"We need to support our entrepreneurs, now more than ever," says Minister of Economy and Innovation Hilde Crevits. "To emerge stronger from the COVID-19 crisis, we need to help entrepreneurs start up even better, innovate, digitize, export and become more efficient. We don't want to lose an entire generation of entrepreneurs to this crisis.”
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Flanders stimulates entrepreneurship via service providers
Entrepreneurs, from starters and one-man businesses to the founders of fast-growing international tech companies, can rely on a whole network of support services in Flanders. They receive tailored guidance, attend events, participate in information sessions, take part in trade missions and gain access to all kinds of tools. To provide this offering, the Flemish government calls for tenders every four years, which have now been awarded to eleven service providers.
Flanders’ government encourages candidate service providers to work together and create an offering around one – or more – of four pillars:
- stimulating entrepreneurship;
- guiding entrepreneurs during critical moments;
- selectively mentoring ambitious growth companies;
- creating learning networks in order to innovate business operations and facilitate the adoption of new technology.
The new service offering for entrepreneurs includes some new accents. Cybersecurity, for example, has become an even more important facet. With Cyber Hacking Demo, entrepreneurs will be shown live how hackers gain entrance to digital systems and how they can secure their business. Another new addition is the Innovation Forum, where companies can exchange knowledge and expertise. The goal is to stimulate SMEs to embrace the latest technology.
The program also highlights the circular economy and social entrepreneurship in its offering. For example, it includes a project that aims to help unemployed, undereducated young people discover their talents as entrepreneurs.