Starting an IT business in the Netherlands is for the most part the same process as starting any other type of business. You don’t need any special permits or licences to start an IT company, but you would be well-advised to join one of the existing branch organisations , in order to receive support and advice, and to profit from networking opportunities.
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Starting an IT business
Information Technology is one of the Dutch economy’s key sectors . This mean that there is a lot of focus from the Dutch government on this industry, and your business can benefit from this. For instance, did you know that the digital infrastructure in the Netherlands is among the best in the world?
Within the range of IT, there are several growth industries. They are:
This is not to say that other types of IT business are less likely to succeed; but if you are still orienting on what route to take, why not ride one of the bigger waves?
The Radiocommunications Agency produces a yearly trend monitor, called the ECD-Radar, which charts the most important (expected) trends in IT and communications. You can find it on their website.
Coming to the Netherlands
Are you planning to come to the Netherlands to start your IT business? Be aware that, unless you are an EU/EEA citizen, you will need a residence permit. If your business idea is highly innovative, you may apply for a startup visa and receive the Orange Carpet treatment. Perhaps you already live in the Netherlands, because you have studied here or have a job. There are special residence permits available if you are a highly skilled/trained person:
Be unique, be humble
There are many IT businesses, and their number continues to grow. What have you got to add to the mix? Before you set out on your entrepreneurial journey, think: what is it that makes you unique? What skills set do you possess that sets you out? Is your idea an innovation, or a serious improvement to an existing technology or IT service? Write down who you are, what you are capable of, and what your ideas are. This will help you focus. At the same time, be humble. Don’t overreach yourself; set realistic goals. Your starting phase may be quite small: perhaps you can set up from the shed, or your bedroom. Don’t invest in more hi-tech equipment than you know you are going to need in that first phase.
In order to set up your business, you will probably need money. How do you go about getting it? Well, it starts with you: you have to be able to sell yourself and your business to potential investors. Write a thorough business plan, that incorporates finances, marketing, product development and organisational details (for instance, are you going it alone, or will you hire personnel ?). Once you’ve written your business plan, you can go out there and look for investors. It pays to have a strategy for this: think about the type of investors you want to attract, and if you can, even write down a top 10 of your most wanted investors. In the meantime, visit networking and matchmaking events and IT fairs and practice your pitch on anyone who will listen. Most importantly, don’t ignore the feedback. Use it to hone your pitch to perfection. Once you’re satisfied, start setting up meetings with your top 10 ideal investors. See also: 5 blogs about financing for startups
You can get help getting started and expanding your IT company from several Dutch organisations:mentoring and coaching initiatives you can turn to, such as O3NL, Bright Move Eindhoven, and Yes! Delft.
Statistics: number of companies
Number of IT companies, inluding software developers and consultancies. The number of IT companies shows continuous growth over the past years.