An alternative for foreign startups who want a Dutch bank account for Startup Visa application

The Netherlands has definitely one of the most welcoming immigration policy in Europe. The Dutch government has recently set up Start-up Visa to make it easier for non-EU nationals to start their business in the Netherlands. One of the requirements for the Dutch Startup Visa is that non-EU entrepreneur must have sufficient financial resources to live in the Netherlands.

To prove that you have sufficient financial resources, you must show a bank statement from a Dutch bank stating this amount. A bank statement from a non-Dutch bank account is not sufficient for the Startup Visa application. However, opening a Dutch bank account can be a struggle for non-European entrepreneurs as Dutch banks may say no to them. Why so? And what is the alternative solution?

Challenges: Risky, expensive and time consuming for Dutch banks From the article written in the World Startup Factory, Egbert Ottevanger, the co-founder and accelerator manager of the accelerator World Startup Factory, says “European banks are obliged to verify every (international) beneficiary that owns more than 25 percent of a company”, he says. “In order to exclude any risk of money laundering and other shady businesses, some Dutch banks have lowered this to 5 percent thus making it even more difficult for a Non-EU startup in The Netherlands.”

The act of screening every international investor and verifying all these accounts is too expensive, particularly considering the low profit startups make. It is a known fact that most startups begin as small companies with high risks and little return.

Possible alternative Ebury, one of the fastest growing Fintechs in Europe, may offer an interesting solution for small business clients. The company was founded in 2009, has 17 offices with 600 employees worldwide, and offers payments in over 140 currencies. For the purpose of the Dutch Startup visa, Ebury’s service could address the problems that non-EU entrepreneurs face.

“We can provide international startups in The Netherlands with an IBAN number”, says Ebury’s key account director Freerk ten Hoor. “Before they can make or receive payments, we ask them to specify from which accounts they expect payments, and where they transfer to. We screen receivers on the front end of the system, so before the transaction is made. This makes our process more efficient than the system of traditional banks, who need to go through all the books before even opening an account.”

This new service of providing startups with an IBAN number was the idea of the Dutch office of Ebury and World Startup Factory, as a direct response to the growing problems non-EU entrepreneurs have in the Netherlands. “This service in which customers pay a fee per transaction might be the only solution for many startups,” says Egbert Ottevanger.

Ottevanger understands the banks’ risk-averse attitude particularly towards non-EU entrepreneurs, but he believes the current state of affairs should change. “If you want a thriving startup ecosystem in the Netherlands in the long run, this obstacle needs to be removed.”

Source: World Startup Factory

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