What is a trade mission?
A trade mission (handelsmissie) involves a group of entrepreneurs (trade delegation) visiting another country. Or a group of foreign entrepreneurs comes to the Netherlands. Usually, business partners meet offline, but sometimes also online. You get to know other Dutch entrepreneurs, foreign business partners and governments. The trade mission organiser arranges meetings for you. A trade mission is for large and small businesses.
Why join in a trade mission?
By joining a trade mission, you:
- meet future business partners
- grow your international network
- zero in on market opportunities abroad
- exchange knowledge
- improve your brand awareness
- do business and close deals, if you are lucky
Types of trade missions
There are various types of trade missions:
Outbound trade missions
Taking part in an outbound trade mission (in Dutch) means travelling abroad with various other entrepreneurs. This allows you to meet potential business partners there. Trade delegations often include diplomats, ministers, or state secretaries. They can open doors that would otherwise stay closed.
Inbound trade missions
On an inbound trade mission (in Dutch), a trade delegation from another country visits the Netherlands. A minister or state secretary invites foreign trade delegations. They usually include a minister from the other country or a representative of the embassy in the Netherlands. During the trade mission, the delegation will get to know the Dutch business community. It is a good opportunity to meet new business partners and strengthen existing relationships.
Inbound women’s missions
With its special inbound women's missions (in Dutch), the Dutch government supports female entrepreneurs from developing regions. A women's mission usually consists of training at home and a visit to the Netherlands. It is mainly about sharing knowledge on, for example, (technical) products, circular entrepreneurship and investment.
Digital trade missions
An online trade mission is the same as a regular trade mission. But you do not have to go outside and travel. You do the scheduled meetings and face-to-face meetings online.
List of trade missions
Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) organises trade missions on behalf of the central government. For a trade mission calendar (in Dutch) visit RVO.nl.