The reason young tech companies leave Belgium often lies in their inability to attract the necessary funding to continue their growth. Johan Van Overtveldt, Minister of Finance: “We do have capital in Belgium, but it’s very fragmented. This splintering of funds poses problems to large investment rounds of EUR 10 to 50 million. Our initiative will boost the available capital for tech companies, enabling them to take on the world, while remaining in Belgium.”
Although start-ups in Belgium usually hit the ground running, they tend to move abroad as they grow. To turn this trend around and fully support the ambitious entrepreneurs, the Government of Belgium, together with several major investors, is now working on a superfund.
“The new superfund is to be funneled into several venture funds, which would receive additional tens of millions of resources to pump into tech companies,” Minister Van Overtveldt explains. “In this way, it’s actually a fund of funds.” Although the details of the initiative have yet to be drawn out, impressive amounts of up to EUR 400 million are on the table. The fund will be backed by insurance companies, banks and the Government of Belgium itself.
The idea for the superfund is the brainchild of a task force that includes noted fintech investor Jürgen Ingels. Apart from capital, he believes that a strong network is essential to take Belgium-based scale-ups to the top. That’s why Ingels set up scale-ups.eu: a platform that unites entrepreneurs, governments, scientists and large businesses. “Time is a scarce resource for many scale-ups,” Ingels explains. “By bringing them together with the right people and much-needed talent, we help them save time.”
Boosting Belgian entrepreneurs even more, Minister Van Overtveldt is expanding the tax shelter, a fiscal incentive for investments in growth companies. 25 percent of investments of up to EUR 0.5 million will be deductible, provided the financed company has at least 10 employees and grows at least 10 percent annually.
With Dutch as its official language, Flanders (Dutch: Vlaanderen) is the northern region of Belgium. The capital of both Belgium and Flanders is Brussels.