The capital city Brussels houses not only the EU Parliament, EU Commission and the NATO but it is also a buzzing hub of entrepreneurship.
Startup Weekends, Health Tech, Fin Tech and Internet of Things Hackathons, Cafés Numériques, Summits, Unconventions, Meetups, Open Coffees, and coding and business workshops are very common in every part of the country, and 33% of all the activities take part in Brussels.
If you consider the broad network of enablers in the startup and tech entrepreneurship domain, Brussels has a burgeoning pool of support organizations available. Startups.be’s map shows you their locations and profiles.
This City's Cases
Settling as a founder
European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss nationals can settle in Belgium without needing a Belgian residence permit. To reside in Belgium for a long period or gain permanent status, there are other types of residence statuses. Nationals outside the EEA and Switzerland can make use of different procedures, depending on their situation. Examples are the permit for self-employed workers, work permit, and the startup visa. Visit the website of the FPS Foreign Affairs for more info.
Registration at the municipality
Coming2Belgium is a website for people wishing to settle in Belgium.
Note: A specific startup visa scheme has not yet been developed in Belgium.
Foreign-owned businesses operating in the Belgian market may be a subject to one or more of three types of taxation: Value Added Tax (VAT), Corporate Income Tax and Personal Income Tax. More info available here.
You can also find more information in the VAT section of the FPS Finances website.
The following organisations can help you in the Brussels-Capital Region:
ecosubsi.brussels is a portal with links to all types of assistance for businesses in the Brussels-Capital Region. It also has links to the institutions that can provide financial support for business ventures in Brussels.
Online: ecosubsi.brussels (FR/NL)
impulse.brussels provides advice and information on all matters related to running your business.
BECI (Brussels Enterprises Commerce and Industry)provides advice, consultations and representation services.
IPCF (Institute of Accounting Professionals and Tax Experts) provides tax and accounting advice.
Brussels Regional Public Service answers all questions on the administration of your business, the Region’s laws, applications for subsidies and so on.
Access to capital
- The Brussels Regional Investment Group offers financial support for the creation, reorganisation or expansion of companies registered within the Brussels Capital Region.
- The Brussels Capital Region offers subsidies to the self-employed, SMEs, starters and large organisations.
- The Brussels Institute for Environmental Management (IBGE) offers public funding to companies for investments made with respect for the environment and/or for research and development initiatives aimed at limiting their environmental impact.
Accelerators and Incubators
Accelerators and incubators can invest in your startup with expertise, network and, depending on a program, seed capital. Brussels has a wide variety of accelerators and incubators, including ICAB, EEBIC, EYnovation, and StartIt@KBC. Find more accelerators and incubators on the startups.be website.
angel.me is a crowdfunding platform to finance creativity and entrepreneurs.
Several business banks in Belgium provide regular loans to SME’s. This can also be the bank where you have your regular bank account. These are the main banks in the Netherlands: ING , BNP Paribas Fortis, Belfius.
Crowdfunding has gained a lot of popularity in recent years as a source of investment for startups. As a result, platforms such as Kickstarter or Bolero have grown in popularity.
Tax shelter for start-ups
You can also read about a tax shelter option for startups in Brussels.
Access to talent
Belgian public employment services are available by region and by language. Depending on your location preferences in Belgium you can browse job vacancies, upload your CV, search for training courses, or get advice on your job search from a consultant online or at a local office:
- Actiris covers the Brussels-Capital region
- VDAB covers Flanders, check out the VDAM selection of job sites across Belgium
- Le Forem covers the Walloon region
- ADG is for the German community in Belgium
- ONEM is the national office of employment
Private Employment Agencies
Many of the standard private European and international employment agencies, such as Harvey Nash and Manpower have offices in Brussels and other cities in Belgium.
For more information on working in Belgium (necessary formalities, work permit, free movement of workers, self-employment, recognition of qualifications, social security, taxes) visit belgium.be.
Study in Belgium
Belgium is known for world-renowned universities. This year, for the second year in a row, KU Leuven leads the Reuters ranking of Europe’s most innovative universities.
More information on coming to study in Belgium (conditions of entry into Belgium, authenticating your qualifications abroad, internships, equivalence of diplomas and study and training grants) can be found on belgium.be.
The following organisations can help you in finding tech talent:
- Belgian Startup Jobs – is a recruiting firm specialising in the tech startup sector.
- netexpat.com – this company helps partners find a job through multicultural training, career guidance, application training.
- Volt – recruiting across practices, including IT, telecommunications, life sciences and engineering. The UK-based company makes its home in Belgium in Brussels.
- AsecrIT – based in Antwerp, this young ICT sourcing and recruitment firm serves companies throughout Belgium.