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Access to information
There is no specific measure on access to information for a start-up launched by young entrepreneurs.
The Policy Paper on Employment, Economy, Science and Innovation (2014-2019) states that an integrated contact point for all entrepreneurs will be provided. This objective consists of two operational objectives: a Digital Counter and the establishment of the Flemish Agency for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
The integrated digital counter is a unique front office of the Flemish Government where every (future) entrepreneur can ask their questions about entrepreneurship.
Flemish Agency for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
The Flemish Agency for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (Agentschap Innoveren en Ondernemen) provides information and makes the experience and knowhow of experts available for (starting) entrepreneurs. The Agency provides information on:
- how to create and start up an enterprise (preparatory work, start-up step by step, coaching and guidance)
- financing and support measures through a data base
- follow-up and acquisition of an enterprise
- intellectual property
- international entrepreneurship (access to European Funds)
The Agency stimulates and supports innovation and entrepreneurship, and creates a favourable environment for business creation.
Most of the public start-up funding in Flanders is available for the population in general. The Flemish Government supports starting entrepreneurs with grants and aid. An overview of these grants and aid are available in the subsidy database of the Flemish Agency for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
Participation Fund Flanders provides a start-up loan (Startlening+). It is a subordinated loan for starting entrepreneurs who have not been actively self-employed as their main job for four years. The loan has a maximum budget of 100.000 euro. The loan has a term of three to ten years and the interest rate applicable is set at 3%. Student entrepreneurs also benefits from the Start-up loan+.
Micro-loans of microStart
microStart finances starting and established entrepreneurs who cannot rely on financial institutes with micro-loans (microkredieten). A micro-loan can be used for renovation, supply, material, cash resources…A micro-loan is a budget between 500 and 15.000 euro. In addition, microStart provides free services and advice (coaching and education). These services are provided by experienced volunteers.
EIB and EIF
The European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Investment Fund (EIF) comprise the EIB-group. These European financial institutions provide: direct funding or funding through financial intermediaries.
The European Investment Fund develops, promotes and manages a number of risk capital and debt financing instruments. For example:
- COSME Loan Guarantee Facility: this instrument is part of the European programme COSME. EIF provides, through the Loan Guarantee Facility instrument, guarantees to financial intermediaires who provide loans and leasing to entrepreneurs. In Flanders, Participation Fund Flanders is recognised as the intermediary.
- EaSI Guarantee Financial Instrument: this instrument is funded by the EaSI-programme and focuses on the stimulation of microfinance to vulnerable groups, micro-enterprises and the social economy. It is the successor to European Progress Microfinance, including the financing of microStart in Flanders. Microstart meets the needs of (future) entrepreneurs who cannot rely on financial institutions.