Thousands of student entrepreneurs thanks to targeted initiatives


The Flemish government’s work to create programmes that support and guide young entrepreneurs is paying off in spades

Own boss

Flemish economy minister Philippe Muyters is providing a €4 million injection in programmes to help young people start their own businesses. The money is being divided among groups and organisations in 10 Flemish cities that have created programmes that support and guide young entrepreneurs.

Aware that the numbers of new entrepreneurs was in decline, the government of Flanders began working with cities and universities some 10 years ago to encourage people to start their own businesses. Special programmes and networks have been launched that target certain groups, including newcomers to Flanders and students.

Legislative measure were also taken, such as scrapping the requirement that new business owners must obtain a degree in business management. There is also a new tax status for student entrepreneurs.

The situation has altered enormously where students are concerned. In 2010, 163 students in Flanders started their own business. Last year, the figure was 4,817.

“Research has shown us that 60% of young people are now considering entrepreneurship,” said Muyters. “I don’t want to force them to sit in a waiting room until they graduate. With the right support, they can already get started while they are studying. Our networks have already proven successful, so I’m freeing up €4 million to make sure that these programmes can continue.”

Photo: Jorgo Struyve (left) and Nicolas Destoop were named Students Entrepreneurs of the Year in 2018 for their alcohol-infused ice cream Boogoo
©Courtesy Made in Oost-Vlaanderen