Ten Good Reasons to Invest in Wallonia

Welcome to Wallonia, Region of Belgium

Wallonia10 “to the 10th” is a welcoming and successful region that has taken its future in its own hands and is opening its arms to you.

Wallonia is located in the backyard of the capital of Europe, at the heart of a gigantic market favourable to businesses.

An area of innovation and competitiveness where men and women appreciate work and effort.

An attractive and competitive region offering smart taxation and a customized financial assistance system.

A quality area open to the world, where the authorities promote creativity and initiative; a welcoming land of culture and traditions.

The Wallonia Export and Investment Agency now makes it easier to set up your business.

A LAND OF GROWTH

With a territory of 17,000 km2 and over 3,400,000 inhabitants, Wallonia is one of the three regions of federal Belgium: the French speaking region close to Brussels, with autonomy and powers mainly in the following sectors: economy, external trade and employment, but also in the areas of applied scientific research, new technologies, transport, energy and regional development.

Create

WHERE THE HEART OF EUROPE BEATS

Wallonia is in the immediate vicinity of Brussels and Western Europe's major cities. The area is home to the main offices of the largest international institutions and the headquarters of many multinationals.

Brussels with the European Commission, European Parliament, NATO, Eurocontrol, The World Customs Organisation, the SHAPE, 1,500 international organisations, 220 representative offices of cities and regions, 160 embassies, and most European professional associations and federations.

Brussels also hosts the largest journalist centres in the world, over 60 foreign banks, 1,700 international corporations, more than 300 international law firms or consulting businesses, and 21 international schools.

With Paris, Strasbourg, London, Amsterdam, The Hague, Luxembourg, Cologne, Frankfurt, or even Munich and Geneva within a few hours, Wallonia is directly connected to all decision making centres in Europe.

Reach

65% OF THE EUROPEAN MARKET IN A FEW HOURS!

The geographic location of Wallonia is beyond compare: the vast majority of the European market is directly accessible within a radius of 500 km!

A market within reach thanks to an impressive transport system and top quality infrastructures.

By road, you can cover an area that includes 20 of the largest European cities and 400 million consumers, in just one day.

Being located in Wallonia increases your efficiency and allows you to deliver your products in record times.

Grow

130 STATE OF THE ART BUSINESS PARKS

Property costs in Wallonia are among the lowest in Europe

In Wallonia, entrepreneurship is second nature. No wonder that everything is done to welcome and help companies develop by offering them the lowest property prices on the market:

  • 130 fully equipped Business Parks are now hosting close to 5,000 companies and are creating more than 150,000 jobs.
  • 6 Science Parks, directly connected to research centres, laboratories, universities, business centres and incubators are vital partners in the technology sectors.
  • More than 4,000 acres (1,700 ha) fully equipped and available at the lowest prices in Europe;

MEN AND WOMEN

Wallonia has developed an extended, highly performing educational network of colleges, universities and graduate schools. The training meets market requirements since the large majority of graduates from higher or university education get a job as soon as they finish their studies. Businesses benefit from a quality workforce: productivity is 20 % higher than the European average…

Innovate

11,000 RESEARCHERS SERVING INNOVATION

Basic research, applied research, public or private laboratories,high level university training and centres of excellence: Wallonia has huge resources serving business performance.

Competitiveness centres and corporate networks

6 competitiveness centres (Aeronautics and Space, Agro-industry, Life Sciences, Transport and Logistics, Mechanical Engineering and environmental technologies) take part in the new growth dynamics initiated by the Government and position Wallonia at the heart of the Knowledge Communities. Innovative projects arising from public and private initiatives (companies, university research centres, training centres) are also supported in order to create the technology of tomorrow.

Moreover, numerous companies have formed networks in order to develop their business and increase their competitiveness. 14 sectors are currently involved: autoMobility, solid waste, ecoconstruction, space, nutrition, clinical research, ICT, transport and logistics, construction, micro-technologies, plastics innovation, sustainable energy, image, sound and text technologies and photonics.. The companies extend their international contacts and prove to be more innovative.

This offensive strategy places Wallonia among the most successful regions of Europe

Manufacture

A PRODUCTIVITY 20% HIGHER THAN THE EUROPEAN AVERAGE

Many international studies show that Wallonia is a region of Europe where work efficiency is a major asset, whether in terms of motivation, productivity or skills. According to European statistics, Belgium is one of the countries that spends the most in education* and in training.

This talent for performance is linked not only to the diversity of companies and to a culture open to the world, but also to an education and professional training system in which many resources have always been invested. Therefore, it is not surprising that many Wallonia and foreign entrepreneurs say that they are highly satisfied with the quality of the workforce available.

MULTICULTURAL AND MULTILINGUAL, THE WORKFORCE IN WALLONIA IS A REAL RICHNESS

Wallonia has always benefited from many external influences. This natural openness to the world can be explained by several factors: proximity of major European countries, presence of international institutions, an important industrial history, an attractive educational system and the flow of workforce. In Wallonia, multiculturalism stands out: this cultural richness goes hand in hand with a knowledge of foreign languages that is proven to be among the highest in the world (according to the OECD).

ENHANCING YOUR COMPETITIVENESS

AMONG THE MOST ATTRACTIVE IN EUROPE

Recent steps taken by the Wallonia Government aimed at reducing any anti-economic taxation to a minimum (in particular the suppression of tax on power, the tax exemption of investments involving equipment and tools) make Wallonia the least taxed region of Europe and of Belgium.

Government authorities have made Belgian and Wallonia taxation one of the most competitive of countries in the Euro area, both for companies and for expatriates.

This political will is accompanied by considerable financial assistance at all stages of the company development: set up, equipment, R&D, employment, training, exports, etc. An entire range of regional and European aids that make Wallonia one of the most attractive regions of Europe.

Take advantage

OF SMART CORPORATE TAXATION

Advance Tax Ruling: the tax authority becomes your partner!

The tax authorities can analyze and calculate tax consequences based on a specific situation or transaction. This is fundamental in assisting businesses in their choices and in determining the future impact of decisions in terms of direct and indirect taxes.

This procedure guarantees legal certainty for investors in compliance with international laws.

There are also particularly favourable tax regulations for different types of businesses. These regulations - which make use of the “cost plus” or “resale minus” systems - apply to service centres (shared service centres, call centres, etc) and distribution centres.

Expatriates: a fair and favourable regulation

A special tax regulation can apply to non-residents, foreign executives and scientists temporarily in Belgium.

First advantage: business expenses are tax exempt for some actual additional expenses: moving costs, certain trips to the home country, education fees for children,"tax equalization", etc.

In addition, they are only taxed on revenues from work in Belgium, and not on professional activities abroad, including business trips.

Benefit

FROM FINANCIAL INCENTIVES AND ACCESS TO CAPITAL

A complete system of financial incentives has been implemented to make it easier to set up a business in Wallonia.

These incentives not only are a significant contribution to the cost of setting up a business (up to 20 %), they also lower tax and social costs, promote hiring and staff training, make it easier to pay for consulting, help with export plans and promote the use of renewable energy and environment initiatives.

In addition, several very useful European financial assistance programs are also available.

Moreover, access to venture capital is made easy thanks to a large number of private or public funds, readily available to participate in creating or expanding successful businesses. In Wallonia, more than elsewhere, businesses have the reputation of offering a high return on investment in the medium range.

A TRADITION OF OPENNESS

Wallonia’s know-how, quality of products and natural resources have been highly successful all over the world for a very long time and many ‘Wallonians’ have become famous worldwide for centuries.

The political will to support the export capacities of Wallonia businesses is generating spectacular results. The volume of exports is rising each year in all sectors and is making the region one the largest exporters per capita.

Over time, Wallonia has proven to be a welcoming place for international businesses, whose activities occupy an important place in the economy.

That is why the Wallonia government has created an agency that is a unique partner for foreign companies wishing to set up a business in Wallonia. The main goal of this agency is to provide information, assistance, contacts and solutions suited to prospective foreign investors.

Export

WALLONIA, A REGION NATURALLY OPEN TO THE WORLD

A real exporting power

Wallonia exporting power also shows up in the figures. For around a decade, exports have continued to grow considerably (close to 10 % per year on average), which is way ahead of the European average and most of the neighbouring countries. A genuinely impressive performance, especially when we know that over half its GDP comes from exports, in a wide range of sectors clearly illustrating the diversity of the production performance from our businesses.

Communicate

KNOW EACH OTHER TO BETTER INNOVATE

Setting up and doing business in Wallonia cannot happen without contacts with authorities and policy makers. Therefore, it is vital that these contacts be quick and efficient, and that formalities be reduced to a minimum. The great proximity of Wallonia authorities (government, administration, etc) and the administrative simplification promote this efficiency.

For many years, Wallonia has entered a logic system of administrative simplification and“e-government”aimed at making formalities easier, more efficient, and lighter: suppression of certain constraints that have become unnecessary, electronic handling of procedures, simplification of documents, traceability of files, smart interactive forms, etc. Wallonia authorities are actively participating in the economic growth of the region.

A COMMITMENT TO GROWTH

The government policy has propelled Wallonia in an era of growth and development. Priorities have been set forth: to focus on certain sectors to become European leader (these are the so- called Competitiveness Centers), to promote scientific research and collaboration between research, training centres and businesses, to strengthen assistance to business start-ups and to reduce tax pressure on companies in certain regions. Additionally the government has stepped up efforts to train young people, in particular in learning foreign languages. A total of 1.5 billion Euros have been invested over a 4 year-period. With such a program, Wallonia has become one of the most competitive regions in Europe!

Relax

NATURE, CULTURE, LEISURE, FUN, ETC

Wallonia is not short on strong points or attractions. Harmoniously alternating rural and urban areas, cities and villages, Wallonia is a land full of charm in many aspects: hospitality, love of a good time, age old traditions, its architectural masterpieces recognized as Unesco World Heritage, a legendary gastronomy, warm-hearted welcome, relaxation, and more.

But beyond its evident charms that draw hundreds of thousands of tourists each year,Wallonia is also a quality area where the following are easy to find: spacious accommodation, accessible schools, and a remarkable health and social protection system. International studies prove it.

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Source

Wallonia Foreign Trade & Investment Agency

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