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The number of women entrepreneurs in the Netherlands has increased by more than 60 per cent over the past decade, and now the Netherlands has more than 700,000 companies founded by women entrepreneurs. The numbers come from the SHE LEADS Dashboard 2023, researched and published by the Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship, part of Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM). The SHE LEADS Dashboard shows that these companies make a significant contribution to solving major societal issues: companies led by women are more impact-oriented and hold the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in high regard.

While the numbers of women entrepreneurs is increasing, they are still in the minority and are even still considered unconventional by some people in business – particularly when looking at the Dutch landscape for high-growth firms. But, the researchers say, this does not mean it will always be like this. Entrepreneurs are embedded in a cultural and institutional context, which is constantly evolving. If this becomes more inclusive, the whole system will adapt accordingly.

The SHE LEADS Dashboard 2023 dives into the key trends and themes of entrepreneurship and puts the spotlight on 50 inspiring entrepreneurial role models leading in social impact, health and

well-being, technology, scaling-up and serial entrepreneurship.

Using figures from 2022 in the database from Dealroom, the SHE LEADS Dashboard highlights that:

  • 10% of companies headquartered in the Netherlands have a woman as founder or co-founder
  • Women entrepreneurs are more impact-oriented: their companies tackle more SDGs than companies founded by men
  • Women entrepreneurs receive a fraction of the amount of venture capital that men do (less than 3%) of male entrepreneurs’ Venture Capital;
  • Most female entrepreneurs (61%) start their company with little capital and do not rely on outside investment – known as ‘bootstrapping’ – for growth
  • Female founded or co-founded companies are concentrated in the Randstad; the majority of them are based in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht and The Hague.

The full SHE LEADS Dashboard 2023 can be found on the ECE website here.

SHE LEADS is an initiative that encourages female entrepreneurship and leadership by uncovering the latest research insights around the topic. It also promotes female representation in entrepreneurship education at Erasmus University Rotterdam and connects like-minded changemakers through inspiring events in collaboration with partners in the wider ecosystem. This project is supported by the Ondernemende Vrouwen Fonds and Jong Ondernemschap Fonds of Erasmus Trustfonds. For more information, see

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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.

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

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