The platform for Belgium's international community

Search form

menu menu

Starting your own company in Belgium



Has anybody here gone through the process of starting and running a company in Belgium. I am considering becoming an entrepenuer here and I'd like to hear what your experiences were. If you can share any tips, what needs to be kept in mind, how difficult it was etc I would be very grateful

Thanks in advance for all responses.


I was told that one needs to first have at least 8-10 years of Dutch or French.

Sep 13, 2017 10:19

The best advice to anyone starting a business in Belgium is to find a good accountant that will work and advise you along the way.

Second, how you set yourself up is critically important, either as an "independent" or as a company. Forget about taxes for the moment, most people starting businesses don't realize (or choose to ignore) the full impact that social security charges will have on their cash flow, which is why the majority of new businesses fail in their third year. (Because when you start in business, many people choose to pay reduced social security charges, but they catch up with you in year three).

Third - be aware that many professions are regulated. You can access a list here:

To do any of these jobs, you need to be authorised.

Finally - there are many thousands of successful small businesses in Belgium. If you have a good product / service, and you are good at it, then you'll succeed.

Sep 13, 2017 10:20

As well as the professions being regulated, you need certain minimum educational qualifications to start up a company (or, indeed, even to become an independent at all). These rules are designed to ensure that you are able to cope with all the bureaucracy that you will meet along the way and don't present a problem to anyone who has been educated in the Belgian education system. If your educational qualifications aren't from within the Belgian system you will have to get them "approved" - your accountant will explain the process.

Anon is right though there are probably hundreds of thousands of successful small businesses in Belgium and always have been. If you have a good product/service, a well-thought through business plan and, crucially, you concentrate on building a successful business rather than trying to fill your pockets in the short term, then you will succeed.

Sep 13, 2017 10:32

My advice would be to start as an "independent" as see how it goes for a year or two before setting up a company. I believe that you can now do most of the registration as "independent" at the commune now whereas in the past it involved more legwork around the different agencies. Start-up costs are minimal. The bureaucracy, regulation etc which everyone talks about seems to apply if your customers are members of the public. I sell my services to business, and I have encountered anything I would regard as excessive. Good luck!

Sep 13, 2017 11:50

"I was told that one needs to first have at least 8-10 years of Dutch or French."

There are plenty of businesses in Belgium where they don't speak any French or Dutch.

I know, I worked for a couple of them.

Sep 14, 2017 14:46