3.9 Start-up funding for young entrepreneurs
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Business start-up and securing initiativeof the Economy Development Agency of the German-speaking Community (Wirtschaftsförderungsgesellschaft, WFG)
The business start-up initiative of the Economy Development Agency was launched in October 1999. As part of the community training and employment alliance (Gemeinschaftliches Ausbildungs- und Beschäftigungsbündnis, GABB) of the German-speaking Community and with the support of the European Social Fund (ESF) several partners in the German-speaking Community have joined together to take action jointly for a business start-up offensive.
The aim is to support potential self-employed people to start up a business. If they wish, the young entrepreneurs will be supported in all stages of the start-up of their businesses. Over and above that, the founder has the opportunity to be supported during the first three years after the start of his business activity. The aim of this continuing support is to put the business on a secure footing.
In addition to the offer of advice, all information to do with the topic of business start-up is published on its website. Every three months there is also a free “e-newsletter” with short informative texts, current news and tips and dates on aspects of starting up a business. Alongside these direct interventions, another aim of the business start-up initiative is the creation of a start-up-friendly infrastructure in the German-speaking Community. Thus was formed the group Belgian Senior Consultants, today B.S.C. East Belgium ("Business Solution Counsellors"). This NPO is composed of retired persons who come from different specialisms (finances, accounting, bank, plant manager, lawyers etc.) and want to make available their collective experience to the young entrepreneurs.
The simplest variant for financing their independence is using their own funds either in the form of cash or fixed assets. Perhaps it is possible to fall back on financial support from family or friends.
Very often financing by own funds is however not sufficient and sources of finance must be sought elsewhere.
After abolition of the contribution fund, Sowalfin assumes its roles for granting public credit in Wallonia. Requests are made via the partner banks. They can likewise apply for microloans and securities of Socamut. The Economy Development Agency provides assistance in the preparation of the credit file.
Microloans can be requested from the cooperative Crédal by people who have no access to normal bank loans and cannot produce any guarantees. Likewise microloans can be requested from Microstart. Here too the Economy Development Agency can be of assistance as the files must be submitted in French.
In addition to the usual bank loans and those mentioned above, if the business sector allows it, a request can be made to the venture capital company Ostbelgieninvest AG. This makes available venture capital and management know-how to SMEs in the German-speaking Community and the Meuse-Rhine Euroregion (Euregio Maas-Rhein). Particular attention is drawn to the funding of young, expanding and innovative businesses where the size of the business only plays a subordinate role. During the whole period of financing, Ostbelgieninvest AG advises and supports the business, makes its contact network available to it and in important decisions stands by it as a partner.
A final alternative for financing are the so-called business angels who provide their project on the one hand with capital and on the other with their knowledge and contacts.