Author profile picture

Good news about scale-ups in the Netherlands: research by the Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship (ECE) and the Rotterdam School of Management (RSM) shows that the number of fast-growing companies in the Netherlands has increased for the first time in several years. The number of fast-growing companies increased by 8.3 per cent in 2023. These companies also created almost 215,000 jobs in the past three years.

  • The number of high-growth companies in the Netherlands is rising, despite the major challenges they face.
  • The number of high-growth companies led by at least one female entrepreneur remains stagnant.

Growth through cooperation

The key to this renewed growth lies in cooperation between different actors in the entrepreneurial landscape. The Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship emphasises the importance of the interplay between governments, knowledge institutions and private parties. This synergy is essential for scaling up innovations, especially in the fields of green chemistry and sustainability.


While rapid growth is often seen as a sign of success, research shows that sustainable scale-up requires more than just growth figures. Leadership plays a decisive role in a company’s ability to sustain this growth.

Amsterdam as a growth engine

With a 14.1% share of all Dutch high-growth companies, Amsterdam plays a central role in this growth story. The gap to 655 fast-growing companies. Moreover, the capital functions as a magnet for entrepreneurs and investors.

Investors are showing a shift in their focus amid this growth. Profitable growth and cost management are higher on the agenda than before. This is a response to the lessons of the past, where growth sometimes came at the expense of profitability and sustainability. The bankruptcies of high-growth companies such as VanMoof and Lightyear show that a single-minded growth focus can be risky.

Challenges and opportunities

However, current market conditions with inflation, geopolitical tensions and supply chain disruptions still pose challenges. Fast-growing companies therefore need to constantly rethink their offerings and strategies. Moreover, the competition for skilled staff will intensify.

Despite more high-growth companies, the gap between the leaders and the rest of the Dutch companies seems to be widening. Half of the Dutch business sector is still making little progress or even shrinking.

The number of high-growth companies led by at least one female entrepreneur also remains stuck at around 10 per cent, despite all the efforts of both the government and the business community.


In any case, the resurgence of fast-growing Dutch companies in 2023 is a promising development that shows that despite external challenges, internal strength and innovation can prevail.