Netherlands scores as one of Europe’s top scale-up nations

Every startup wants to be a scale-up someday. According to research done by the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) and the Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship (ECE), the path to that particular state might be best done in The Netherlands.

In 2014, 5.4 percent of companies in The Netherlands with 10 or more employees (2800 in total) can be considered a ‘fast growing company’. Within the UK, 4.6 percent can be defined as scale-up. As for Germany and France, those percentages are even lower, making The Netherlands lead as one of the top scale-up nations in Europe.

In 2008 however the percentage was even higher: 11 percent. From that year on the percentage kept on declining.

Justin Jansen, who led the research, defines a scale-up the same as the OECD does: as a fast growing company that generates a 20 percent grow in revenue and/or employment – within a consecutive period of three years. At the start of that period, the company must have a 5 million euro turnover or must have at least ten employees.

Scale-ups and startups

Scale-ups in The Netherlands on average increased their turnover by 119 percent, and expanded their workforce from 20 to 45 FTEs. According to the research those companies created 70.000 jobs in the last three years.

From the number of Dutch scale-ups the largest part is found in the sector wholesale and retail (21.2 percent). IT is also “well represented”, the research states. The quickest growth comes from scale-ups in the sectors Energy and Water.

Although most of the research covers mostly SMEs, and not necessarily scale-ups with a background as startup, it’s interesting to see that entrepreneurship in The Netherlands keeps on thriving. Startups can however profit from this kind of ecosystem, with a lot of examples and peers to look up to.