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After more than 15 years of facilitating access to finance for Walloon entrepreneurs, the SOWALFIN Group goes further. Today more than ever, we stand by the side of small and medium-sized enterprises.
The SOWALFIN Group was set up in 2002 by the Walloon Government. Our historical mission is to support the access to finance to MSMEs and self-employed entrepreneurs.
To achieve our mission, we offer:
Since 2018, the Walloon Government has also appointed SOWALFIN to offer information and guidance for Walloon entrepreneurs, including the ‘1890’ service: a portal for entrepreneurs, combining a call center & a website to provide Walloon entrepreneurs with reliable, up-to date and clear information and guidance.
With the integration of these new services, the SOWALFIN Group is more than ever a reference partner of Walloon entrepreneurs: through its services, its network and its expertise. Our financial and non-financial offering is available at each step of the company lifecycle: start-up, growth, internationalization, innovation, green transition and transfer of ownership.
SOWALFIN aims to strengthen the business culture and create a favourable entrepreneurial environment in Wallonia. This is a key issue for young people.
To that end, mention should be made of the ‘Générations Entreprenantes’ (Entrepreneurial Generations) scheme, which raises awareness, informs and supports young people in the field of entrepreneurship and the creation/takeover of businesses. It is aimed at all young people: potential entrepreneurs who are not aware of their potential and those who already have the desire to become entrepreneurs.
The scheme therefore aims to develop an entrepreneurial culture among young people and to uncover business potential by developing entrepreneurial skills at an early stage. It also makes it possible, thanks to student incubators, to set up or take over a business while still in education or upon leaving education.
The ‘Entrepreneurial Generations’ strategy is also focused on education professionals (teachers, school administrators, etc.). It is intended to encourage these professionals to develop their own entrepreneurial skills and become ambassadors for entrepreneurship education themselves. The aim is that as many educational institutions as possible, at all levels, integrate entrepreneurship into their teaching.
In terms of start-up support, SOWALFIN also plays a role in coordinating various actors providing support throughout the life cycle of the business. Support for the ‘creation’ stage begins when the company is in gestation, when it is still an idea and a project, and will continue until 3 years after the launch of the activity.
Visit https://www.sowalfin.be/creation/ to find out more.
SOWALFIN offers growing and developing companies a coordinated set of support services, structured around 8 levers. Each of these levers is valid for any growth strategy, whether endogenous or by acquisition, local or international:
|Entrepreneur et gouvernance||Entrepreneur and governance|
|Ressources humaines et organisation||Human resources and organisation|
|Production et ventes||Production and sales|
|Transformation numérique||Digital transformation|
|Stratégie, innovation et internationalisation||Strategy, innovation and internationalisation|
|Gestion durable des ressources||Sustainable management of resources|
|Partenariat et coopération||Partnership and cooperation|
In terms of awareness-raising, attention should be drawn to the growth potential test, provided by SOWALFIN in collaboration with partners from the banking, consultancy and economic development sectors, which automatically provides the entrepreneur with ideas and avenues for growth.
This test is available at the following link: www.monpotentieldecroissance.be.
SOWALFIN offers a coordinated package of support services that meets the needs of entrepreneurs who want to take their business to the next level. This package of services includes contact with relationship managers (specialised experts within public administrations), the mentoring approach or more collective approaches (collective workshops).
Visit https://www.sowalfin.be/croissance/ to find out more.
In terms of innovation support, with the collaboration of its partners, SOWALFIN helps companies in the various stages of the realisation of their innovation projects, such as technical feasibility, market research, intellectual property and fundraising.
Visit https://www.sowalfin.be/innovation/ to find out more.
SOWALFIN Eco-Transition supports companies in their carbon footprint reduction and eco-innovation projects via its Easy’Green scheme. This scheme raises awareness and supports and finances Walloon VSEs and SMEs in the area of low-carbon transition.
This relates to the following:
The global awareness and support strategy is aimed at self-employed persons, VSEs and SMEs in Wallonia who wish to make carbon reduction a key priority. It is intended for everyone, irrespective of their development stage in the business lifecycle, the maturity of their project or their level of awareness on the abovementioned themes. It assists them in carrying out economic and/or technical studies enabling the implementation of circular economy and low-carbon transition initiatives.
The low-carbon diagnosis, carried out by low-carbon experts, is a first concrete step. It enables the company not only to be informed, but also to have a vision of its own potential and opportunities and to start or even continue a support process with a view to realising its investments.
SOWALFIN also participates in the circular economy voucher scheme in support of SPW EER. It does so, on the one hand, by labelling private service providers eligible for circular economy vouchers and, on the other hand, by validating the eligibility of the projects presented with regard to the theme and the SME criterion.
Finally, as a delegate for the Walloon Government, SOWALFIN acts as a Walloon reference centre for short supply chains. In that context, it develops awareness-raising, support and financing initiatives for Walloon SMEs active in this field. The development of short supply chains in order to strengthen the local and regional food economy is therefore another mission of the Eco-transition hub.
Visit https://www.sowalfin.be/eco-transition/ to find out more.
SOWALFIN International, through its subsidiary SOFINEX and its partners, offer a wide range of support and tools to companies striving to conquer new markets beyond Belgium’s borders. Find out about SOFINEX’s financing products.
In terms of support, experts approved by SOWALFIN Transmission assist Walloon companies in the analysis and structuring of their international takeover projects. To identify foreign takeover opportunities, find out about the SOWALFIN Transmission and Transeo Deal Club platforms.
SOWALFIN Transmission raises awareness on the importance of anticipating the transfer of one’s business, of being prepared and of being accompanied by professionals, in order to maximise the chances of a successful transfer process. SOWALFIN Transmission informs prospective buyers of a company about the various issues to be addressed and the skills to be acquired in order to ensure the success of their acquisition project and the sustainability of the business.
SOWALFIN makes several tools available to companies in the event of a business transfer or takeover:
SOWALFIN Transmission organises, with its partners, the business transfer week in Wallonia to raise awareness on the challenges of transferring businesses.
SOWALFIN Transmission also organises the Clubs Repreneurs, a cycle of 8 sessions in small groups to help you prepare your takeover project.
The Agents de Stimulation à la Transmission d’Entreprises (business transfer awareness officers) proactively raise awareness among Walloon entrepreneurs on the various aspects of the transfer of their business. These officers are locally based, each being attached to a province.
In terms of support, since its creation, SOWALFIN Transmission has built up a network of experts in business transfers which has been approved by its Ethics Committee (transfer/acquisition firms, accountants and chartered accountants, auditors, lawyers, consultants, etc.). These approved partners provide expertise and support in the field to sellers and buyers. This type of expertise and support can be financed by means of an application for a Chèque-Transmission. Following the diagnostic interviews on the transfer project, SOWALFIN Transmission proposes a list of approved experts meeting the transferor’s or transferee’s support needs.
Find an expert advisor: https://www.sowalfin.be/transmission/faites-appel-a-un-conseiller-en-transmission-agree/
SOWALFIN Transmission strongly recommends finding appropriate professional support during the first years after the takeover. Several post-takeover support programmes are available to you. Visit https://www.sowalfin.be/transmission/beneficiez-dun-accompagnement-specifique-apres-la-reprise/ to find out more.
Finally, SOWALFIN’s transfer advisors are at your disposal to help you with your takeover project and to provide guidance on the available tools and support.
To support the assistance and financing of companies in Wallonia, we work in collaboration with various partners: