Entrepreneurship is thriving in the Netherlands

published: 17-10-2018

Entrepreneurship in the Netherlands is thriving, according to the latest findings from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM).

In 2017, almost two-third of the Dutch adult population perceived there to be good opportunities for people to start a business in the next six months. This is the highest level during the past 10 years, and is also very high when compared to other developed economies (the average score for EU countries is 43%). Not everyone who perceives that opportunities are present to start a business will actually start a business. For example, not everyone perceives themselves as having the right capabilities to start a new business, and not everyone has the ambition to do so. Nevertheless, in 2017 4.7% of the Dutch adult population was involved in starting a new business (nascent entrepreneurship) and 5.4% owned and managed a business since less than 3.5 years (new entrepreneurship). All in all, 9.9% of the Dutch adult population was engaged in early-stage entrepreneurial activities in 2017. This ranks the Netherlands as second out of 14 European economies (and eighth out of 24 innovation-driven economies).

Starting a business in the Netherlands: opportunity-driven rather than necessity driven

The share of people engaged in entrepreneurial activities (the total early-stage entrepreneurial activity or TEA rate) has actually declined somewhat in 2017, but this is due to a strong decrease in necessity entrepreneurship: the strong economic growth of the Dutch economy in 2017 increased the number of wage jobs, which may explain the decline of the number of people that became entrepreneur out of necessity.

The Netherlands score high on all indicators of entrepreneurship

Besides the 9.9% of the Dutch population that was engaged in early-stage entrepreneurial activities in 2017, 8.6% was engaged in established entrepreneurship (owning and managing a business for at least 3.5 years). Another 7.6% can be considered as intrapreneurs (employees showing entrepreneurial activities). For each of these indicators of (different types of) entrepreneurial behaviour, the Netherlands score higher than the average score for OECD and EU countries.

Entrepreneurial framework conditions

These results are based on the 2017 GEM adult population survey. This is a large-scale survey among the adult population of different countries worldwide organised by the GEM consortium. This is an academic research consortium that started as a partnership between the London Business School and Babson College in 1999 with 10 participating countries. Over the years GEM has expanded to comprise 54 economies in 2017.

Besides the adult population survey, the GEM also includes a small-scale survey among national experts, asking them about nine different areas (entrepreneurial framework conditions) that are thought to stimulate or constrain the level and nature of entrepreneurial activity (these are financing, government policies, education and training, R&D transfer, commercial infrastructure, internal market openness, physical infrastructure and cultural and social norms). In 2017, the Netherlands score higher than the averages of the innovation-driven economies on all framework conditions. This suggests that circumstances to start a business in the Netherlands are relatively good.

The GEM National Report 2017 for the Netherlands can be downloaded here, or below.

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