Starting a business

Company formation in Belgium is a straightforward process. Investors are required to follow a few basic steps that start with drafting the company’s Articles of Association in front of a notary public, registering them with the Commercial Court for the company to obtain a corporate status, publishing the company’s documents in the Belgian Official Gazette and then obtaining an enterprise number from the Central Enterprise Databank (BCE/KBO).

The creation of a company includes, as appropriate:

  • the intervention of a notary;

  • a minimum capital;

  • a financial plan;

  • the drawing up of statutes;

  • a report by a company auditor (e.g. in the case of a "contribution in kind").

Steps to take to start up your business

Decide on your legal business structure

In a company, the assets of the company and that of the entrepreneur are separated. So you can protect part of your patrimony from the entrepreneurial risk.

Limited liability

In limited liability companies (nv, bv, cv), the shareholder is only liable for the company's debts for the amount of his contribution. This means that the creditors of the company cannot touch the personal assets of the entrepreneur. The personal assets of the entrepreneur and of the shareholders are thus protected.

In some cases, there is a greater responsibility. This is the case, for example, if the company is declared bankrupt within three years of its creation and if it is found that the initial capital or capital contributed was manifestly insufficient to allow the company to operate normally for two years.

Unlimited liability

In companies with unlimited liability (vof, Comm. V), the partner (excluding the limited partners) also assists the company's commitments with his personal assets. If the company is unable to pay its debts, its creditors can recover the payment on the private property of the partners.

Choose a company name

Choosing a name for your business may seem easy, but it's still a crucial step: you need to find the ideal name that attracts customers and sets you apart from your competitors. 

Establish the constitution of the company

The first formality is to establish, in writing, the incorporation of your company. You can find more information on how to proceed here

Registration at the Business Crossroads Bank

Before you can start your activities, you need to register here. They assign a business number to your company. The company number contains 10 digits starting with the number '0'.
It is a unique identification number that is required by the company to be used in all contacts with the public authorities (VAT, RSZ, trade register, etc.) and with other companies.

Where to apply:

Open a current account

You should open a current account with a bank or other financial institution. This applies both to an activity as a natural person or as a company. Deposit the minimum share capital in a Belgian bank account.

On all trading papers of your company (letters, invoices, etc.) you must, except your company number, state your account number, together with the name of your company and that of your bank.

VAT registration

Before starting your activities, you should identify yourself with the General Administration of Taxation. You can find more information about vat here

That application for identification can be made online.

Social Security fund for the self-employed

You must join a social insurance fund. You can choose this fund freely. This obligation also applies to the self-employed in secondary occupations. You must pay social contributions to your social insurance fund.

How to join and how it works 

List of social security funds

Work Permit

If you are a foreigner who wishes to start a business activity in Belgium & you do not have the nationality of an EEA Member State or Switzerland ...

 you will need to get a permit sorted. We explain the various options here

Insure yourself

An active company may have to deal with events that may harm its results and even its further existence. Consequently, an enterprise (natural person or company) must insure itself against unforeseen setbacks such as illness, fire, industrial accidents, etc.

Not all companies and sectors face the same risks. For more information about insurance, we recommend that you consult your insurance company or your insurance agent.

Customs identification

If you plan to trade with countries outside the EU (also called third countries), you must have an EORI number. That number is based on the company number.

How did you get it?

It is simple, free and not limited in time.

All information can be found on the website of the FPS Finance

Special Permits

Some companies may find that special permits and licenses are required for their type of activity. 

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Contact the Team

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