Management skills

Any SME intending to exercise an activity as a commercial company for which registration in the Central Enterprise Databank (BCE/KBO)External link (French-Dutch) is required, either as a main professional activity or merely as a sideline, must be able to prove some basic management skills to a one-stop shop or ‘business counter’External link (guichet d’entreprises/ondernemingsloket) (French-Dutch) of its choice. SMEs wishing to exercise a regulated profession must also furnish proof of their competence to exercise that specific activity. This requirement does not apply to large enterprises.

Regulated professionsExternal link (French-Dutch) are divided into three sectors of activity: cycles and motor vehicles, construction and electronics, and body care.

Grouping by sector

29 of the 34 regulated professions are grouped into 3 sectors of activity:

  • cycles and motor vehicles;
  • construction and electronics;
  • body care provider, optician, dental technician and undertaker.

The 5 remaining professions are:

  • wholesale butcher;
  • refrigeration engineer;
  • dry cleaner;
  • restaurateur/caterer;
  • baker/pastry chef.

What criteria does a company have to meet to be considered an SME?

To be considered as an SME, a company has to meet a number of criteria:

  • it must employ an annual average of no more than 50 staff;
  • no more than 25% of its shares may be owned by one or more companies other than SMEs;
  • its turnover must not exceed €7,000,000 and its balance sheet total must not exceed €5,000,000.

How can you prove your basic management and professional skills?

You will have to do one or more of the following:

  • Present a valid diploma.
    For example a secondary school certificate indicating basic knowledge, a higher education diploma, or similar document.
  • Prove that you have adequate professional experience.
    If you do not have a diploma but have been working in the profession in question for a number of years. Proof must be furnished in the form of written documents, such as relevant employment contracts or a certificate from your employer.
  • Sit an exam set by the Federal Public Service Economy, SMEs, Independent Professions and Energy
    If you do not meet the above criteria you can sit an exam and obtain a certificate indicating basic management skills. See the FPS Economy website for details of the syllabus and an application form.
  • Prove your entrepreneurial skills through a third person
    Under certain circumstances you can call on a ‘third person’, i.e. a business associate, who will effectively take care of the daily management of the company and can furnish proof of the requisite skills.


There are also various dispensations regarding the requirement to furnish proof of management skills, including for SMEs that were already registered on 1 January 1999 and persons exercising so-called ‘intellectual’ professions or professions already regulated by some other law.

For more detailed information, visit the FPS Economy, SMEs, Independent Professions and EnergyExternal link website (French-Dutch) or see the FSP Economy’s Business VademecumExternal link (French-Dutch).