Starting a business while on social assistance benefits

Published by:
Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK
Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK

You have plans for your own business, but you are living on a social assistance benefit. As you are not yet earning enough money in the startup phase, you can get financial support through your municipality. Read what you need to do to get this support.

Contact your municipality

First, contact the municipality where you live. Ask about opportunities to prepare for starting your own business. Usually, there are different programmes. Such as coaching from an expert or through a course. The municipality can give you money so that you can pay for the coaching. You will continue to receive your social assistance benefit if you meet the conditions set for you by your municipality.

Find the contact details of your municipality (in Dutch).

Make a business plan

The municipality will ask you for a business plan. This is important for assessing whether your plans are feasible and will result in a healthy business. In a business plan, you make it clear how much money you think you will need to start your business. And how much profit you expect to make.

Read more about making a business plan.

Starting your business under the Bbz

If your municipality approves your business plan, you can get financial support because of the Decree on Social Assistance to the Self-Employed (Besluit bijstandverlening zelfstandigen, Bbz). The Bbz is an interest-free loan.

You can then start your own business in 4 ways:

  • By participating in a starter programme.
  • With advice and coaching.
  • With working capital or a startup loan.
  • With a temporary supplementary benefit.

General conditions Bbz

To make use of the Bbz, these conditions apply:

  • You are over 18 years old and have not yet reached the state pension age (Algemene Ouderdomswet, AOW).
  • You have the Dutch nationality or a valid residence permit.
  • Your company is established in the Netherlands.
  • You have the relevant diplomas or permits.
  • You work at least 1,225 hours a year for your business.
  • You are responsible for the financial business risks.
  • For your livelihood, you depend (if applicable, together with your partner) on the income from your business.

Some municipalities supervise the Bbz process themselves. Other municipalities have it done by other organisations. Such as BZF in Friesland and the ROZ in Twente and the Achterhoek. They will then help you apply for Bbz.

Settlement against your benefit

As soon as you start making a profit from your business, the municipality will offset this against your social assistance benefit. This prevents you from having to pay back a lot of money afterwards. Do you later decide to end your business? Then you can apply for assistance again. The municipality will make arrangements with you about repaying the loan.

Questions relating to this article?

Please contact the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK