1 in 10 innovative firms claim world-first innovation

According to Statistics Netherlands (CBS), approximately 15 thousand Dutch enterprises claim to have implemented a technological innovation in the period 2012-2014. These innovations involve new or fundamentally improved products or production processes. One in ten of these enterprises claim to have a world-first innovation.

The results are based upon a biennial international survey among companies employing a staff of ten or more persons. Nearly half of the 51 thousand Dutch enterprises in this category indicated to be engaged in innovative projects. In addition to technological innovations, these enterprises also implemented organisational and marketing innovations. The percentage of companies engaged in innovation projects is currently back at its former level during the period 2008-2010.

Innovation according to the classic and broad definition
 Non-technological innovationsTechnological and non-technological innovationsTechnological innovations

When asked whether the innovation project enterprises were implementing or had recently implemented were unique, 10 and 16 percent respectively claimed their innovation was unique on a global or European scale. One quarter of enterprises indicated to be the first nationwide. The share of larger enterprises employing at least fifty staff was often above average.

Innovations back at level 2008-2010

With 48 percent, the proportion of innovative businesses is back at the level of 2008-2010, versus 38 percent during the period 2010-2012. The dip was mainly due to the declining number of technological innovations.

The renewed drive to innovate was most obvious in the sector agriculture and in the leather and metal industry, but lagged behind in the sector repair and installations, the transport sector and the sector waste collection and treatment.


The approximately 19 thousand innovative enterprises tend to focus on the Dutch or international market more often than other enterprises. For 48 percent, the Dutch market is most important, 19 percent aim at foreign markets and 33 percent are region-oriented.
Local and regional markets are most important for 51 percent of surveyed enterprises, 37 percent are aimed at the national market and 13 percent sell their products on the international market.


In the period 2012-2014 innovation was more important in agribusiness than in most other sectors; 41 percent of enterprises implemented a technological innovation, as against 37 percent of all enterprises together. Examples of innovation projects in agribusiness are improved fertilisers to make plants and flowers grow faster, food ingredients conducive to health, like probiotics and cholesterol-lowering supplements or products for the prevention of allergies, e.g. gluten and lacto-free products.