The Netherlands’ scale-ups are pushing hard to grow their businesses and create new jobs, and their efforts are showing results. Almost 100 of the 250 fastest-growing companies in the Netherlands are in the province of Noord Holland, and all 250 have stepped up the pace of their growth after two tough years. This information comes from a research project, the Top 250 Scaleups 2022 conducted by the Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship (ECE) at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) and nlgroeit, an organisation supporting ambitious entrepreneurs who want to grow their businesses.

To make it into the Top 250 Scale-ups, Dutch-headquartered companies must have at least 10 full-time employees and/or a turnover of € 5 million between 2018 and 2021, and at least 20 per cent annual growth in their workforces or turnovers.

35,000 jobs created in three years

ECE’s researchers found big changes and rapid growth in the number of new jobs and turnover. The number of start-up companies with women in leading management positions has more than doubled, going from 5 per cent in 2021 to 12 per cent in 2022. Start-ups have doubled their growth rates compared to similar surveys in previous years and the top 250 have created 35,000 jobs between them over the last three years. More than half of the new jobs – 60 per cent – were created in 2021 alone.

Noord Holland strengthened its position as home to leading scale-ups: 40 per cent of all Top 250 Scale-ups are based there, mostly in Amsterdam (84 of the 250). In the province of Zuid Holland, Rotterdam is the leading city with 23 of the top fast-growing companies. Provinces in the north and south of the country such as Friesland, Flevoland, Drenthe, Zeeland and Limburg – away from the conurbations around Amsterdam and Rotterdam – have only 3.2 per cent of the country’s top 250 fast-growing companies.

Flexibility and resilience

ECE investigated why some start-ups make it into the top 250. Justin Jansen, professor of Strategic Entrepreneurship at RSM and Senior Fellow at ECE said: “Many entrepreneurs have faced difficulties to get access to important resources such as human capital and even raw materials. These firms have shown great acts of leadership in navigating opportunities and challenges, and to create and capture value for their companies. Despite these challenging circumstances, more entrepreneurs have been able to sustain their position in the Top 250 Scaleups. They achieved this by staying flexible but resilient. High-growth firms and scale-ups are futureproof and resilient in their nature.”

Working in crossover sectors

The latest scale-ups report indicates that most of the top fast-growing companies are operating in intersections between digitalisation, services including business services, and new media.

Fastest growing company in the Netherlands

Later this year, ECE and nlgroeit will announce the top 10 fastest-growing start-ups in the Netherlands at their Top 250 Scale-Ups event on 10 October 2022. One company will win the prestigious title of the fastest-growing company in the Netherlands and will be presented with the ‘Gouden Groeier’ (Golden Scale-up) trophy. Last year’s winner was Media.Monks, a digital production agency that created 2,300 jobs to make it the fastest-growing company in the country, with other Top 250 Scale-up companies growing their combined workforce by more than 30,000 in 2021. 

Scale-up capacity

Nlgroeit is an initiative by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate, the Dutch Chamber of Commerce (KvK), NLevator, and NL2025. It aims to increase the capacity for growth for small-and medium-sized enterprises It will shortly become an independent foundation to continue its work. Erasmus University Rotterdam and the Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship form the largest academic research team dedicated to entrepreneurship in Europe. The full Top 250 Scale-Ups 2022 Report can be downloaded via this link: https://ece.nl/top250scaleups2022

More information

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is one of Europe’s top-ranked business schools. RSM provides ground-breaking research and education furthering excellence in all aspects of management and is based in the international port city of Rotterdam – a vital nexus of business, logistics and trade. RSM’s primary focus is on developing business leaders with international careers who can become a force for positive change by carrying their innovative mindset into a sustainable future. Our first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes encourage them to become critical, creative, caring and collaborative thinkers and doers. Study information and activities for future students, executives and alumni are also organised from the RSM office in Chengdu, China. www.rsm.nl

For more information about RSM or this release, please contact Erika Harriford-McLaren, communications manager for RSM, on +31 10 408 2877 or by email at harriford@rsm.nl.

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