The success factors of Dutch-Turkish entrepreneurs

In recent years entrepreneurship and economic development have become particularly prominent policy areas for the Dutch government in need of improvement. As for entrepreneurship, a recent report by Gürkan Çelik in the Journal of Social Intervention speaks specifically of entrepreneurship amongst Turkish migrants in the Netherlands.

According to the article, the increased level of education of Turkish Dutch could imply the potential of ethnic and innovative entrepreneurship, which will have positive spillover effects for the Dutch economy.


Some of the conclusions are outlined below:

  • Innovative entrepreneurs associate chances of success with their own personal strengths. In many cases starting up a business is seen as an opportunity rather than out of economic necessity.

  • Innovative business(wo)men attach much value to diversity. Çelik reports that the entrepreneurs with more diverse ethnic and cultural social networks tend to have more practical knowledge and can more successfully navigate between those different cultures.

  • Dutch-Turkish businessmen are increasingly present in other branches beyond the traditional retail and catering. Agriculture, the construction branch and diverse service industries are not uncommon.

  • The level of education, age and professional experience are crucial factors in the success of innovation. Most of the entrepreneurs have at least a bachelor’s degree, are in their 30s and have had a couple of years (5-10) of experience in the field they decided to start a business in. Also, many spent some time experimenting with starting up an enterprise.

  • Personality traits are more important than technical skills for people to start to business. Having the drive to innovate and broadening the social network is the way through which skills are learned and applied.


Dutch-Turks have become increasingly successful in entrepreneurship in the Netherlands, and often recognize and seize business opportunities in Turkey as well. The predominant success factors seem to be a diversified social/professional network and, in many cases, higher education. With regards to the latter, currently some 23000 Dutch-Turks are enrolled in universities or colleges, part of a continuous trend in development.



Çelik, Gürkan. (2013). The Best of Both Worlds: Success factors of Turkish-Dutch innovative entrepreneurs. Journal of Social Intervention, 22(3), 23–49.

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