Inspiring change in Rotterdam
Venquis is a business transformation recruitment firm with global ambitions. Through building long term relationships with major players across the financial services, technology, energy and retail sectors, they’ve grown quickly since starting in London six years ago. With annual turnover now around £25 million, they are fast becoming the world’s leading change management recruitment consultancy.
They are also strong believers in the benefits of a global workforce. “We can’t deliver change and not believe in it ourselves,” declares Venquis co-founder and MD Steve Garner. “Our vision is to be the world’s number one in the business transformation niche and we’re always looking to promote people who think big when it comes to their career. That means we’re actively looking to expand across Europe, to be the perfect partner for ambitious change management professionals.”
Rotterdam – a dynamic springboard to Europe
Following the hugely successful launch of their Munich office in 2014, Venquis decided that Rotterdam would be a key platform for the next phase of their expansion. “The Dutch market is buoyant and particularly attractive for us,” explains Steve.
Venquis already use a shared office space in Rotterdam. This has given them the flexibility to expand at their own pace as they grow their client base across Europe. They have also partnered with Dutch universities to attract talented, multi-lingual people to join their growing team.
“Rotterdam really fits with our company values,” says Steve. “It’s a futuristic, dynamic city that’s growing quickly and attracting a lot of start-ups. We did consider other locations, such as Paris, Frankfurt and Brussels,” he continues, “and they are still on the agenda for the future. But we already have major clients in the Netherlands so this is a good time for us to open a local office to better serve their needs. We also see Rotterdam as a great platform to expand into Belgium and France.”
Future proofing during a period of transformation
In many ways their timing has been perfect. “We set up our Dutch company (BV) and signed all the papers on 23 June 2016,” Steve explains. “Like many others we expected the UK to remain in the European Union but woke up to a very different situation the next day.”
True to their business transformation specialty, Venquis are taking this in their stride. “With our BV we won’t be restricted by any future trade agreements,” says Steve. “We’ve effectively future proofed our European expansion.
“Now, we’re seeing other organisations following suit. We have clients considering their options so we’re working with them on modelling various business scenarios. We’re also seeing increased demand for business transformation experts and project managers to help companies manage Brexit.”
Loving life in Rotterdam
Three members of the Venquis team have already happily re-located to Rotterdam with no major issues. “In fact,” says Steve, “they love it. It’s a really attractive place for people who want to gain international experience, as there’s no language barrier and weekend visits to family and friends in the UK only take an hour or so. It definitely has a high appeal and is a really easy sell as a location.”
Steve’s advice to other companies looking to expand into Europe is to speak to the inward investment agencies early in the process. “We learnt a lot from setting up our Munich office where we tried to do everything ourselves,” he recalls. “This time we spoke to the NFIA and Rotterdam Partners and they were brilliant.
“Between them, they introduced us to partners, such as lawyers, and organised tours to view office spaces. Suddenly we had a team of experts to help us. With the right people around the table we were able to set up our new office pretty quickly.”