Tech start-ups create more than 7,000 jobs

Summary

Two-thirds of Belgian technology start-up companies are in Flanders, creating 7,140 jobs worldwide

Tech engine

The creation of new technology companies in Belgium is being driven by Flanders, according to research published this week. In the years between 2010 and 2017, the study found that the majority of tech start-ups were based in Flanders, reaching 69% of the total two years ago.

The same effect can be seen in job creation. The 1,353 tech start-ups in Belgium in 2017 accounted for 10,349 jobs, 7,140 of which are associated with companies in Flanders. This included fixed and freelance employment, as well as people working for the start-ups in other countries.

“It’s good to see that the lion’s share of the tech start-ups are located in Flanders,” said Hilde Crevits, Flemish labour and innovation minister. “By stimulating the innovative power of tech start-ups, we want to increase the economic impact of these companies and help realise their potential at the international level.”

Digital innovations

The figures come from Hiva, KU Leuven’s Research Institute for Work and Society, and Sirris, the Brussels-based centre of expertise on the tech industry.

In their research they defined tech start-ups as young companies that bring digital and technological innovations to existing or new markets. Biotechnology companies were not included in this definition, nor were web developers or IT consultants.

The start-ups involved developed technology for the health, human resources, manufacturing, marketing and financial industries.

Born urban

The results show that tech start-ups are largely an urban phenomenon. In 2017, Brussels led the field with 279 tech start-ups, followed by 157 in Ghent and 131 in Antwerp.

In terms of employment, 636 jobs were associated with the Ghent start-ups, 513 jobs with those in Brussels, and 291 jobs with those in Antwerp. Leuven follows in fourth place with 182 jobs.

“Despite this urban concentration, the various tech sectors have a relatively large geographical spread,” the researchers commented. “This implies a risk of fragmentation and too little specialisation, and suggests the need for an inter-urban policy approach.”

Photo courtesy ondernemeninantwerpen.be