“Village Finance” gives start-ups a helping hand and fosters enduring success

Local development fund “Village Finance” provides grants and business advisory services for small start-ups in Brussels’ “Priority Intervention Zone”, encouraging sustainable endeavours in the region’s expanding social economy.

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Village Finance logo. © Village Finance Village Finance logo. © Village Finance

" The grants awarded by Village Finance allow Brussels-based entrepreneurs to create their own sustainable jobs, by leveraging increased access to available financing. This mechanism fosters the development of responsible and inclusive enterprises. "

Pierre Gillet, Project Manager

185 new jobs have been created since the project was launched in 2008, made possible by 73 “Helping Hand” grants to local entrepreneurs who couldn’t obtain regular bank loans, and 24 “Sustainable Business” grants for companies involved in “green” activities or in social economy ventures – cooperatives, mutual societies – for a total of 97 awards thus far.

The “Priority Intervention Zone” covers disadvantaged urban areas in the east and north sections of central Brussels and in the neighbouring districts bordering the Brussels Canal, where the regional government, with the ERDF’s help, is supporting the creation and development of local, sustainable enterprises as a key contributor to urban renewal.

When classic bank loans are unavailable, Village Finance steps in with grants of EUR 6 200 to EUR 18 600 to launch or develop a business in sustainable building design and construction, to become self-employed, or to set up a small co-op or mutual society. Village Finance also guides new entrepreneurs through the various requirements for launching their activity, from designing a business plan to applying for additional credit, and ensures that each venture is based on sound, solid premises.

Sustainable business for inclusive growth

New companies like GreenHopping, which promotes sustainable tourism and environmentally responsible businesses all over Europe on its collaborative website, Färm, a cooperative store that sells organic products, or NM & Co., which provides back-office and financial services to insurance brokers and self-employed workers, are revitalising the job market and strengthening the local economy. By helping aspiring entrepreneurs through the sometimes daunting early stages of launching a business, Village Finance is contributing to the success of sustainable, solidary, and innovative solutions to some of the area’s most challenging difficulties.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for “Village Finance” was EUR 739 000, of which the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributed EUR 369 500 from the “Brussels Capital Region” Operational Programme for the 2007 to 2013 programming period.

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