Entrepreneurship in the Netherlands up slightly in early 2020, despite corona

published: 05-05-2021

Since 2016, between 10% and 12% of the Dutch working population has been actively involved in starting up a business or running a business for less than 3.5 years. Remarkably, in spring 2020, it was even slightly higher (over 11%) than in spring 2019 (over 10%). This is according to the 2020/2021 Global Report of the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) which is published today.


Entrepreneurship during the corona crisis

In most European countries surveyed, people saw fewer opportunities to start their own business in 2020 than before. The Netherlands is no exception. However, some people see new opportunities as a result of the corona crisis. This applies to both people who are already running a business and people who are in the process of starting one. For example, almost 60% of Dutch people who want to start their own business in the next three years have been influenced in their choice by the corona pandemic.


Entrepreneurship opportunities in the Netherlands belong to the world top

In 2020, the Netherlands (as in 2019) had the second-best entrepreneurship ecosystem of all participating countries. This ecosystem consists of the following dimensions: access to finance, government policy, entrepreneurial education, R&D, commercial and professional infrastructure, ease of (market) entry, physical infrastructure and social and cultural norms. In 2020, the Netherlands scored higher than average on all these dimensions.


The fact that the entrepreneurial opportunities in the Netherlands are so good is not only stated by experts but is also apparent from surveys of the working population. In 2020, more than 80% of the Dutch working population thought it was easy to start their own business. Despite the outbreak of the corona pandemic at the beginning of 2020, this percentage is comparable to 2019. Only in 2 other participating countries (Norway and Saudi Arabia), this percentage was even higher in 2020.


Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM)

Worldwide, the GEM is the most extensive international comparative study on entrepreneurship among the working population. In 2020, 45 countries participated in the GEM. The Dutch contribution is financed by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Change and is carried out by Panteia. The measurement consists of an Adult Population Survey and a National Expert Survey. More information about the GEM can be found on Panteia’s website.


In several participating countries, the surveys were carried out in the third quarter of 2020. In the Netherlands, the surveys were already conducted in the second quarter. The first peak in infections was then over, and the outlook at that time was relatively good. Therefore, the comparability of the Dutch results with those of other countries is not as good as in previous years.


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