Startup Visa Facilitator

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For whom

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

Find out what the requirements are

Price & location

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

More information

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All you need to know in 1 PDF. Download the brochure and take a look at our programme.

Startup Visa Facilitator 

Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship is a recognized 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 conditions for getting a startup visa. With a startup visa, international startups have one year to start an innovative company in the Netherlands. 

During this year, you have the opportunity to follow the Erasmus Startup Programme, the Erasmus Business Programme and the Erasmus Membership Programme.

* 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).

Start your business in the Netherlands

The Netherlands is a central hub of Europe, with the diverse workforce and environment it’s the perfect country to land your startup. English is universally spoken, there is an active international business climate and good infrastructure. 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 programmes that will help you create the business you desire. Below is the process of the Startup Visa Facilitation Programme illustrated:

How we support you and your business

We provide the following three programmes for Startup Visa participants:

Erasmus Startup Programme

The Erasmus Startup Programme is a four week programme that empowers you to validate your scalable business ideas and find your first customer. We train you to use the entrepreneurship process by heart and understand how you can find out what your customer wants.

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Erasmus Business Programme

The Erasmus Business Programme is a 10 week programme that empowers you to find the right business model, test your pricing models and set up your supply chain. During this programme you will be pushed to take the next step. You have already validated your customer base and what is desired by your customer, now you need to create a viable business out of it and maybe close your first (real) sales deals.

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Business Membership Programme

Do you want to speed up the development of your startup? Interaction with fellow entrepreneurs? A dedicated workspace? The ECE Business Membership allows you to join our community and benefit from all the facilities while staying lean. Through the ECE Business Membership, you’ll be able to have a dedicated workspace and to attend workshops and accountability sessions every month. 

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Read this first!

If you want to join the Startup Visa Facilitator Programme, please do not apply for one of the other programmes separately! You can sign up via the orange button.

What we offer you

The Startup Visa Facilitator Programme is based on years of academic and practical experience and consists of a collection of modules covering items such as business models, value propositions, startup financials, pitching, sales and marketing, that will give you insight in how to start a company. We provide you with the tools, skills and network to make sure that your actions are both effective and efficient.


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

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

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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 CFO’s 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

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“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

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Conditions & Costs

When you want to apply for a startup visa and therefore a residence permit in the Netherlands, there are several general conditions that apply to your stay. You can find the general conditions here.  

Apart from the general conditions there are conditions that apply to you as well as your facilitator. You can find those conditions here. 

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 2 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.

You will have access to the Erasmus Startup Programme, the Erasmus Business Programme and the Business Membership Programme during this year. You will also receive a dedicated workspace in the inspiring Science Tower among other start-ups 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)

Ready to apply?

Do you meet the above conditions of Startup Visa Facilitator Programme? Then click the orange button:


Internationals applying for a startup visa with Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship as the facilitator have to meet the following requirements: 

  • An innovative startup idea 
  • A match with the Dutch Market 
  • An in-depth business plan 
  • A working prototype 
  • Sufficient financial means (resources) to be able to reside and live in the Netherlands.

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

Upon the receipt of the initial payment (€250), we will provide you a feedback report of the innovativeness of your business idea and its viability in the Dutch market. If we think there is potential for your idea 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 you are selected as a visa applicant, you need to: 

1. Fill in the following form:
2. Have a step-by-step business plan containing:

    • the structure of the organisation, including:
      • assigned roles and tasks (especially your role as entrepreneur within the company)
      • the legal form of the company
    • 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 develop your idea into a business (e.g. participate in the Erasmus Startup Programme and the Erasmus Business Programme) 

After receiving 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:

  1. Register at the KvK (Dutch Chamber of Commerce)
  2. Choose whether to commit to the Erasmus Startup and Business Programmes (without additional costs)
  3. Receive eight months of individual coaching

Want to know more?

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 Programme. Our focus is on early-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 startup 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 simple steps. The first is an online questionnaire in which you tell us more about you and your startup. Based on your answers, we decide if we want to invite you to the second round, a personal interview. During both steps, we review your application by looking at the idea itself on the one hand, and you as a person on the other. With regards to the idea, we consider to what extent it is something new or innovative 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 idea forward and your personal ambitions. If you can show us your potential, you’re most welcome to be a part of our Startup community.

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. That being said, it is our experience that many of our participants are not ready for an investment yet and raising money is therefore 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 the six weeks of the Get Started programme,  you’ll have a Business Membership of ECE; that means 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 (pre-)seed phase. Ideally, you have a functioning prototype, minimum viable product (MVP) or conducted some sales.

How much money should I have?

We ask you to prove that you can provide at least 18.000, – euro’s in one year, either on your personal bank account or on the company account.

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.

Get in touch

Interested to know more?

Curious to learn more about the Startup Visa Facilitator Programme?

Get in touch with Jip Dresia.


Phone: +31 10 302 1331

Do you have specific questions for your Startup Programme Team?

Jip Dresia

Programme Manager