I recently had the pleasure of spending a few days with Clare Trotter, Director of Talent’s newest business in the Netherlands based out of Amsterdam. I asked Clare a few questions about living and working in the Netherlands and the opportunities on offer.
What is attractive about setting up business in the Netherlands?
The government here is fairly liberal about bringing in external resources with sponsorship amongst foreign nationals running pretty high – 60% in some companies. In addition there is a very attractive tax structure where you only pay tax on 70% of your income and then only 30% on that. There are also special entrepreneur tax rates, such as the so called innovation box that enables entrepreneurs to reduce their corporate tax rate to 5% for profits generated through innovative operations, which has created a start-up boom.
What brought you to Amsterdam?
I initially came to start a business for a competitor but despite plenty of success early on it was clear that there was an absence of a clear vision and culture from head office so, after a period of travel, Jon Butterfield contacted me to discuss Talent’s ambitions I was delighted to come on board.
What do you enjoy about Amsterdam?
It’s easy to do business here and English is spoken everywhere. I love cycling everywhere and the abundance of waterways has a very calming effect. I also love the directness of the Dutch – straight-talking and no nonsense! And an added bonus is no tax on alcohol.
Advice? Always look both ways when crossing – bikes everywhere and they rule!
Interests? Yoga, food and cooking, travel – South America still on the list.
Greatest achievement recently? Completing yoga teacher training.
Biggest disappointment? No regrets!
Biggest influence? My Dad; he made me make my own decisions.
What will Talent Amsterdam look like in 2 years? A tight unit, not too large (say 10-12 people) and in deep with great customers.
A few facts and figures about the Netherlands:
- Fun fact to know: There are more bicycles (over 18 million) in the Netherlands than there are people.
- Amsterdam, the Dutch capital’s inner city picture is shaped by its more than 100 kilometres of canals and 1500 bridges, which is why it’s also known by some as the “Venice of the North”
- 9 out of 10 people speak English in the Netherlands
- According to the United Nations World Happiness Report of 2013, Holland is the 4th happiest country in the world. It’s no wonder that many entrepreneurs and start-ups on the European continent choose Amsterdam as their head quarter
- Internet penetration is as high as 94% in the Netherlands, which makes it an ideal test-bed for technology start-ups from where to conquer the European market.
- Two highly successful tech businesses that originated in Amsterdam are Booking.com and TomTom. Both companies have retained their head offices in Amsterdam, which is not surprising taking into account the attractive tax regime, proximity to European market, the country’s excellent English language skills and the great infrastructure that the Netherlands has to offer.
- In order to satisfy the ever growing need for highly tech skilled workers, the Dutch government offers a one year entrepreneur visa to non-EU citizens, as well as a 5 year work permit for Highly-Skilled Migrants and their families. Furthermore, foreign workers hired abroad get a 30% tax free allowance on their salary.
- ‘Start-up Delta’ is a government backed initiative that works on connecting the Dutch start-up ecosystem to one single hub, as well as offering support to newly founded enterprises. By utilising excellent connections to government, corporations and innovation hubs, Start-up Delta aims to break down barriers and improve access to talent, capital, networks, markets and knowledge.
- 153 Dutch start-ups have raised 430 million euros alone in 2015, with the largest single investment round being 75 million euros for Catawiki.