Startup Visa Facilitator

For seed-stage entrepreneurs
For whom

Ambitious entrepreneurs from all over the world! Entrepreneurs who want to grow their business in the Netherlands and want to expand their business in the European market.

Price & location

The costs are €500 (excluding VAT) per participant per month for a duration of one year. This is a fixed fee price.

Startup Visa Facilitator 

Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship is a recognised RVO* startup facilitator for international innovative startup entrepreneurs. A facilitator is a business mentor that provides the entrepreneur with support. Having a facilitator is one of the official conditions for getting a startup visa. With a startup visa, international startups have one year to grow/expand innovative company in the Netherlands. 

During this year, you will get an Erasmus Business Membership, with access to a flex workspace.

* the RVO is the Netherlands Enterprise Agency that provides the final assessment for the entrepreneur to obtain their visa from the IND (Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service).

Grow your business in the Netherlands

The Netherlands is a central hub of Europe, with a diverse workforce and international environment it is the perfect country to land your startup. English is universally spoken, there is an active international business climate and good infrastructure for startups. The Netherlands is a country that welcomes innovative and scalable entrepreneurs and wants to encourage entrepreneurship. At Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship you will be guided through the development of your startup in the Dutch market. A break down of the process to join our Startup Visa Facilitation Programme is illustrated below:

What we offer you

We’ve supported more than 400 ambitious early/seed-stage entrepreneurs in multiple programmes. All kinds of people participated; from students to former CFOs and medical specialists, and they had all kinds of ideas; from an online digital housing platform to a more technical DNA testing kit and an online packaging-free supermarket.


Active coaching from our network of investors, experienced entrepreneurs and experts

View coaches


Workshops on business modelling, lean startup methodology, customer development and more

See programme

Inspiring workplace

Make use of flex workspaces and meeting rooms at the ECE Campus, home to more than 100 innovative companies

Check out the ECE Campus

The Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship

Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship is the leading entrepreneurship centre in Europe.

We provide a unique platform that ranges from scholarly insights about (corporate) entrepreneurship and new opportunities, startup campuses for ambitious entrepreneurs, to exciting executive programmes for leading innovation excellence within established organisations.

We developed a 10.000 m2 entrepreneurship campus, housing over 100 startups and scale-ups, creating the learning environment to teach, train and develop people to excel in innovation.

Erasmus University Rotterdam has the largest academic research group in Europe with over 25 researchers and 4 professors in the field of entrepreneurship.

What our graduates say

Since the start of the programmes we’ve supported more than 400 ambitious early-stage entrepreneurs in setting up their venture. All kinds of people participated; from students to former CFOs and medical specialists, and they had all kinds of ideas; from an online digital housing platform to a more technical DNA testing kit and an online packaging-free supermarket.

“The best part for me is to find myself around like-minded entrepreneurs, people who have a similar mind-set as you. This is when you think: “Ok, I’m at the right place”“

Shahpour Shapournia, Founder of Realpars
Alumnus Startup Visa Facilitator 2019

“I very much like the approach of the programme because it was very focused on experiencing and doing things.“

Gastón Käufer Barbé, Founder of Toucan Insights
Alumnus Startup Visa Facilitator 2019

2019/2020 participants: Ahmer and Sarah

Founders of SavFood

Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship is strategically placed to support new startups but most of all, it has provided us with people who fully understand what we need. We have learned more about entrepreneurship while getting help starting up our business.

Read the interview


When you want to apply for a startup visa and therefore a residence permit in the Netherlands, there are several conditions that apply. An overview of the startup visa conditions can be found here, while the general conditions can be found here. There are also conditions that apply to you as well as your facilitator. Please make sure to read through the conditions listed on the officials page before applying.

Please note: We don’t accept pitch decks and business plans that do not fulfil the basics requirements.*

*see ”tips for a good business plan” below.

When continuing to work on the business plan, we advise you to emphasis the following points: 

  • Level of innovativeness 
  • Market traction gathered in the Dutch economy (sales, launching customers, partnerships, Letters of intent)
  • A validated value proposition and business model
  • Sufficient financial means
  • Market research (surveys, testimonials, partnerships etc.) and an analysis of the competition  
  • A step-by-step business plan including:
    • a description of why your product or service is innovative
      a description of which activities you as a starting entrepreneur will take in the first year to grow your business in the Netherlands
    • the structure of the organisation
    • assigned roles and tasks (especially your role as an entrepreneur within the company)
    • the legal form of the company
    • division of shares
    • make sure to always draw conclusions!

Our selecetion process

Upon the receipt of the initial payment (€250), we will provide you a feedback report of the innovativeness of your business and its viability in the Dutch market. If we think there is potential for your business to be implemented in the Netherlands, then you’ll be invited for an interview with the Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship for the final selection process.

After reviving two comprehensive feedback rounds from Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship for your step-by-step plan and we think you are ready for the next step, your application will be submitted to the IND via the relevant Dutch embassy.  A positive recommendation from the RvO is necessary in order for the IND to make a final decision (within a period of 90 days).

