Do I need professional knowledge or special licences to start a business?
In Brussels, virtually every starting entrepreneur needs to demonstrate basic knowledge of business management before he or she can start a business.
However, in some sectors – more specifically under the ‘regulated professions’ category – specific professional knowledge is also required.
1. Which professions are regulated?
On the website of the High Council of the Self-employed and SMEs, you will find a database containing an alphabetical list of regulated professions in Belgium.
For each regulated profession, you will find the legislative reference as well as links to the relevant regional authorities. In Brussels, you should contact Brussels Economy and Employment, which has grouped the regulated trades and corresponding procedures according to the following sectors:
food: restaurateur or caterer-organizer of banquets, baker-pastry maker.
construction: structural work, plasterer, cement and screed, tiling, marble and natural stone, roofer and waterproofing, installation/repair of carpentry, glassmaker, general carpentry, finishing, central heating installation, air conditioning, gas and sanitary, electrical engineering activities, general contractor.
vehicles: independent activities related to bicycles and motor vehicles.
personal care: beautician, optician, funeral director.
other: refrigerator installers and degreasers
A (temporary) exemption may be obtained in some cases. This would apply, for example, in the case of a company acquisition or if you take over the management of your deceased spouse’s business. Seek advice from your accountant or the enterprise counter.
How to prove your professional knowledge
Before you can start a regulated profession, your enterprise counter will examine whether you can sufficiently prove your professional skills. Sectoral professional competence can be demonstrated in several ways: by submitting a diploma or on the basis of experience acquired or by passing an examination before the Central Jury. On the Brussels Economy & Employment website, you will find all the details by profession.
On the basis of the documents presented, the enterprise counter accepts or refuses to register your commercial or craft business with the Crossroads Bank of Enterprises.
2. Additional authorisations for certain activities
An accreditation or additional authorisation is needed for performing certain activities in the Brussels-Capital Region. This concerns the following sectors:
Depending on the case, the application must be submitted at an accredited enterprise counter or with Brussels Economy and Employment.