Entrepreneurship in Belgium
Belgium’s population consists of the Flemish in the North and the Walloons in the South. Belgium’s geographical borders, as we know them today, were decided on after years of territorial fighting between the Dutch and the French. Because of this, the people of the North as well as the South consider themselves to be two distinct groups. Not only are different languages spoken, but there is also a difference in wealth, and in entrepreneurial activity. Between 2001 and 2002, the TEA for the Walloons increased from 3.2% to 3.6%. However, for all of Belgium the TEA dropped during the same period. The majority of Walloon entrepreneurs are opportunity-driven, while Flemish entrepreneurs tend to have higher rates of necessity-driven entrepreneurship.
Compared to other European countries, Belgium has a much lower TEA.
Factors contributing to this phenomenon include its much smaller size and its limited number of people. Belgium is saturated with the number of companies that have chosen it as a location to business because of its geographically location in the heart of Europe and its significance on the international political stage. Belgium not only includes the internationally important Brussels, but Antwerp, a major port city, is also located in Belgium. Because of its small size, Belgium has always been actively involved in international trade, however the last couple of decades have experienced a number of trends affecting the degree of entrepreneurial spirit. For example, in the last thirty years agricultural jobs and industrial jobs have been declining, and Belgium has seen an increase in the number of small businesses emerging. The majority of these new entrepreneurs are men between 25 and 44 years old. However, because there are four times more male entrepreneurs than female, there has been a strong emphasis on encouraging and helping more women to become entrepreneurs.