘strong economic diplomacy’ to support Dutch startups abroad and US startups to conquer Europe via the Netherlands.
- Abrogation of ‘unnecessary’ barriers in rules and legislation that curb the start and growth of startups. Curbing the lenient use of the non-compete clause is mentioned as an example.
Unfortunately the letter is not available in English. Interested Dutch readers can download the letter here.
Update: State Secretary for Security and Justice Fred Teeven announced today that innovative startup founders from outside the EU will get a respite of a year to work on their business plan and attract early stage funding. During this year they don’t have to be employed. If they subsequently successfully start their company they can as an entrepreneur apply for 2-year residence permit.
Photo by Jesterhat84 @ Wikimedia Commons