RSM and ECE present top 250 fastest growing Dutch companies

Initiated by Professor Justin Jansen from Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM), the Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship (ECE) and RSM presented a list of the 250 fastest growing companies in the Netherlands during the annual nlgroeit event, held in The Hague on Monday, 23 January 2017. At the top of the list was Rituals, founded in 2000, followed by Royal Reesink NV, with third place going to Coolblue, founded by RSM alumnus Pieter Zwart.

Research into these companies demonstrated that the cosmetics brand Rituals created 1,097 new jobs in the period 2012 - 2016. The research also revealed that, collectively, the 250 companies in this list created in excess of 10,000 jobs in the same period.

Turnover and more employees
The Top 250 Growth Companies 2017 shows which companies in the Netherlands realised the greatest growth in the period 2012 - 2016, with the top 10 ranked on the basis of the number of newly created jobs in terms of FTEs (Full-Time Equivalents). Published for the first time this year, the Top 250 Growth Companies 2017 is based on the ScaleUp Dashboard, an initiative of ECE and RSM. It provides an overview of companies that, at the beginning of the period, employed a minimum of 10 employees and/or achieved a turnover of 5 million euros and then grew annually by at least 20 percent in terms of employee numbers and/or turnover.

The top three 

Rituals heads this new list, as presented to nlgroeit’s audience which included Queen Máxima of the Netherlands. Rituals’ founder and CEO, Raymond Cloosterman, has witnessed his company expand to more than 500 stores throughout the world. Cloosterman: “We are extremely honoured to receive this accolade. Rapid growth has never been an aim in itself, but it’s a wonderful reward for the Rituals brand as well as the loyal and passionate employees who work hard every day, both in the shops and behind the scenes. Currently, we are opening two to three shops a week somewhere in the world and the Rituals family is growing rapidly. Last year, we took on and trained 2,400 brilliant new people.”

Holding second place in the Top 250 Growth Companies 2017 is Royal Reesink NV. Founded as a small forge in 1786, Royal Reesink NV now employs 906 people and is a wholesale trader in, inter alia, agricultural machinery, tools, household goods and garden furniture. In third place is Coolblue which was established as a student company by RSM alumnus Pieter Zwart in 1999, and has grown into a business with more than 323 web shops and eight physical stores in the Netherlands and Belgium. In total, Coolblue has created 456 new jobs.

ScaleUp Dashboard

When undertaking its annual research into fast-growing Dutch companies,  ScaleUp Dashboard makes use of various data sources, its own research data and existing public databases; it is led by Prof. Justin Jansen, academic director of ECE. Referring to the Top 250 Growth Companies 2017, Jansen said: “The ScaleUp Dashboard is the first list that has really measured all the companies in the Netherlands with more than 10 employees. Other lists are available, but they only provide limited insight, as either the companies have to register themselves or the focus is on specific sectors. Consequently, there is a lack of insight into which companies actually belong to the Dutch top and that is the gap we’re trying to fill by launching this list of Top 250 Growth Companies, out of the more than 3,000 in the Netherlands.”

Professor Justin Jansen (1976) is Professor of Corporate Entrepreneurship at RSM and the academic director of ECE. His research on strategic leadership, entrepreneurship, innovation and fast-growing companies has been published in prominent international journals. He is viewed as one of the top 100 leading professors in the field of entrepreneurship and is expected to play a crucial role in the development and guidance of future entrepreneurs.

The Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship (ECE) is the leading centre for entrepreneurship in Europe. Fuelled by the belief that entrepreneurship is the primary driver for innovation, ECE strives to embed entrepreneurship in people’s DNA. ECE does not create any companies, but it creates entrepreneurs through the knowledge and network of Erasmus University Rotterdam: a university founded by entrepreneurs more than a 100 years ago. ECE has a clear picture of what makes a start-up successful and what a company’s growth factors are. ECE monitors and researches fast-growing companies and presents its results in the ScaleUp Dashboard.

nlgroeit is a multi-year programme that aims to increase the growth potential of small and medium sized enterprises. This can be achieved by making entrepreneurs aware of growth opportunities, encouraging them to make use of coaching and education, as well as facilitating this by helping them find the ideal coach, mentor or educational training programme. It is an initiative of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Chamber of Commerce, NLevator and NL2025.

Koningin Maxima
More information

For more information about RSM or this release, please contact Marianne Schouten, Media & Public Relations Manager for RSM, on +31 10 408 2877 or by email at


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