Map showing that Flanders is the perfect gateway to the EU single market

Flanders, the perfect gateway to the EU single market

Setting camp in Flanders, you'll find yourself right at the heart of the EU — a stone's throw away from Europe’s largest end-markets. 

With 60% of Europe's purchasing power at your doorstep (or no more than 500 kilometers away), you can quickly access some of the world's highest concentrations of people, money and industries. Talk about expanding efficiently and cost-effectively! 

Next to that, thanks to the region's compact network of public transport, airports and roads you can get to your customers, other major innovation hubs or business partners in just a few hours' travel.

“Our success is supported by an ecosystem of clinical partners, large corporations and research institutes in Flanders. Working with organizations such as imec, VIB, Brussels Airport and the breadth of pharmaceutical companies in the region enables us to tap into a large professional network and the best technology and science.”
Katleen Verleysen
CEO at miDiagnostics

Innovation around every corner

Flanders is one of Europe’s top 5 innovation leaders according to the 2022 European Innovation Scoreboard. And for good reason: 

  • Flanders spends 3.6% of its GDP on R&D. That’s the highest percentage in all of Europe and well above the EU average of 2.2%.
  • With 3.1% of the region’s workforce dedicated to research and innovation, Flanders has the 2nd-highest number of R&D employees per capita in the world. 
  • 3 in 4 businesses in Flanders invest in innovation all while being open to collaboration: Flanders ranks 3rd in Europe for innovative SMEs working together. 

Add to that Flanders' continuous efforts to further improve its innovation-driven economy, and it’s clear why joining our vibrant startup ecosystem means joining the cream of the crop as far as innovators and technological pioneers go.

Tech makes Flanders tick

One of Flanders' strong suits is its focus on cutting-edge technology that has the power to shape the future. As a close-knit business and knowledge hub, Flanders is home to leading developers of novel technologies, such as nanotech, biotech, fintech, IoT and smart city tech, artificial intelligence, robotics, gaming and animation.

You'll find everything your tech-focused startup needs to grow sustainably through world-class specialized tech expertise engrained in Flanders' technology-focused society.

Image of startups from Flanders at Slush 2022.

Flanders is a European Innovation leader

In Flanders, open innovation is more than a buzzword. With SMEs, business leaders, academic players and public institutions actively working together in Flanders and strengthening their advancements, you can join in quite easily! 

Collaborate with our ecosystem to leverage our deeply rooted knowledge, high-tech equipment, laboratories and innovation labs. Get real business advice to scale better and move from proof of concept to market-ready product faster than you would've ever imagined possible.

People sitting in the audience

You will fit right in!

Setting up a startup in Flanders or scaling just feels like you're doing business in startup paradise. 

Surrounded by thousands of like-minded founders, skilled employees, investors and supportive organizations ranging from governmental bodies to incubators and accelerators, a strong sense of belonging is bound to kick in. This is a much-heard side effect of joining Flanders' startup ecosystem, as private, public and academic players all go to great lengths to make startups feel at home and appease their hunger for change. 

Besides, connecting and meeting up with peers and possible partners is nowhere easier than in Flanders. With living and labor costs lower than in the neighboring countries, attractive financial incentives topped with an R&D-friendly tax system, and just about the most central location possible in the EU, why would you ever want to leave?