Preface minister Jo Brouns

As the Flemish Minister of Economy, Innovation, Work, Social Economy and Agriculture, it is my pleasure to present to you the Cleantech Flanders Annual Report 2023. Over the course of this journey towards to a resilient economy and prosperous society, technology is affecting all sectors and every citizen. In a systematic transition to a sustainable society, technology and cleantech - clean, 'green' technology in particular - play a vital role. 

Thanks in part to support measures by governments and the resilience of our companies, Belgium’s GNP showed an increase of 6.1% in 2021, compared to the 5% decrease in 2020 - a consequence of the COVID pandemic. Last year, we were faced with a new challenge when the war in Ukraine broke out, resulting in a large-scale energy crisis. This energy crisis, which is actually a dependency crisis, once more calls for government measures to pilot our economy through this period.

I am therefore delighted to confirm that we have a dynamic and innovative cleantech ecosystem in Flanders. Cleantech in Flanders consists of a wide range of young companies. Almost half of these are either start-ups or scale-ups, for example. The EBITDA recovered slightly in 2021 after a strong rise in the pre-COVID period was followed by a dip in the COVID year of 2020.

The fact that in 2021 only 0.39% of cleantech companies filed for bankruptcy, while for companies in general that figure was 0.5%, leads us to believe that future-oriented companies who prioritise sustainability on their solid growth trajectory, are better able to withstand a crisis.

Overall employment in the innovative cleantech sector has seen an increase of 22% in the last ten years. This highlights the resilience of the innovative cleantech sector as an enterprising ecosystem.

The investments in Flemish innovations for climate and the energy transition make it clear that Flanders is an attractive region for foreign countries. These investments increased in 2022 to 1.64 billion euros, resulting in 960 extra jobs and 23 new projects. The numerous cleantech players in diverse sectors contribute towards this.

As you can see, cleantech finds itself under a lucky star! I am therefore convinced that companies committed to the integration of cleantech in their activities will signify great value for our society. Not only will they reduce their own ecological footprint, they will also contribute to a sustainable future for Flanders. Cleantech Flanders is ready and waiting to support and promote these companies, both at home and abroad.


Jo Brouns
Flemish minister of Economy, Innovation, Work, Social Economy and Agriculture