With the growth of horticulture worldwide, companies are looking for ways to provide the best possible support for growers elsewhere. Since COVID, the term 'local' has been used more often. Setting up an entity abroad is one option. Dutch companies are increasingly opting for it, particularly in the horticultural sector.
ACE and Visa4You have noticed this. Both Dutch companies have a large number of clients in the horticultural sector. Since 2006 Visa4You has been supporting Dutch entrepreneurs with export and business operations in Australia and Canada. It does so together with ACE, an administrative service provider, among others.
Setting up a local entity has the necessary advantages for companies, as Ilona Bennink (on the right in the photo) of Visa4You knows. "Business expansion is logical. You see that companies are getting bigger and want to grow internationally. It is easier to offer service from the country itself and to have machines and people on site. It also has tax advantages."
Working on location for longer
With the growth of projects in horticulture, building a greenhouse, for example, is no longer just 'a quick job'. Weeks or months can pass before a project is completed. At that point, it helps if people and machines can easily stay abroad for a long time. "To get a visa or work permit, a foreign entity is not necessarily a must. But in Canada, for example, a branch office in the country itself is an advantage for Dutch companies to be able to have people work on location for a long time."
To help entrepreneurs with the step to foreign countries, Visa4You works with an extensive network including government agencies that can assist entrepreneurs. "Our service does indeed resemble the concept of turnkey as it is known in horticulture", laughs Ilona.
Part of that 'turnkey' service is ACE, among other things. Rena Warmerdam (pictured right), Country Manager for Australia at the company that provides administrative services, sees that many companies from the Netherlands are (trying to) take the step to Australia. "Sometimes first without a local entity, but then companies often run into certain challenges. It then means that they either set up a local entity or withdraw from the market again. A missed opportunity and unnecessary.
What is important to take into account when making the move to Australia, as is often the case abroad, is the importance of personal relationships. "Australians, even more than in the Netherlands, like to do business on the basis of personal relationships."
That is why Australian parties, like their customers, also often prefer to do business with a party with a local entity. And preferably also a local address and local representation. According to Rena, this is for two reasons. "On the one hand, an entity like this gives a lot of confidence because it shows that a company is serious about Australia in the long term. And secondly, it gives more security that if there are unexpected problems there is a local entity to turn to."
Help from all corners
ACE itself makes setting up a local entity as easy as possible. "An important part of that is helping companies get to grips with the rules here." In COVID times sometimes even before companies have set foot on the ground due to COVID and travel restrictions. "That makes it a bit more complex, but not impossible."
Once boots are on the ground, it is a matter of putting all other necessary matters in order. ACE helps with that too. "Think about registration with the right authorities, opening a bank account, setting up the (salary) administration, bookkeeping, and tax matters. And even after that, we continue to support companies in their growth. We always make our local network available and make introductions to parties we have good experiences with."
An example of such a party is Austrade, an Australian government agency focused on helping foreign companies with trade and investment in Australia. "From Frankfurt, they support companies that are willing to take the step," Rena knows. "They do (free) market research but also point out the available subsidies and support. Regulations can differ from state to state, but those who know their way around or are shown the right way will go a long way.