The Holland House concept emerged as traditional embassies began to trim back their activities in the commercial sector to focus on their diplomatic and consular work. The idea for a more business-orientated organization turned into something more concrete with the opening of a Holland House in Colombia.
It merged the in-depth knowledge of a locally based body with support focused on companies across the Dutch Kingdom looking for new markets, as well as promoting trade, investment and business development between the host country and the Dutch Kingdom. The exact services offered by each Holland House vary from location to location, but in each case they provide a range of services designed to significantly lower the market entry costs and risks, while increasing the speed at which companies in the Dutch Kingdom can develop their business in the corresponding local market. One Curaçao entrepreneur who saw first-hand how Holland House can help businesses to expand is Renato Ignacio, founder and Managing Director of the Curaçao-based technology company, Minubia, and the newest board member of the Curaçao Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He explained to Curaçao Business Magazine how he used the Holland House in Bogota when he was exploring options for expanding his business beyond the island.
“Minubia was founded in 2013, then we opened in Bogota in 2016, San Francisco in 2017, and we plan to be open in Rotterdam this year,” he said. “Minubia is now the biggest app provider in the Netherlands Antilles, but even back when we started, I saw similar problems in other countries to those that we were trying to solve with our software solutions for businesses, and so I also saw potential.”
Ignacio explains how he approached Holland House in Bogota for assistance, and they were able to help him make a one-week fact-finding trip to Colombia a worthwhile investment. “Holland House introduced me to other software companies in the region,” he says. “This helped me get a feel for the local market, but also gave me invaluable connections.”
He notes, however, that Holland House is not a quick solution to expanding a company. “To get the best from them, you need to be specific about what you want to achieve and develop your own strategy for doing it. Holland House can certainly help you execute it, but they won’t do it for you. What they can do is help you to test your ideas; assist in navigating the inevitable red tape involved in operating abroad by signposting expert advisors; and they can make introductions and help with networking. And that can make all the difference to a successful launch overseas.”
Holland House Colombia
Holland House Costa Rica
Holland House Mexico
Holland House Panama