The Netherlands is one of Europe's leaders in the number of startups per capita. This startup ecosystem offers plenty of opportunities, but at the same time, Dutch startups face challenges as they scale up. Impact startups - companies focused on solving societal issues - experience specific obstacles in this scaling phase, shares Invest NL.

These entrepreneurs are faced with additional challenges as they are often pioneers in new markets. Those challenges are even heightened if their business has a strong technological component. This type of business is often capital-intensive and needs more time to launch their products than, for instance, traditional software startups.

Crucial Phase
They are often in the pre-scaling phase, a critical moment when they must establish a solid and scalable foundation in commercial and financial operations to achieve rapid growth. However, this crucial phase is often overlooked, which can be quite problematic, as these impact startups are essential for the transition to a greener economy.

Invest-NL's research following the Fastlane program sheds light on the specific challenges these companies face and provides insights into possible solutions. This is concretized with a case study about the Fastlane program, which serves as an example of successful support for impactful startups in this crucial growth phase. The five key findings from the report are:

  • With a unique and best-in-class ecosystem, the Dutch agrifood sector is highly innovative, making it an excellent starting point.
  • In the Dutch agrifood sector, most startups fail in the crucial phase just before scaling. Therefore, this is the phase where the most support is needed.
  • Companies that scale face unique challenges. There is no universal solution; individual support is essential.
  • For the growth of impact-driven startups and scale-ups in the agrifood sector, entire chains must change and innovate. This requires more partnerships, collaboration, and systemic changes.
  • The impact of startups can only be effectively tracked through a data-driven mindset, problem analysis, and the testing of new ideas.

Source: Invest NL