Entrepreneurship at a peak
Following a temporary slump after the credit crisis in 2008, Belgians have renewed their appetite for entrepreneurship. This was revealed by the initial figures released by the Global Entrepreurship Monitor GEM, the annual global report on the business climate. The portion of the working population that is expected to start a new business venture during the next three years is at 9.6%, which is the highest in ten years. Last year the figure for Belgium and Flanders already proved to be higher than in the reference group of European countries Denmark, France, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands and Great Britain, and this upward trend seems to have continued. Similarly the business climate share of the working population that sees good opportunities to start a new business during the next six years is upwardly mobile. In Flanders it now stands at 40.2%, which is almost four times as much as in 2002, but still below the 2005 record. Three other factors that are considered when measuring entrepreneurship in society, i.e. the perception of entrepreneurship as a clever career choice, the positive perception of entrepreneurs within society and the interest of the media for new business, have also been on an upward scale. As the Flemish government is set on promoting business, Minister-president Kris Peeters CD&V is obviously happy with these figures, saying: “Fortunately our society’s appreciation for business has increased considerably in recent times. More and more people are convinced that it’s possible to start a business that can guarantee a solid career. Moreover there is an increasing respect for entrepreneurs in Flanders.” Earlier this week it became evident that the number of start-up businesses in Flanders had reached a peak, with Eurostat figures indicating that the number of entrepreneurs in the region’s working population stood at 14.6%. The only neighbouring country that outperformed Flanders is the Netherlands. In France and Germany the figure stands at 11.6% and Luxembourg at a mere 8.2%. Even Scandinavian countries like Finland, Sweden and Denmark scored less. Wallonia did equally well with its 13.6%. Peeters shows his satisfaction: “This proves that we really are at the forefront in the European Union. It serves as a trump card for our economy and wealth, as entrepreneurs are the drivers of a dynamic and creative economy."