500 fast growing businesses drive private sector employment in Flanders
A small number of 475 fast-growing businesses drive private sector employment in Flanders, a probe conducted by the employers’ organization Voka and the Antwerp University indicates. Their definition of fast growers includes businesses with a staff complement of at least ten and a growth potential of at least 20% spread over a period of three years. At the end of 2011 only 475 or 3.42% of the 13 895 private companies in the region suited this profile. With employment in this groups standing at a total of 48 095, these fast growers created 28 838 jobs during the three years when the crisis was at its worst. In comparison, the private sector lost 1 927 jobs during the same period. The probe clarified many misconceptions that exist about the profile of a fast-growing company. Among them the fact that not all of these high performers are new companies as the average business in this group has been active for 18 years. At 24%, knowledge-intensive service companies are well-represented in this stable, but even though their activities range from IT, communications, logistics and technology, they only constitute 13% of the total Flemish business landscape. The opposite rings true for production companies. They only represent 15% among the fast growers, but contain 23% of all Flemish businesses. Claiming 154 of the 475 performers, the Antwerp province leads the pack. East Flanders is in second position with 117, but compared to the total number of businesses, the province is the actual winner. At 77, West Flanders scores the least, with more than 20% of Flemish businesses located in the coastal provinces. Flemish-Brabant and Limburg’s scores were also below average.