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This article was published on February 23, 2015


    Fewer rules could mean more options for startup success in the Netherlands

    Fewer rules could mean more options for startup success in the Netherlands
    Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten
    Story by

    Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten

    CEO and co-founder, TNW

    Boris is a serial entrepreneur who founded not only TNW, but also V3 Redirect Services (sold), HubHop Wireless Internet Provider (sold), and Boris is a serial entrepreneur who founded not only TNW, but also V3 Redirect Services (sold), HubHop Wireless Internet Provider (sold), and pr.co. Boris is very active on Twitter as @Boris and Instagram: @Boris.

    I’ve always found it strange that a startup of just three founders and two employees has the same rules and regulations as a company that has existed for 20 years and has 10,000 employees.

    In The Netherlands, where I live and where our company was founded, there are many laws solely designed to protect employees that can be so restricting that they can lead a company to bankruptcy. Dutch tax laws can be confusing and limiting and cause problems for many starting companies.

    A few months ago I attended an event and met a Dutch politician, Kees Verhoeven, who was very eager to change things. He even gave me the opportunity to pitch in with my ideas, and I was very proud to see some of my suggestions implemented.

    Last Friday Verhoeven proposed a new legal structure for startups, that sounds very promising and could really boost entrepreneurship. His proposal would make it easier to apply for tax breaks but also offer the following items:

    • Less taxes for the first employee
    • No annual return statement necessary and no audit fees
    • No salary rules (currently a minimum fee needs to be paid)
    • More flexibility for temporary contracts
    • Investing in a startup becomes fiscally attractive for investors

    Right now the proposal is just that, and it would need to be adopted by the other parties in government before it would become policy, but it could certainly be a very exciting next step for small businesses.

    I do hope we’ll see more new initiatives to make it easier for startups to launch companies and survive the first few years; it can be tough enough without having to cut through all the red tape.