Amsterdam to create an easier path to entrepreneurial success

Amsterdam has long been a hub of international business, but a new report—presented to Amsterdam deputy mayor Kajsa Ollongren on 19 May 2017 during The Next Web tech conference—outlines clear recommendations to make Amsterdam a worldwide leader in international talent acquisition.

The 'Warm Welcome for Talent' report is the result of a year’s worth of research into creating an appealing environment for foreign entrepreneurs and facilitating the establishment of startups in Amsterdam. It was undertaken as part of the Warm Welcome for Talent City Deal, which was signed in April 2016 and targets not only Amsterdam, but The Hague, Eindhoven and Groningen. The City Deal comprised a number of steps: a customer journey analysis, an investigation into the regulatory hurdles foreign entrepreneurs face, and the introduction of more English-language information geared towards international talent.

“Before, talent went where the companies were. Now, it’s the other way around: businesses go where the talent is,” Ollongren said. “The city must therefore ensure that it is attractive to talent.”

A welcoming environment for foreign talent in Amsterdam

The 'Warm Welcome for Talent' initiative targets startups, new entrepreneurs, foreign students already in the Netherlands and international artists. The workgroup that led the initiative, headed by John Joosten, mapped out a customer journey that reviewed the experience of current foreign entrepreneurs.

Using the findings from the customer journey map, the workgroup developed nearly 30 recommendations that seek to simplify the process—and not only in terms of regulatory barriers, but social barriers as well.

The recommendations are separated into six key areas: acquisition and branding, information services, admittance and residence, enterprise and growth, coaching and quality of life. The recommendations are wide-ranging, and include clear guidelines such as establishing a national helpdesk operated by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency. Other areas, such as quality of life, have no specific recommendations—the surveyed foreign entrepreneurs reported satisfaction with the quality of life in the Netherlands—but may pave the way for future City Deals. 

“We now know the facts,” said Prince Constantijn, who serves as special envoy of StartupDelta and attended the presentation of the report. “We have seen the customer journey, and we can no longer turn back. The next step is that we must truly commit to its implementation.”