The Walloon economy is bursting with potential. Alongside large, established multinational companies, such as GlaxoSmithKline, there are a growing number of start-ups, micro-businesses and SMEs with the potential to create new jobs. These two factors could be a winning combination for Wallonia’s economic development.
The Walloon economy is largely (40%) based on government jobs, but it shouldn’t be afraid of investing in new and innovative approaches to job creation.
An innovative mindset has become the most important feature for successful businesses nowadays. Belgium ranked 20th in the European Commission’s 2012 Global Innovation Index, up from 24th place in 2011, an indication that companies find the conditions in Belgium to be favorable.
Wallonia is known to be an important logistics hub and is currently investing in the “Trilogiport” project in Liège: a 100 ha platform with a trimodal (road-rail-waterway) container terminal, a tertiary services area and an environmental integration area. The project will create 2000 jobs and become the cornerstone of logistic services in the region. Moreover, Charleroi Airport will be expanded between 2013 and 2015, following an earlier renovation of its terminal and parking facilities.
In research-heavy sectors like biotechnology, investments in innovation are indispensable. Young start-ups can grow by developing so-called “global business models”, a technique which allows companies to provide their services on a global level and thus also serve developing regions like sub-Saharan Africa. GlaxoSmithKline is already applying this model for its vaccine distribution, and its recent investments in the Rixensart site show that the company continues to create jobs in the growing biotechnological sector.