Combining growth and impact: The Top 250- 2024 lead the way in the Dutch economy

Top 250 highlights the 250 most innovative and fastestgrowing companies in the Netherlands, giving insights into the current state of the Dutch economy. The Top 250 Insights Report of 2024 reveals key trends and shares insights on this outstanding group of companies. The main development of this year is the rise of companies that combine high growth with making a positive societal impact, capturing opportunities where societal transitions come into play.

This year, Top 250 welcomes a lot of ‘firsts’:

The group welcomes 131 newcomers. 93 companies from last year have retained their place in the group, compared to 69 companies a year before. This is a positive sign as it demonstrates that more companies are successfully maintaining their high-growth trajectories, despite the challenges that scaling up presents, even for the most talented entrepreneurs. Moreover, 26 companies that were in the Top 250 before but did not make it last year have rejoined the group.

The high-growth landscape is shifting towards more mature companies. This year’s cohort features the oldest companies yet, with an average company age of 16.4 years. This continues the trend of an increasing average age, which rose from 11 years in 2022 to 13.4 years in 2023. As prof. dr. Justin Jansen, co-founder and Senior Fellow of Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship and Professor at Rotterdam School of Management, points out:

“In order to persist high growth, firms should make sure to scale by not just prioritizing growth over efficiency but also making sure that revenues grow faster than costs involved. Although this may not be possible in the early stages of high growth, it is a necessary transition that high-growth firms need to accomplish.”

North Brabant enters top 3 of the country’s economic powerhouses, after North and South Holland. For the first time, North-Brabant surpasses Utrecht, with 30 firms versus Utrecht’s 22. North-Holland remains the leading province with 104 high-growth firms, although this is a decline from last year’s 114. South Holland secures second place again, increasing from 35 to 51 firms. Our findings suggest that the heart of the Dutch entrepreneurial ecosystem may keep shifting, and there might be more surprising changes in the top 3 in the coming years.

This year, 78 of the Top 250 companies (32.5%) have at least one woman founder or C-level manager. More women in leadership is a positive shift, but the gender gap still remains significant.

For the first time, the Top 250 includes three NGOs and seven B Corps, which proves how scaling is not exclusive to a more traditional for-profit context. The focus on sustainability is evident, with seven companies out of 250 being certified B Corps and almost half of the companies indicated to be actively working on achieving the United Nations’ SustainableDevelopment Goals (SDGs).Top 250 celebrates the most remarkable growth stories of the Dutch fast-growing companies and their leaders. It also serves as a call to action to the whole ecosystem. In the words of Leonardo Fuligni, Deputy Director of ECE: “We hope this report serves as an inspiration and a valuable resource for all entrepreneurs, policymakers, and ecosystem developers. Together, we can continue to foster a thriving environment for high growth in the Netherlands.”

Top 250 Event

On November 5, 2024, Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship organizes an exclusive Top 250 event. Conducting this research for eight years in a row, this year ECE brings Top 250 to their home city of Rotterdam. Fuligni explains: “This 2024 edition feels particularly special, as we are bringing the Top 250 back to our home base Rotterdam – a powerhouse for entrepreneurial initiative and action.” The winners in the categories Golden Scaler, Impact Scaler, Young Scaler and Woman-led Scaler will be handed their award by previous year’s winners: Sonja Meijerink of Valcon SEE (Golden Scaler and Woman-led Scaler 2023), Crisp (Young Scaler 2023), and NX Filtration (Impact Scaler 2023).

About Top 250

Top 250 is an annual research conducted by Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship on the fastest-growing companies in the Netherlands. The companies are selected based on weighting of absolute (in number) and relative growth (in percentage) of FTEs between 2020 and 2023, using the OECD (2016) definition of a HighGrowth Firm (HGF) and the typology of growth developed by the European Scaleup Institute. This research and the event are supported by nlgroeit, Municipality of Rotterdam, Dealroom, HelloPrint, and Upstream Festival.

About Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship

Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship (ECE) is a leading international centre for entrepreneurship education and research. Guided by their core values – Entrepreneurial, Collaborative and Excellence – the center drives innovation through high-quality research and education, locally and globally. Through collaborating with entrepreneurs, academia, education, government, and industry partners, ECE actively shapes the future of entrepreneurship and drives positive, sustainable societal and economic change.

 For enquiries, contact Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship’s Marketing and Communication team at

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