Current situation: Anyone starting a business must prove that he or she understands the “basics of business management” adequately. In addition, for a great many activities that a company wishes to carry out, professional competence must also be proven by means of a suitable diploma or on the basis of a number of years of practical experience. Such professions are then referred to as regulated professions.

On 9 August 2017, the Order of the Flemish Government of 14 July 2017 appeared in the Belgian Official Gazette concerning the repeal of the Royal Decrees for certain regulated professions with effect from 1 January 2018.

Specifically, this means that for the activities listed below, the above-mentioned professional competence no longer needs to be proven as of that date:

  • butcher-wholesaler
  • dry-cleaner-dyer
  • restauranteur/caterer
  • bread and pastry baker
  • hairdresser
  • beautician
  • masseur
  • chiropodist
  • optician
  • dental technician
  • funeral director
  • bicycles
  • motor vehicles
  • butcher-pork butcher

The abolition only applies to Flanders and only starts on 1 January 2018. If an entrepreneur starts a regulated activity in Flanders before 1 January 2018, he or she will still have to demonstrate professional competence up to and including 31 December 2017.

For the time being, nothing changes for the regulated professions in the construction sector, in other words, professional competence must still be proven.

Note: the entrepreneur must still be able to show basic knowledge of business management if he or she wishes to start a business in one of the three Regions. For Flanders, business management may possibly be abolished as from 1 September 2018.