6 steps to finding your way through the Brussels labyrinth of public funding

6 steps to finding your way through the Brussels labyrinth of public funding

Setting up your business in Brussels you might be wondering what kinds of public support or funding is possible to bring your entrepreneurial project to the next level. Brussels Capital Region (BCR) focuses a lot on innovation and support for start-up companies. But funding programmes are often dispersed between different administrations and agencies, and for starters it’s sometimes difficult to see clearly. Incubators.brussels is not only a place to work; we also inform our start-ups at ICAB, BLSI, EEBIC, and Greenbizz about possibilities, and their needs and make their way through the Brussels labyrinth.

Funding in Brussels for startups

Between all sorts of support, public funding is a form of punctual help that companies can call for. Here’s a brief overview of the most important funding possibilities in Brussels for start-up companies:

  1. General or specific investments: These fundings are related to setting up your business, a first expansion, diversification of your offer, or when a fundamental change in your business process is needed (up to 10K). In the so-called ‘development zone’ identified by the BCR and Europe around the Canal in Anderlecht, Forest, Brussels City, and Molenbeek, the amounts of funding can be considerably higher.
  1. Consultancy: As a startup, your product or service is still in development. From an original idea to bring to market, there are important steps to take on your way to success: market research, feasibility research, how to digitize and securitize your business process (e.g., e-commerce) and participative governance to name but a few. The BCR foresees considerable funding to cover consultancy fees to make your offer market fit.
  1. Personnel: At some point, you might want to hire the first few employees. For startups, there is a possibility to cover personnel costs up to € 35.000/year for two years. And there is more: a reduction of the patronal contribution to social security in certain cases, training checks for your personnel, a professional transition premium, and numerous fiscal measures.
  1. Professionalization: Continuous improvement is important, not only for your personnel, but also for yourself. That is why BCR supports all sorts of training that you want to take aiming at improving the way of working in your startup and helping you further develop your offer. Depending on the size of your startup, this can be up to 10K/year.
  1. Export: To support your international ambitions, the BCR offers funding to explore new markets through visiting international fairs (both live and virtual), undertake prospect trips abroad, invite prospects to Brussels, hire an export consultant, respond to tenders outside the EU, etc.
  1. Innovation: As the main focus of the Brussels regional economic policy, many programmes have been developed to stimulate innovation in Brussels. This includes R&D projects, patents, and international project setups. Especially for startups, we’d like to highlight the following:
    • BOOST, a programme through which you gain easy access to research centres to validate your innovation idea or to get punctual expertise to support your innovation project.
    • START is a sector programme that funds all necessary steps you need to take to find proof of concept (is your idea market fit?) and proof of business (is your business process fit?).
    • Last but not least, Brussels Capital Region has launched different support programmes related to strategic goals such as healthy food, Diversity, Innovation, and a circular economy. These programmes regularly publish open calls to Brussels-based companies to boost their efforts toward these goals. Good Food, Be Circular and Next Tech are just some examples. Laureates benefit from considerable funding.

Get in touch with incubators.brussels

Are you a startup in Brussels in the sector of Life Science, Sustainability, Hightech or with specific financial needs, and are you interested to know more? Get in touch, tell us what industry you are working in and we will contact you as soon as possible.

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