Antwerp

“Antwerp is one of the most attractive cities for international startups or scaleups to grow. 16 incubators and accelerators, 3 innovation hubs, numerous VC’s, knowledge institutions, talent… all the elements of an ecosystem are present in abundance. And we as a government facilitate and support this dynamic. We are Open for Business.

Erica Caluwaerts, vice-mayor for Economy and Innovation

“The Port of Antwerp is an open innovation platform where unprecedented opportunities are offered to test and implement innovative solutions. If it works here, you can roll it out all over the world.

Piet Opstaele, Manager Innovation enablement at Port of Antwerp
Ecosystem Highlights
  • 2nd largest port of Europe

  • Nº1 integrated chemical cluster in Europe

  • 6th for Business Friendliness (by fDi)

  • 2nd best mid/small city for connectivity (by fDi Intelligence)

  • 3rd most innovative economy in the world (ZEW/ISI/BDI innovationsindikator 2020)

  • Most funded industries in the last 3 years: Health – Enterprise software – Fintech increased by 30% since 2016

  • $469M VC funding raised in the period of 2015-2022

  • 53.000 students in the city of Antwerp

  • 10,9% of enterprises are active in the creative industries in Antwerp

  • More than 25% speaks 3 or more foreign languages

  • 19,5 billion € added value generated by our companies

Antwerp is your gateway to Europe and the rest of the world. With 60% of European purchasing power in a 500km range, the city is the shortest route to major European industrial and consumer markets.

The superb connectivity of Antwerp, together with the strong business-drive of its people, makes Antwerp a major economic hub, boasting the second largest port in Europe with its biggest chemical cluster, the Europe’s largest diamond trade centre and Belgium’s favorite retail destination.

The City of Antwerp has been firmly committed to foster ecosystems for innovation and became a hotspot in Europe for digital innovation (IOT/AI), circular economy (excels in EU on sustainable chemistry) and health, resulting in a vibrant ecosystem including 3 innovation hubs who provide a soft landing for international startups and scaleups.

Being a cultural and creative hub, 97% agrees Antwerp is a great place to live (Eurostat).

The city welcomes more than 50,000 students annually to its numerous institutions of higher education.

To find out what Antwerp can offer you please visit the following sites or connect with us directly: An introductory guide to Antwerp and Antwerp overview.

Noteworthy Content:

Contact

Sofie Pauwels

Business & Innovatie | Account
Land & Start
SETTLING IN THE CITY
STARTING YOUR BUSINESS
Access to capital

 

Advice about Capital Major VC’s in the country
Antwerp has a strong financial sector. As well as being home to the head offices of important Belgian private, consumer, institutional and business banks (including Argenta, Bank Degroof Petercam, Bank Delen and Bank Van Breda), Antwerp also houses subsidiaries of major multinational banks and other renowned financial institutions like Econopolis and fintech companies such as Winwinner.Funding is easily accessible. Here are some of your possibilities

Crunchbase lists the biggest Belgian Venture Capital firms, all of which belong to different areas of investment. Know them here.

Discover the different investors and VC’s active in Antwerp through the following overview.

Crowdfunding allows you to get the first part of your required financing online. Below are just a handful of crowdfunding platforms available in Flanders:

Angels Mezzanine Financing

For you to know the angel investors in Antwerp, follow this link.BAN Vlaanderen is the Business Angel Network of Flanders. It’s the main starting point if you seek investment from a business angel. It’s a well-known network due to its longstanding reputation in the small market of Flanders.

 

Suitable for established companies, mezzanine financing is a mix of debt and equity financing. The government of Flanders offers two types of mezzanine financing; one for small enterprises and another for rapid-growth, extremely innovative companies. Your partner here is PMV – they offer different financing options for small and large companies.

 

Other Investment Opportunities
 

You can also look for investment opportunities on the sites of the government of Flanders and Belgium. They do provide amongst other incentives starters’ loans to get your business started.

 

Access to talent

Many of the standard private European and international employment agencies, such as Harvey Nash and Manpower have offices in Antwerp and other cities in Belgium. If you want to open a vacancy for a startup job or an internship, there is a diverse amount of job portals for that purpose: Startus; Belgium Startup Jobs; Imalink; Ictjob. More information about the procedures that need to be followed when posting workers to Belgium is available on the website of the FPS Employment, Labour and Social dialogue. The office provides information about labour law in Belgium and refers them to the authorised departments. Read more about people and talent in Antwerp.

Education

Antwerp has a university of its own, but the appeal of the city, in what concerns education and staff qualifications, is a lot greater. Read about the city’s unique selling points regarding people’s talent. There’s also a student club to foster innovation in the city.
Tech Ecosystem
Hot startups & scaleups
New companies

Markets

 

Diversity and Inclusion

After Brussels, Antwerp is the second largest city of Belgium. Home to more than half a million inhabitants, with more than 171 nationalities, Antwerp is one the most ethnically diverse areas in the country and keeps promoting inclusion. On this website, you can even find many ongoing projects on diversity that target gender equality, sexism, homophobia and much more. Give it a look!

 

 

Antwerp in the Media

RSS News

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE CITY

Antwerp is known for being a cosmopolitan city with a ‘village atmosphere’. After all, you can discover and appreciate many of the city’s surprising highlights on foot: one of Europe’s oldest zoos, The Antwerp Zoo, the Beach of Saint Anneke, a deep sea port, so many museums, churches and parks. Be free to explore this cradle of fashion and, above, of well-being. Every information on what to see and do can be found here.

City Map

ACTIVITIES & CASE STUDIES

One thing is clear: if companies want to innovate, there’s no better breeding ground than Antwerp, where creativity and innovation go hand in hand. Innovation is embedded in the city and this is something that deserves to be captured and celebrated. Digital innovation, circular economy, design services, mobility, education and culture; in Antwerp, innovation is everywhere you look. Discover Antwerp’s many competitive advantages in its wide range of high quality clusters. We highlight some.

For more information on the world of opportunities in Antwerp please visit us here.

  • The Beacon is the headquarter for Antwerp’s digital innovation community, bringing together the City of Antwerp, Port of Antwerp, tech companies, research, skills and innovation actors. It’s an innovation hub, focused on AI & IoT, searching solutions in smart city, logistics and industry.
  • BlueHealth Innovation Center stimulates entrepreneurship within digital healthcare, a booming business in Antwerp. An example is Byteflies, they developed a technology which allows Covid-19 patients to leave the hospital sooner while they stay under medical supervision.
  • BlueChem is an incubator for sustainable chemistry and focuses on use of sidestreams, sustainable materials, CO²-capture. The incubator hosts several highly promising startups which grow rapidly thanks to the presence of the major companies in the chemical cluster.
  • StartupVillage is a location in the centre of the city for growing startups and scaleups.
  • TAKEOFFANTWERP is a cooperation between the City of Antwerp, the University and several graduate schools to boost student-entrepreneurship.
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