Startup Visa will bring international entrepreneurial talent to North-Eastern Netherlands

Friesland, Overijssel and Groningen are joining forces to attract promising international startups. With a 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. This should ultimately help ensure a structural strengthening of the economy of the three provinces and contribute to the innovation and competitiveness of the Netherlands.

Startup Visa North-East Netherlands is an initiative of Founded in Friesland, Novel-T and Founded in Groningen. Over the next year and a half, they are going to expand the original Groningen program to Friesland and Overijssel. To this end, they will get a contribution of €147,200 from the One Single Hub Fund, a grant scheme for scaling up successful regional programs for startups and scale-ups.   

Deputy for the Province of Groningen IJzebrand Rijzebol: "I'm delighted that we can now further scale up and professionalize the successful Startup Visa Groningen concept in collaboration with other regions. Ecosystems don't stop at the provincial border. By working together, we can help startups settle in the North-Eastern Netherlands even better." 

Right region, right network for success

Attracting and retaining international talent is essential for a future-proof economy and the competitive position of the Netherlands. For this reason, in 2018 the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the IND launched a visa for innovative, non-EU entrepreneurs who want to start a startup in the Netherlands. 

"Because the startup world in particular is an international playing field, we want to be internationally accessible, not just for top investors and partners, but also for the best startups," says Jaap Beernink, CEO of Novel-T. "And this is where we then make an international impact together."

With their own start-up capital and an innovative, scalable idea, the international entrepreneurs will be given a year to grow their business. They will be supported by local and regional 'facilitators', who will connect the entrepreneurs to the various top business sectors. In Groningen, a total of 85 applications from international entrepreneurs were received in 2019/2020, of which 6 have currently been approved.

Unique in the world

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. 

"From WaterCampus Leeuwarden we can provide entrepreneurs in the field of water technology with all the support they need to turn their startup into a successful business. This makes us unique in the world," says Ronald Wielinga, manager entrepreneurship WaterCampus. "Through Startup Visa North-Eastern Netherlands , it’s going to be much easier to help support non-EU startups. This will also encourage even more international talent to settle in the region, create new business opportunities and make our water cluster stronger. So we're really happy with the project that Novel-T, Founded in Groningen and Founded in Friesland are taking up together!"