The Dutch provinces of Friesland, Overijssel and Groningen have joined forces to attract promising international startups. This past year, Founded in Friesland, NovelT and Founded in Groningen have been busy scaling up and expanding the Startup Visa NL program to help talented non-EU entrepreneurs. And as of this week, they’re live, with big plans in store!
Last week, the new Startup Visa NL crew hosted a kick-off webinar to share their plans and ambitions for the coming year. Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) advisor Rutger de Graaf discussed the importance of the program, Groningen facilitator Niek Huizenga and Ancora Health founder Sridhar Kumaraswamy shared their experiences working together to apply for the Startup Visa and program manager Lusanne Tehupuring gave an in-depth look at the future plans. Check out some of the highlights and be sure to watch the stream, while you’re at it!
But first: a quick recap
For those who’ve missed it or haven’t been in the loop for a while, here’s a quick recap of what Startup Visa is exactly. With this special visa, talented entrepreneurs and startups from outside the EU will receive guidance for a year to help establish themselves in the northeastern region and grow into a successful company. With their own start-up capital and an innovative, scalable idea, the international entrepreneurs will be given a year to grow their business and will be supported by local and regional 'facilitators', who will connect the entrepreneurs to the various top business sectors.
By expanding the Startup Visa program to Friesland and Overijssel, it will be easier to help international startups find the right region, where the relevant expertise and networks are to grow successfully. For Overijssel these are Hightech and Medtech for example, for Groningen Life Sciences and Digital, and in Friesland Water Technology and AgriFood fall under the top economic sectors.
Why it’s so important
Attracting and retaining international talent is essential for a future-proof economy and the competitive position of the Netherlands. In other words, borders and bureaucracy shouldn’t get in the way of great ideas and innovations. “It’s about letting the market decide what kind of talent is needed to make an impact, instead of government policies on immigration”, says RVO advisor Rutger de Graaf. “And that’s the idea behind Startup Visa, where international entrepreneurs are connected with local and regional facilitators, who know exactly what kind of talent is needed and have the skills to help their ideas grow and make an impact.”
Watch the full interview here:
First hand experience
So what’s it like to apply for the Startup Visa and grow and build your startup in the Netherlands? Ancora Health founder and CEO Sridhar Kumaraswamy talks about the process and his experiences with facilitator Niek Huizenga, and why he chose Groningen. “There is plenty of international talent and ideas coming out of the universities that have terrific market applications, making the city a great startup hub.”
Watch the full interview:
Last, but certainly not least, Startup Visa NL program manager Lusanne Tehupuring shares the plans and ambitions for the coming year. “Our goal is to attract, select and land at least 40 startups before the 1st of August, 2022.”
Watch the full interview:
Calling all non-EU founders
Are you a non-EU founder with a great idea and thinking about moving your startup to the Netherlands? Be sure to check out the brand new Startup Visa NL website.
Join the crew as an ambassador
The Startup Visa NL crew is also looking for ambassadors to help them scout entrepreneurial talent. Do you have an international network where you can help spread the word or know someone who does? Get in touch and drop a line through the website.