Launching and growing your company

Whatever your business and requirements, several support structures support the development of professional projects in Charleroi Métropole. This section will provide you with some examples of support from which you can benefit.

I am looking for financing support

I am looking for financing support

Besides banks and angel investors, there are also various public and private bodies who can support you in finding financing or raising funds. SAMBRINVEST, for example, is a venture capitalist active in the region of Charleroi – Thuin. Its aim is to support and grow SMEs. It uses its expertise to advise entrepreneurs at each development stage of their project, whilst respecting their management autonomy.

IGRETEC is a cross-borough organisation which manages and carries out technical and economic assessments and provides an infrastructure for hosting companies, as well as an economic development service, the aim of which is to guide and support SMEs in finding capital and in their development.

The AEI is the Agence pour l’Entreprise et l’Innovation [Agency for Enterprise and Innovation], it supports the creation and development of companies, innovation and the development of new economic activities.  It offers a network of advisors, an entrepreneurial culture and new economic models, access to useful information and specific financial support in obtaining certain bursaries.

Finally, crowdfunding enables individuals to invest in your project, whether that’s financing the whole thing or helping you to secure the budget to finalise it.  There are various crowdfunding platforms in Belgium.  Crowdfunding Spot aims to support you in setting up and growing your crowdfunding campaign.

For more information, have a look at the Guide des Aides Publiques.

I am looking for general support

The Centre Héraclès has played an active role in the creation and growth of innovative companies in Charleroi Métropole since 1985. It offers support with launching a company in its infancy by providing advice, financing and hosting.

Whatever the stage of development your company is at or the nature of your project, the IGRETEC economic development service is available to support you with its implementation.

InnovaTech seeks to serve Walloon companies (very small businesses, SMEs) and supports them to develop technical and innovative projects thanks to a team of innovation coaches.

Hainaut développement offers its services to companies, local authorities, education establishments, farmers and the wider public. Resolutely focused on sustainable development, its role is to offer support services, advice and information on a wide range of sectors.

In addition to networking, the Chambre de commerce et de l’Industrie du Hainaut [Hainaut Chamber of Industry and Commerce] is an important partner in the development and success of companies. It provides various services, in particular supporting companies in sectors, such as strategic intelligence and energy.

The Hub créatif de Charleroi Métropole is a group of stakeholders interested in regional creativity and innovation. It connects project owners and companies to new realities on the ground, new business models, their future partners, and to the entire ecosystem which they will be part of.

Finally, the UCM is the main French-speaking employers’ organisation committed to defending self-employed people and company directors whilst Agoria supporting SMEs and large corporations with their technological developments.

I am looking for a coworking space

Coworking spaces provide work space for freelancers, start-ups, employees or project owners. They find an environment adapted to their requirements, a wide range of options for collaboration, developing new ideas and networking. There are a number of coworking spaces in the region of Charleroi Métropole.

Switch Coworking is primarily a space for sharing ideas, collaboration and networking. The space, which is open 24/7, provides co-workers and external visitors with meeting or conference rooms.

Co-Station is a digital village for technology start-ups and scale-ups in Charleroi, established on the quays. It is a digital ecosystem which seeks to provide its community with everything necessary to grow and innovate.

The eco-building Monkey Bridge is a coworking and incubator space entirely dedicated to innovative start-ups located at the heart of Biopark Brussels Charleroi, next to the airport. The Aérovillage also offers coworking solutions and office hire at the Aéropole.

The Comptoir des Ressources Créatives is a creative collective which brings together and promotes actors from the creative industry in the region of Charleroi. It brings together contractors and freelancers who work in creative industries producing and marketing creative content in a shared workspace.

You will also find Partners House in Walcourt and La Ferme Coworking in Chimay which both offer a comprehensive hosting service, and work and meeting space.

I am looking to become self-employed

I am looking to become self-employed

Charleroi Métropole has a variety of support structures for creating your own employment. These are the main operators:

The SACE is an incubator company for project owners or founders. It helps you to bring your idea to market and to address your financial requirements, and enables you to minimise the inherent risks in launching a business.

First business cooperative in Belgium, Azimut provides practical support to entrepreneurial candidates and project owners (support, workspace, bringing to market, etc.). Condition: to be a collective project owner is to have multiple partners.

Je crée mon Job’ helps people finding it difficult on the job market to organise and develop projects to create and take over companies.

SMart provides specific responses, advice, training and administrative, legal, fiscal and financial tools to simplify and legalise the professional activity of independent workers.

I am looking to expand my professional network

I am looking to expand my professional network

Charleroi Métropole brings together different business networks, specialising in entrepreneurship. In particular, B4C, or the BNI in the city centre, GECO in Chimay or the network WoWo for female entrepreneurs and more recently Madame Network.

There are several competitiveness hubs and clusters in the region of Charleroi Métropole and in Wallonia. These enable you to anchor your company in a truly specialised microcosm and in ecosystems which strengthen each of their members.

I am looking to export

I am looking to export

The companies in Charleroi Métropole have access to various types of assistance and specialist support services for developing  their skills here and elsewhere and exporting their products.

The Agence Wallonne à l’Exportation [Walloon Export Agency] (AWEX) is responsible for developing international economic relationships in Wallonia, and therefore in Charleroi Métropole. The agency organises the promotion of Walloon exports. In this context, it constitutes a full support partner for the Walloon exporter. The AWEX also aims to attract foreign investments to Wallonia.