The Belgian government approved a ministerial order that finally gives to entrepreneurial student a real status. Starting 2017, this initiative will allow student-entrepreneurs to access better fiscal conditions when they start their business. Overview of a growing trend…

 

Being an entrepreneur is not the easiest job. Especially when you are following classes and don’t have a lot of cash or time. In the willingness of enhancing the entrepreneurial spirit, the new order will allow students under 25 to obtain a better status. By doing so, the federal government aims to stop the discrimination between student workers and student entrepreneurs on a fiscal level.

 

Better conditions regarding social contributions and medical care

Under that law, they will start a business under better circumstances: no social contribution when annual earnings are under 6.505,33 €; a rate of 21% (20,5% starting 2018) on the income bracket between the 6.505,33 € and the 13.010,66 € of professional earnings.  In addition of that, the student entrepreneur will be able to keep his or her rights regarding medical care: as a dependent, if the earnings are below 6.505,33 € and as a holder when the student pays the social contributions. Click here for more information.

 

The duty to ease and support the entrepreneurial spirit

The Minister Willy Borsus explains:

Entrepreneurial spirit does not come from nowhere; we have to support it. For example, by creating an environment and a favorable status. This is why it matters to me to organize a real status for students who dare to take the step towards the entrepreneurial adventure. We should not block initiatives, we have to ease them, frame them and support them.”

 

By attracting many startups at an early stage, the MIC Brussels have crossed the path of many students who were entrepreneurs. Through our Boostcamp, we offer the environment that some of these entrepreneurial students are looking for! During our past ten Boostcamps, some of these entrepreneurs had to struggle with their two lives. In a short interview, Thomas Paris, winner of the Boostcamp #4, founder of Pictawall and MAD Kings, tells us more about his past experience as a student entrepreneur.

 

How did you become a student entrepreneur?

I founded Pictawall in 2013, when I was in my third year at the Solvay Brussels School. At that time, entrepreneurship was not a topic as trendy as it is now. For example, the option Entrepreneurship was not well regarded. There was also no Student Entrepreneurs Club, we created it later.

 
Was your student life a drag on your entrepreneurial projects? If so, how did your university helped with that?

Having classes and starting a business can be difficult, especially when the attendance is mandatory. I was pushing the ULB to set up the same kind of status the ULg was already offering at that time: a student-entrepreneurs status with which the student has the incentives to start a business alongside the curriculum. At the ULB, there was at that time this status for athlete students but not for entrepreneurs.

 

What sort of help did you receive?

Through the Boostcamp that we did with Pictawall, we received 3.000 € and Impulse was always there to support us as well.

 

Do you wish you had more support at that time?

I believe that the main role of the public sector is more to create the environment at fiscal and legal levels. But, besides that, I don’t think we should count too much on subsidies. As a company, we mostly need to get funds on our own because, if that does not work, that means there is an issue with the business. Basically, if a startup cannot survive on its own, there aren’t many chances it will get better later.

 

What would you recommend in order to help student entrepreneurs?

On the university side, I would add or improve a few courses as digital marketing, sales and negotiations. When leaving university, many students don’t have the appropriate tools in these fields and they are more important than ever in the ‘real world’.

In terms of public support, I would suggest a seed funding for credible student projects. Not much because it is, of course, riskier than the usual startups: something between 3.000 and 4.000 € for example. With that, they could have the financial basis to start their business.