Finding business partners abroad

Published by:
Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK
Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK
Netherlands Enterprise Agency RVO
Netherlands Enterprise Agency RVO
2 min read

There are several ways to get in touch with business partners. It may help to compose a profile before you start looking, asking yourself questions like: Do I want a partner who invests money?, What type of skills should my partner possess?, and Do I want to do business with a large or a small company?

Finding business partners abroad

  • Check the landeninformatie (country information, in Dutch), and get specific tips for finding customers and business partners.
  • Get information from agents or contacts of colleagues operating in the same sector.
  • Seek advice from advisers at the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce (KVK) and the Netherlands Enterprise Agency.
  • The Netherlands Enterprise Agency also offers business partner support to quickly provide you with an overview of potential business partners in your chosen country.
  • Get in touch with the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN). They offer, among other things, access to a database of business partners, carrying profiles of thousands of companies from some 60 countries. You can also fill out your own profile.
  • Register for CONNECTS, a business platform that connects bilateral chambers of commerce for over 12 countries, including the Netherlands.
  • Visit international trade shows (see Auma or Expo Database) and get in touch with potential customers. The Enterprise Europe Network organises matchmaking events at international trade shows.
  • International organisations, such as banks that operate all over the world, but also the EU or the United Nations are often looking for suppliers; find out if you might offer your services.
  • Take part in a trade mission (in Dutch).
  • Ask the foreign network (buitenlandnetwerk, in Dutch) for support. The network can help you find your feet in international trade, investments, research, and collaboration.
  • Make use of the services provided by the Centre for Improvement of Import from developing countries (CBI). The Centre connects businesses from developing countries with potential European business partners.

Profile of foreign supplier or producer

Create a profile of the trading partner you want to work with. You can then search more easily. List in the profile what is important to you. For example:

  • delivery and payment conditions
  • the service and warranty that the business partner must provide
  • size of the company
  • attention to corporate social responsibility (CSR)
  • good knowledge of certain languages

Working with an agent

You can also work with an agent. They act as an intermediary between you and the supplier or producer of the goods. They pay the agent a commission for this service. Or you buy goods from an importer. Read more.

Check your foreign business partners’ reliability

Limit your risks by checking your customer’s or business partner’s reliability before you start doing business with them. For instance, check if they are registered in the foreign Business Register. You can also hire a credit reporting agency to check on an organisation.

Is your business partner authorised to sign?

Also check who is authorised to sign within a company. Does it later appear that your business partner is not autorised to have signed the contract with you? Then the contract is invalid.

Questions relating to this article?

Please contact the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK