Although according to the Belgians it only takes three days to set up a business here in actual fact most of the people that we speak to end up spending weeks if not several months on the formal start up process. It pays therefore to be prepared, to understand what is required at the various stages of the procedure and to make sure you have all the bits of paper that will be asked of you along the way.

1. Paper work – there is a lot of it so be prepared and make sure you have everything that you need. For example, digging out your degree certificate will be essential and it must come from a “recognized establishment” otherwise you will lose three or four months. To save you time we’ve created a list of key documents that you will need to set up a business in Belgium.

2. If you will be a very small business, think about the level of risk that you may incur and therefore your potential liability. There are around 10 types of legal entity in Belgium and although most people set up an SPRL/BVBA, there may be another structure that is more appropriate for you.