Government, listen to startups instead of talking about them

Pieter Veldhuizen • 3 July 2018
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Government, listen to startups instead of talking about them!


On May 31st the DSA had the honour to be invited at a hearing in the Dutch Parliament on Invest-NL. The latter is a new, publicly funded investment institution that has to be up and running by early 2019. Last Friday it got out that Wouter Bos, the Dutch former Finance Minister, will become the CEO of this institution. An excellent choice according to the DSA, someone with a lot of experience in both the private and public sector!

In March the DSA already contributed to an online consultation on the ‘supporting’ law that will make Invest-NL happen. While reading the law and the underlying information we spotted a strange ambiguity! According to a letter that was send to Parliament, the Dutch government clearly stated that one of the main goals of Invest-NL is to make startups scale by supplying sufficient risk-capital. However, in an attachment to the law we can read that Invest-NL will only invest in profitable businesses.

Unnecessary flaws

So much for the ambition to really do something for startups you might say. Luckily we had the chance to be present at the hearing to make the voice of startups and scale-ups heard. We called upon the Members of Parliament to let go of the ‘profitable’ business criterion.

“In our point of view, the ‘profitable’ business criterion could have been avoided if startups and scale-ups were invited to have an earlier seat at the table of the Ministry of Economic Affairs.”

The same goes for the digitisation agenda that was recently presented. A pity that this strategy misses a clear focus on startups and scale-ups.

Lobbying is a marathon, not a sprint

Luckily the DSA is on earth to signal these developments and address them. To be honest, there are things going well from the government’s perspective towards startups. It would be ridiculous to be solely critical.

The SME-agenda is a good start for example! We hope that the government makes clear fiscal choices in the future, cut red tape and make the Netherlands the best country for attracting capital and talent. There is a lot of work to be done to realise our shared ambition: to make the Netherlands Europe’s digital frontrunner.

To be THE interest group for startups and scale-ups is a marathon, not a sprint. And we’re just getting started! What do YOU think about the way our government is dealing with startups and scale-ups? Join our community and make your voice heard!