Once you’ve arrived in the Netherlands, you will:

  • register at the KvK (Dutch Chamber of Commerce)
  • be connected to the right partners in the Dutch startup ecosystem
  • receive eleven months of individual coaching
  • flex workspace

If you think you are eligible for applying for a startup visa with Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship as facilitator, then apply here.

We accept applications all year round so there. No application deadline.


Overview of the Costs* (as of 2020)

  • Non-refundable one-time application fees for ECE to be your facilitator, which consists of:
    • €250 (incl. VAT) for ECE’s comprehensive evaluation of your business idea, including a feedback report – to be paid upon application
    • €500 if your company gets selected as a visa applicant – to be paid upon signing the facilitation agreement
  • €500 monthly payments to ECE for the facilitation process

An initial payment (per startup) is required for us to consider your application for the Startup Visa Facilitator Programme during the selection process. Once we have received the €250, you can expect a decision on your application within 3 weeks. If your company gets selected for the Startup Visa Programme, you sign a 12 month contract with the Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship. Since the visas are granted on personal basis, an upfront payment of €500 is required after signing the contract. This payment is used to cover our administrative costs in the application process and is non-refundable, regardless of whether you are granted the visa or not. If the visa is granted to you, the upfront payment will serve as the first monthly payment. Thereafter, 11 monthly payments of €500 are required to cover the facilitation process of the startup. These costs are charged per person in the team that applies for a Startup Visa.

During this year, you will have access to the Erasmus Business Membership and a flex workspace in the inspiring Rotterdam Science Tower among other startups and have access to our community and networking events. If your startup grows during the year, and you wish to upgrade your workspace to an office space, the costs of an office (price depending on the type of office) will be added on top of the monthly startup visa facilitation fee.

* all costs are excluding VAT (unless otherwise specified) and the visa application fee with the IND (of €326).

Are you ready to take the next step?


Do I need a team to join the Startup Visa Facilitator Programme?

Contrary to many other startup programs, you do not need a team to the join Erasmus Startup Visa Facilitator Programme. Our focus is on seed-stage entrepreneurs, and we know many of them don’t have a team yet. That being said, having the right team is a very a important ingredient for the future success of your startup. That’s why during the programme we also talk about how to find the right co-founders and team members, something many of our coaches have experience with. Perhaps even more importantly, the network you’ll gain through our programme, can be of great help in finding team members. For example, every year more than 20.000 people visit the events held at our ECE Campus.

Is it possible to get a discount on the participation fee for the Startup Visa Facilitator Programme?

It is not possible to receive a discount with the Startup Visa Facilitator Programme.

What does it take to get accepted into the Startup Visa Facilitator Programme?

Our application process consist of two steps. The first is an online questionnaire in which you answer questions about you and your startup, including uploads of your resume and draft step-by-step plan. After we receive the initial application fee, we will provide you with a comprehensive feedback report and a final decision within three weeks. Sometimes we invite you for an interview to discuss outstanding questions. We review your application by looking at the business itself on the one hand, and you as a person on the other. With regards to the business plan, we consider to what extent the idea is something new or innovative for the Dutch market specifically and if it has the potential to scale. When it comes to you as a person, we look at your professional and entrepreneurial background, what you’ve achieved so far in moving your business activities forward and your personal ambitions.

I'm looking for an investment, can you connect me to investors?

Yes and no. ECE has a huge network that does include many investors. A number of our coaches are also active as angel investors or venture capitalists and the ECE Campus is home to companies who can all support you in your quest for funding. Therefore this is not the primary purpose of the Startup Visa Facilitator Programme. These subjects are covered in other programmes for later stage startups.

What kind of workplace will I get at the ECE Campus when I join the Startup Visa Facilitator Programme?

The ECE campus consists of more than 10.000m2. We have 7 inspiring floors with their own theme (including the Life Sciences & Health hub). Our campus is the home base for our community, consisting of 100+ innovative companies that are situated here: start-ups, scale-ups and corporates. During your time with us, you can make free use of our dedicated desk area on the sixth floor as well as the numerous flex working spaces throughout the building.  That also means  you can reserve all the meeting rooms to host customers or partners and can even host your own event if you’d like. Did we already mention we also have a ping pong table, bar and stunning view over the port of Rotterdam?

In what phase should my startup be?

Preferably in the seed phase. Ideally, you have a functioning prototype, minimum viable product (MVP) or conducted pre-sales.

How much money should I have?

We ask you to prove that you can provide at least €22,000, either on your personal bank account or on the company account. This is to cover the required amount for the IND as well as the €500 monthly payments for the programme.

How long does the entire process take?

At least 6 months. This includes the three months that the Dutch immigration service (IND) usually needs to review your visa application.

Do I have to register with the Dutch Chamber of Commerce before I come to the Netherlands?

No, you need to sign a declaration stating that you intend to register within six weeks after your arrival in the Netherlands. If you do not register within 6 weeks, your visa can be withdrawn.


Curious to learn more about the Startup Visa Facilitator Programme?

Feel free to get in touch with our Startup Programmes team!

T: 010-740 23 33

Jip Dresia

Programme Manager Education