Whilst the number of new companies launched each year in Belgium continues to grow, the average age of founders is falling considerably.
The new Companies and Associations Code (CCC) came into force in May 2019 setting new ground rules with the aim of promoting Belgian entrepreneurship. This it has achieved, with the number of new companies growing every year. In the first year, 32,707 new companies were created.
The most recent results (May 2022 – May 2023) saw this figure rise to 40,813, the fourth Entrepreneur Barometer of the Federation of Notaries (Fednot) showed.
Remarkably, the average age of a company founder was 39 – six years younger than last year when 40% of company founders were over 40.
Fewer Brussels businesses
The largest rise in new companies was recorded in Flanders, where 26,088 companies were founded last year (+ 3.4%). Wallonia registered a total of 9,253 new businesses (+2.7%). Brussels was the only region where fewer companies were created, recording 5,472 (-0.7%).
Just about all new companies created in the period were limited liability companies (97.4%), which is a direct result of the new regulations, making this the standard status for entrepreneurs. Only large and listed companies opt to create a new business under the title "limited company".
The barometer also showed that 37.6% of existing companies had amended their articles of association by the end of June, meaning that almost 65% of companies have yet to take action to meet the deadline for mandatory amendment (31 December 2023).
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Notary Jelle Van Hove, spokesperson for Notaris.be, highlighted that entrepreneurs have every interest to take action as only then can they enjoy the many additional possibilities offered by the new regulations.
"For example, the director of a family company can better arrange their succession and can also already gift shares to their children while retaining control," he explained.