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New benefits announced to help more jobseekers become self-employed

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM: Illustration picture shows the inside of the Actiris office in Brussels. Actiris is the Office of Employment. It is charged to implement the Employment Policy in the area of Brussels-Capital. BELGA PHOTO IMAGE GLOBE JONAS HAMERS
07:54 13/11/2020

The Brussels government approved on Thursday a draft decree aimed at increasing the amount of "independent premium" funding for jobseekers looking to start their own business.

Many jobseekers dream of embarking on the adventure of entrepreneurship but do not dare to take the plunge. The current economic environment certainly tempers the enthusiasm of even the most motivated, said the Brussels employment minister Bernard Cerfayt, who has been working on the draft decree.

To encourage more unemployed people to make the move to self-employed in the current climate, the "independent premium", launched in 2018, will be boosted in the form of increased monthly payments. In total, jobseekers will benefit from an amount of €4,750 over six months: €1,250 euros in the first month, €1,000 in the second month, €750 in the third and fourth months (instead of €500) and €500 in the fifth and sixth months (instead of €250).

In addition, the condition that they should not have been self-employed for two years before is removed, which will allow former independents to also relaunch their businesses and projects.

According to Clerfayt, there will be no windfall effect. To benefit, the jobseeker will have to follow the recognised applications and rules, and the entrepreneurial project must also be validated. Only audited projects with a solid foundation will be given access to the grants.

Since the launch of the "independent premium" in 2018, 630 bonuses have been awarded to Brussels residents.

The boosted "independent premium" will be available to all jobseekers who become self-employed between 1 September 2020 and 31 December 2021.

Written by Nick Amies