Hike in the number of small businesses thanks to freelancers

The number of small and middle-sized businesses (KMO's) in Flanders saw a higher increase in 2017 than in any of the 10 years before. That's according to figures supplied by various players, including the organisation of the self-employed Unizo and ICT specialist Graydon. 

The rise is almost completely due to people starting their own business by themselves, without hiring extra staff. They account for almost 9 out of 10 KMO's. In 2017, Flanders welcomed 19,143 new small or middle-sized businesses (with a number of employees not exceeding 50). 

The figure means a 3.1 percent rise, the best score between 2008 and 2017. It turns out that more people are starting a business on their own: while this figure was at 84.4 percent of the total number in 2008, it had risen to 87.9 percent in 2017. In other words, almost 9 in 10 of the Flemish small businesses are not hiring any staff. 

Eric Van den Broele, senior Research & Development managet at Graydon, says that "this trend can be explained by the increase in the number of researchers. More people choose to work in an autonomous and flexible way as freelancers in their specific area of interest. Also, the job market for these people is growing, as more managers of KMO's are hiring freelancers as they don't find a suitable candidate for the job."  

Almost 9 in 10 small and middle-sized businesses in Flanders are not hiring any staff