Did you work on an innovative idea during your PhD that you would like to market? Start your own business or get a taste of working as an entrepreneur at one of the many start-ups in the Netherlands. The Netherlands has an extensive start-up ecosystem and is one of the top five innovation leaders in Europe (European Innovation Scoreboard 2020).

Most universities are aware of the possibilities to market research and support PhDs in all kinds of ways in their journey to self-employment. Did you know that you have various resources at your disposal being a scientifically trained starting entrepreneur?

For example, many research universities have a 'Knowledge Transfer Office' (KTO) or a 'Technology Transfer Office' (TTO). They are involved in the transfer of knowledge or technology to society and also help scientists to start their own business. For example, they offer courses to train your entrepreneurial skills. And they can connect you with the right people or incubators (a university-affiliated organization that helps starting entrepreneurs across the board in marketing their product).

There is a lot to consider when starting your own business! Think of:

  • Writing a business plan
  • Looking for investors/financing
  • Networking
  • Branding/marketing: how do you get customers?
  • Building a team: how do you get staff?

Do you have an innovative idea but not yet ready to take the step to become a starting entrepreneur? At THRIVE you can participate in their Purpose accelerator as a PhD candidate. Another supporting organization is Techleap.

Are you convinced that your idea is very promising in the market? Then take a look at the Faculty of Impact and see if you can participate in their two-year postdoc program in entrepreneurship.


And of course you also need the right competences! As an entrepreneur you benefit from:

  • Passion for what you do/your product/service
  • Curiosity
  • Creativity
  • Flexibility
  • Perseverance
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Problem solving - Possibility thinking
  • Commercial insight
  • Risk taking

Salary indication

We try to give you a salary indication at all stations of the Career Navigator. That is impossible at this station. Keep in mind that to start a business you have to invest first, before you can make money.