In 2015, the Dutch government brought in new regulations to help ambitious businesspeople from non-EU countries: a one-year “start-up” residency permit. This permit was specially designed to help talented and ambitious international entrepreneurs who are living in the Netherlands.
By Karen Prowse, Operations Manager at International Welcome Center North
As part of the scheme, all entrepreneurs are required to have a mentor, or ‘facilitator’ on-board and for their start-up to offer something innovative in the Dutch market.
What is a “facilitator”?
You can think of the “facilitator” as a mentor who also has a more official role. The facilitator must have a minimum of two years of experience in guiding start-ups and they must also agree a specific plan for your start-up. This means that their support is tailored to you, whether that is in operational management, marketing, research; investment acquisition or anything else. Facilitators are accredited and recognized by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO).
Where can I find a facilitator?
There are three facilitators recognized by the RVO in the Northern Netherlands:
• Collaboration with a facilitator
. This must be enshrined in a signed document.
• A step-by-step business plan
• Registration of both the entrepreneur and the facilitator in the Dutch Chamber of Commerce (Kamer van Koophandel)
• Provable financial means to live and reside in the Netherlands This is adjudged to be 1,139.90 euros per month. The entire 12-month’s worth must be in a Dutch bank account at the time of application.
• An MVV (entry visa) may be required; these can usually be acquired at your local Dutch embassy. Exceptions to this are entrepreneurs from (or holding nationality of) Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, the USA or South Korea. If you already have an MVV, this can be transferred to a start-up permit. Submitting a start-up application costs 321 euros.
Proof of sufficient financial means
• A copy of a recent bank statement showing the funds, a declaration that the monies have been paid into a Dutch bank account, an agreement of funding from your facilitator or proof of a regular flow of funds can act as a supporting document
A step-by-step business plan
• This must include a structure of the organization, showing the entrepreneur’s active role
• And a description of the innovative product/service
• And a one-year plan of activities
• This must be a signed document, with details of the facilitator’s role
• The facilitator must not be the majority shareholder in the start-up
Official documents, including:
• A copy of the entrepreneur’s passport
• The antecedent declaration (see application form)
• A declaration of tuberculosis screening (in some cases)
• A Chamber of Commerce registration number
Additionally, a facilitator must have:
• Evidence of their experience (i.e. business plans, a CV, references, etc.)
• A demonstration of financial stability (i.e. recent annual accounts)
• The facilitator’s Chamber of Commerce registration number
Opening a Dutch bank account
A Dutch bank account is required for every entrepreneur’s application. Short explanations of banking in the Netherlands are below:
Private Bank Accounts
• Dutch law requires banks to know the identity of every customer. You will require a ‘BSN’ number (available from your Municipality on arrival), proof of ID and you must also be physically present to open an account.
Business Bank Accounts
• Again, ID is required to open a business account, as well as your companies’ Chamber of Commerce number. If you do not yet have a Chamber of Commerce number, a signed letter from the IWCN and your facilitator will suffice.
You can find other useful links and FAQs on IWCN’s site. You may also want to check out this earlier Connect International blog post includes explanations of the new regulations, useful links and vital documents for aspiring entrepreneurs.
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