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Robert van de Ven: “Let more SMEs benefit from the favorable business environment that the UAE has to offer”

While the tax burden and control pressure for enterprising Netherlands are increasing, according to Robert van de Ven, new opportunities are looming on the Arab horizon. With Zero Tax Consultants he helps Dutch DGAs and SMEs to set up and manage companies in the United Arab Emirates. A unique option for spreading risks, transferring assets and reducing the tax burden where customers are 100% shareholders, without a visa requirement. “The Dutch government's policy is too focused on the short term and pushes entrepreneurs across the border.”
Zero Tax Consultants | Jell Photography

What was your very first summer job?

''My very first summer job was washing cars. Not in a car wash, but in people's homes nearby. I started this when I was about eleven years old. It started small, but I slowly built up my own clientele in the neighborhood. I often worked on weekends and received more and more requests from people who saw me working. So it grew little by little into a small company. I used the money I earned from this with a friend to set up our drive-in show. We saved our money in a piggy bank that you could only open by cutting it open. Every week we put in 10 or 15 guilders. After a year we opened the piggy bank and had saved enough to buy disco lights, mixing consoles and CD players."

How did you end up in your current job? 

''In 2021, I started Zero Tax Consultants together with partners Raymond Schijff and Rob Voordendag. Since 2010, Rob and I have had a trading company in industrial safety products, with branches in the Netherlands and Germany. However, as our company grew, we increasingly had to deal with issues surrounding asset management, risk spreading and transfer to the next generation. We quickly looked across the Dutch border for a solution, because the conditions there are simply more favorable for entrepreneurs.

This got us thinking: why shouldn't we, like the large multinationals, benefit from the favorable business climate that the United Arab Emirates has? Instead of outsourcing this to one of the large (and often expensive) accounting firms, we decided to do our own research. The three of us booked a trip to the Emirates to find out everything for ourselves. During that trip we realized that there must be a great need among Dutch directors and SMEs for advice and guidance on how they can safeguard their assets and transfer them favorably. We couldn't be the only entrepreneurs struggling with this, could we? The idea for Zero Tax Consultants was born. The rest is history… ''

What does your ultimate summer look like? 

''The ultimate summer is mainly relaxing with my family. We like to seek peace and quiet, for example by renting a beach house or a holiday home in the woods. The most important thing is to spend time together, away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Nice sunny weather is a bonus, so Southern Europe is my favorite."

 

“We quickly looked across the Dutch border for a solution”

 

 

Which summer was the most memorable for you? 

''The summer of 2019 is particularly memorable for me. It was the last summer with my wife before we became parents. We went to France with an old Volkswagen camper and participated in the Ironman 70.3 in Vichy. This is a half triathlon consisting of a 1.9 kilometer swim, 90 kilometer cycle and a half marathon run. It was truly a magical experience. I still remember that we started swimming in a river early in the morning while the sun was just rising. The sun shone so brightly that it seemed as if the entire area was covered in gold. In addition, we were surrounded by a great group of people and we stayed in a beautiful French château after the triathlon."

What are you toasting to during the National Summer Drink? 

''I toast to life and everything that comes with it. From a business perspective, I toast the further rollout of Zero Tax Consultants. Previously, we kept our work quite low profile and relied mainly on word of mouth within our network. Last year we were present as a visitor at MASTERS EXPO and we realized that this is exactly our target group and that we want to help more entrepreneurs. That was the moment when we decided to raise our profile and become more visible. From June 20 to 22 we will be at MASTERS SUMMER EDITION and we are ready to show what we have to offer. We are very much looking forward to sharing our knowledge and expertise here and expanding our network.”

You work abroad: what five things are indispensable?

''When I go to the UAE, there are a few things that are absolutely essential for me. First of all, as a real Dutch boy, a good bottle of sunscreen haha... The sun is very bright there and I burn quickly. I also always take my credit card with me, you can use it very well there. In addition, slippers, light clothing and sunglasses.''

Which entrepreneur would you like to spend eight hours on a plane with and what would you like to discuss with him/her?

''I would like to sit on a plane with Pieter Zwart from Coolblue for eight hours. I think he is an inspiring entrepreneur and admire how he has built such a successful company from nothing. His approach and the culture within Coolblue really appeal to me. It radiates a lot of fun.”

What will you bring to the MASTERS SUMMER EDITION?

''At MASTERS SUMMER EDITION Dennis, Raymond, Rob and I present ourselves and our expertise in the field of smart entrepreneurship. Our approach is accessible and personal, and we want to show that we are a reliable Dutch point of contact. So we are really looking forward to talking to visitors.”

Are you curious about the possibilities? Visit the Zero Tax Consultants website here. 

MASTERS SUMMER EDITION 

MASTERS SUMMER EDITION will transform the prestigious De L'Europe Amsterdam into a true fairytale hotel from 20 to 22 June. Throughout the hotel and on the terrace on the Amstel, summer is ushered in and celebrated together, for three days, in the heart of our capital. A merger of (international) guests, influential locals, CEOs, family business owners, VIP relations, visionaries and acquaintances.

At this invitation-only event, stately period rooms with a view of the Amstel - from exclusive (family) businesses - invite you to experience the high-profile brands and industries. From boats to watches and from art to travel. There is a party both outside and inside and the experience is unique to say the least.