Selling or taking over a business can be expensive in terms of expert fees. Depending on the situation, the seller/buyer will require a lawyer, a valuation expert, a negotiation expert, etc. As a buyer or seller of a business, you can apply for regional subsidies to cover part of the costs of professional assistance.
Three financial aids
Brussels Economy & Employment has introduced three financial aids to help offset these costs. These aids are generally available for a one-time issue, i.e. for the exceptional intervention of an expert.
It should be noted that this aid will never subsidise the purchase of shares in a company.
Lastly, the application form for each of these grants must always be submitted before incurring the expense, which will be potentially eligible only from the date of the acknowledgement of receipt from BEE.
1. Consultancy assistance
The buyer must therefore already be in possession of a business number.
The consultancy grant is intended to cover a situation in which the contractor makes exceptional use of an expert. Twelve areas of expertise are covered, two of which are particularly relevant to the transfer of a business:
- legal study: this is for the use of the services of a lawyer (by both the seller and the buyer)
- analysis as part of the takeover of a company: although this notion of analysis is not defined in the legal framework, it is understood that the mission must help the candidate buyer to detect, evaluate and limit the complex risks of a takeover operation. The analysis will therefore cover a number of aspects, in particular legal, tax, strategic and financial aspects, likely to limit the risk and guide the takeover decision. This aid is therefore explicitly aimed at the transferee, not the transferor.
Reimbursement of up to 40 to 60% of the consultancy work (maximum five missions and €10,000 of subsidies per year)
2. Pre-activity aid: business takeover project
Conditions apply to the buyer as well as the target company.
The buyer must meet the following conditions:
- not have a business number, not have been self-employed in the three years preceding the application and have a concrete takeover project ;
- have written a financial plan detailing the expected financing for the takeover ;
- have prepared a development strategy for the target company ;
- have concluded a minimum six-month support agreement with hub.brussels or a Local economy office.
The target company must meet the following criteria:
- have at least three full-time employees on permanent contracts ;
- have generated an average annual turnover of less than 2 million euros over the last three years.
The grant may be used to subsidise:
- consultancy missions
- training (max. 3 months)
- a trade fair abroad
- childcare costs for children up to 3 years old for a maximum of three months (ONE or K&G - in Brussels)
It is important to note that expenses must include the cost of a "recovery analysis" (as defined above under "consulting assistance"), for more than 50% of the total amount of the Region's contribution.
3. Investment aid: taking over a business
This aid is intended for micro, small and medium-sized companies in certain eligible sectors of activity and located in the Brussels-Capital Region (operating headquarters where the investment is being made).
This aid is intended for investment in the material part (machines and equipment) of a business. In addition, it is required that:
- the establishment whose machines and equipment are taken over has closed ;
- the machinery and equipment are purchased from a third party unrelated to the aid recipient, and have not been the subject of aid ;
- the value of machinery and equipment is determined on the basis of a well-founded auditor's report ;
- the total amount of the machinery and equipment is limited to 15,000 euros.
It should be noted that an auditor's report may have a certain cost.
The aid varies between 5 and 30%.