Do you meet the requirements to start a business?

Would you like to get started as a self-employed entrepreneur? Then you need to meet certain requirements – according to Belgian law. Furthermore, it’s possible that you’re expected to provide proof for certain skills. Find out whether this applies to you and to what extent. 

Which requirements do you need to meet and which skills do you need? 

Basic requirements: 

  • You need to be of age 
  • You need to have the Belgian nationality or be an EU citizen. If you are a resident somewhere outside of the EU, you need a professional card for non-European nationals 
  • You still have all your civil rights. (you’ve never been convicted of serious misconduct or crimes) 
  • You have legal capacity (you are not led by a provisional administrator and haven’t been declared legally or judicially incompetent) 
  • You don’t practice any other incompatible profession (i.e.: bailiff, lawyer, notary, judge, court clerk, member of the criminal investigation department, etc.) 

Required skills 

Since 1 January 2019, there are no more regulated occupations in Flanders. That means that there are no conditions to be able to practice a certain profession. 

In Wallonia and Brussels, on the other hand, there are some regulated occupations. To practice these professions, you need to prove that you have the right knowledge and/or skills. In practice, that regards specific professional skills or a basic knowledge of business management. 

How can you prove your skills as an entrepreneur? 

With a degree or official title:  

  • You have a degree in higher education (bachelor’s or master’s); 
  • You have a certificate in ‘basic knowledge of (business) management’; 
  • You have certain higher professional education certificates obtained before 30 September 2000. 

Only diplomas or certificates granted by officially recognised educational institutions are accepted. Diplomas and certificates from private schools or institutions aren’t.

By taking a practical test.

With this test, you need to be able to prove that you have the necessary skills and experience. For more information about the practical tests, you can contact our advisors

You need to prove your experience with written documents, such as proof of being a member of a social insurance fund, an employment contract or a certificate from your (former) employer. Based on your written documents, our one-stop shop for entrepreneurs will decide if you have sufficient practical experience. 

You don’t have a degree or practical experience. How do you meet the requirements?

If you don’t have a degree or practical experience, a certificate that demonstrates your basic knowledge of business management can suffice. You can obtain this certificate by taking an exam with the central examination board in Brussels or Wallonia. 

Another option is to take a course in an IFAPME training centre.

Exemptions and exceptions 

There are exceptions to the requirements of proving your basic skills and or knowledge. You’ll be exempt if: 

  • you take over an existing company; 
  • you carry on the business after your spouse, partner or (grand)child passes; 
  • if the only activity of your company is door-to-door sales; 
  • if you practice a certain profession or have a certain kind of company.  

Don’t have a certificate, but your spouse or assistant/employee has one? That could be a solution

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