Arzu's experience with the Dutch tech startup environment
I co-founded Fledgerr, a young startup based in The Hague. We are developing groundbreaking AI solutions for law firms, and tools for startups to set up and manage employee participation plans, such as stock options and stock appreciation rights. We aim to provide an easy and convenient tool for startups, scaleups, and other stakeholders to incentivize their teams and recognize their contribution to the success and growth of their companies. I believe the team is the biggest asset of any startup, scaleup, or company, and acknowledging their contribution is crucial. By better engaging and recognizing the success story of our ecosystem, we can unleash its immense potential.
“ ...the Netherlands is well known for its entrepreneurial culture and supportive policies towards startups and scaleups, which encourage innovation and business growth…”
We specifically chose the Netherlands as the country to establish our startup. The reasons are manifold: the potential for growth and expansion, the supportive ecosystem, and the opportunities available here. My co-founder discovered business opportunities in the Netherlands while he was doing his exchange studies in The Hague. He engaged with The Hague Tech, a coworking space and accelerator. He built his network, interacted with companies in that space, attended community events, and learned more about the startup ecosystem in the Netherlands. Ultimately, everyone agreed that the Netherlands would be the best place to start our business.
The Netherlands: The Hub for Startups
Generally, the Netherlands is well known for its entrepreneurial culture and supportive policies towards startups and scaleups, which encourage innovation and business growth, making it easier to establish and grow a business here. Additionally, the abundance of accelerators, incubators, and coworking spaces in the Netherlands provides access to talent, mentorship, and networking opportunities, which are crucial for a startup. The strategic location of the Netherlands also makes it possible for businesses to expand beyond the country. Moreover, the Netherlands has a favourable business climate with comparatively low levels of bureaucracy, which is attractive for business entrepreneurs. The language barrier was also not a hindrance, making it even more appealing for us. Overall, the Netherlands provides a conducive environment for innovative companies to establish and grow, so we chose this country to set up our business.
Our startup and most of our team live in The Hague. We chose the city because of its good balance between work and private life, a culture I highly respect. The city is vibrant and active but also allows for downtime and a quieter pace, beneficial for both work and personal life. The Hague also has a strategic location, being close to other major tech hubs in the Netherlands, such as Amsterdam, Utrecht, Rotterdam, and Delft, which are often our destinations for business purposes. Additionally, The Hague is close to Belgium and within a reasonable distance of Germany. These factors encouraged us to establish our business here in The Hague. Furthermore, our accelerator, The Hague Tech, is also based in The Hague, and we are still in this coworking space. While our main headquarters will remain in the Netherlands, we aspire to expand our business and have a presence throughout Europe.
Tech and IT Ecosystem in the Netherlands
The tech and IT ecosystem in the Netherlands are dynamic, vibrant, and supportive, providing startups and scaleups with the resources we need to succeed. What makes me happy is that at the heart of this ecosystem are the startups and scaleups that serve as a driving force behind innovation and growth. Numerous organisations and entities in the Netherlands assist startups and scaleups, offering mentorship, funding, and networking opportunities, which are crucial for success. Additionally, the Netherlands is home to well-established corporate giants open to working with young and innovative companies, further boosting the ecosystem. The Dutch government policies also encourage the growth of startups and scaleups and generally support innovation and entrepreneurship. This approach creates a healthy environment for tech and IT startups and scaleups to thrive. Not to mention, the education system in the Netherlands that continuously produces a steady stream of young talent and graduates who can contribute to startups.
Tech and IT Ecosystem: A Comparison
In comparison to Azerbaijan, I find the Netherlands very open-minded. The country provides a conducive environment for young people and companies to thrive. In Azerbaijan, well-established companies dominate the sector, so opportunities for young companies to flourish are limited, which is unfortunate. However, if I compare it with the Finnish startup and scaleup ecosystem, specifically in the IT and tech sector, I believe Finland sets a great example. Especially in terms of the engagement of female entrepreneurs, it's something we can look up to, and I wish we could be closer to that example here in the Netherlands.
“Generally, every moment in the Netherlands has been a good memory for me.”
A New Home Country
Honestly, my experience living in the Netherlands for the past four years has been absolutely amazing. The Netherlands has become a true home country for me. I feel so comfortable, and I have made many friends. Some memories that come to mind are late-night walks during spring and summer when the sun is still up, walks on the beach with friends and family, and even the occasional fight with seagulls at the beach. I think many people living in the Netherlands can relate to these stories. I also remember sitting in the evenings at the office with my friends from other companies operating in the same coworking space, ordering food from our favourite place, and just enjoying our time. Generally, every moment in the Netherlands has been a good memory for me.
Fledgerr has ambitious goals and continues to contribute to the sector from its early stage. For Arzu Hasanova, the Netherlands proved to be the country that fosters innovation and growth. This environment can be ideal for open-minded and enthusiastic entrepreneurs looking for the most suitable space for their ideas to come to life. Arzu is confident that the startups and scaleups in the sector are the driving force that continues to innovate while the already established entities, in turn, boost their growth. With such a dynamic atmosphere and symbiotic relations, the Netherlands has become home for many, including Arzu and her ever-growing business.
Explore your options in the Netherlands
Learn more about the ICT sector and the NL Startup & Tech ecosystem in the Netherlands.