Approval is required in order to be able to operate as a social-economy consultancy agency and to be eligible for the relevant subsidies.
“Consultancy” and “support” tasks
- consultancy with a view to the creation of social-economy companies, including advice for transforming a non-profit or a traditional company into a social-economy company, as well as support during the creation or transformation;
- ad-hoc expertise or consultancy for social-economy companies;
- help to prepare files for sourcing financing, particularly from the SOWECSOM;
- close collaboration with the SOWECSOM when monitoring the files it helped to prepare.
Promotion and guidance tasks
- guiding project leaders towards training organisations that are suited to their needs;
- any information and promotion activities that are inherently related to its duties, including partnerships pertaining to information and collaborations with traditional economic players.
If the applicant organisation has just been created, approval as a social-economy consultancy agency is initially granted for a provisional period of one year. In other cases, approval is granted for a period of three years, on a renewable basis.
The social-economy consultancy agency must be approved by the Government in order to apply for subsidies.
Approval is granted for a period of three years, on a renewable basis.
However, if the approval pertains to a new social-economy consultancy agency, it is granted for a provisional period of one year. The approval must be subject to a reasoned opinion from the approval and monitoring commission, based on various criteria such as professionalism, the quality of the services offered or the skills of its staff.
In accordance with the regulations for social-economy consultancy agencies, the approved consultancy agency must submit a business report to the administration every year. This report is checked for completeness by the Social economy department. Once complete, it is sent to the Consultative commission for the approval of social-economy companies (COM-es). The Commission analyses it to check:
- If the duties performed by the consultancy agency correspond to the obligations linked to its approval by the Decree of 27 May 2004 concerning social-economy consultancy agencies;
1 - If, based on the results achieved by the consultancy agency, it is eligible for a potential additional subsidy. If applicable, the COM-es analysis determines an amount.
The COM-es submits its opinion, which is sent to the Walloon Minister for Economy by the Social economy department, along with a draft ministerial decree proposing an additional subsidy or not.
Non-profits, foundations, companies with a social purpose or cooperatives that have been approved by the National Cooperation Council, with the primary corporate purpose of creating and supporting social-economy companies, at least half of which are for-profit social-economy companies.
Three criteria must be satisfied by organisations that want to obtain approval:
- a clear legal status (non-profit, foundation, company with a social purpose or cooperative that has been approved by the National Cooperation Council);
- a primary corporate purpose (advice for the creation of, and support for, social-economy companies);
- a target audience: for-profit social-economy companies.
The decree subsidises consultancy agencies in two ways. Firstly, by means of a basic subsidy that allows the approved consultancy agency to cover its staffing and operating costs. Then via an additional subsidy that allows consultancy agencies to receive a defined additional amount, based on their success or the achievement of certain criteria concerning:
- the level of completion of the duties established in the decree;
- the number of companies supported and the size of their workforces;
- the percentage of for-profit social-economy companies among the latter.
A basic subsidy can be granted to consultancy agencies that satisfy certain criteria established by the decree. This subsidy is €32,000.00 per year.
Each year, the consultancy agency can also obtain an additional subsidy within the limits of the budget credits that are available.
These subsidies are granted by the Minister based on the opinion of the COM-es.
This additional subsidy can only be granted starting from the second year of approval, in accordance with the following rules:
- €3,000.00 or €5,000.00 may be granted, when it is demonstrated that the proportion of project leaders who have been guided towards organisations that are suited to their needs is at least thirty or fifty percent of the total number of project leaders respectively;
- €1,000.00 may be granted for each participation in an event supported or organised by the Directorate General for the Economy, Employment and Research from Service Public de Wallonie, up to a maximum of €4,000;
- €3,000.00, €6,000.00 or €9,000.00 may be granted when at least three, six or nine social economy-companies respectively have obtained all, or part, of the necessary funding for the social-economy company’s project from a financial organisation;
- €6,000.00, €10,000.00 or €15,000.00 may be granted when the number of social-economy companies supported reaches at least six companies, ten companies or fifteen companies respectively. When the proportion of for-profit social-economy companies among the companies supported reaches at least 75%, this amount is increased by 20%;
- €1,000.00 may be granted per tranche of ten full-time equivalent employees employed within supported companies.
The application for approval is submitted to the administration with supporting documents. The approval application form can be found on the Social economy department’s website.
The following documents must be provided by post: specific form + signed sworn statement.
There are no fees associated with this procedure.
Currently, the only language that can be used for this process is French.
The approval application is accompanied by a file that includes:
1- a copy of the updated articles of association for the consultancy agency;
2- a justified description of the social-economy project that the consultancy agency intends to implement;
3- a justified description of the advertising and commercial activities that the consultancy agency intends to develop;
4- a justified description of the material and human resources implemented for the project;
5- a detailed financial plan for the current calendar year and a financial plan for the following three years;
6- a copy of the partnership agreements that the consultancy agency has concluded.
Within ten days of receiving the application for approval or the application to renew the approval, the administration sends the applicant a confirmation of receipt, which mentions that the file is complete or indicates any information that is missing.
As soon as a complete file has been submitted, the administration examines the application, then sends it to the Committee within fifteen days. Within two months from the date on which the file is sent by the administration, the Committee issues a justified opinion on any application for approval or application to renew the approval. The administration provides this opinion, along with their examination of the file. The Minister grants or refuses the approval within one month of the date on which the Committee’s opinion is received at the latest.
The Minister grants or refuses the approval within one month of the date on which the Committee’s opinion is received at the latest. Failing this, the decision is deemed to be unfavourable.
Any individual or legal entity, who believes that a Walloon administrative authority or the French Community of Belgium has not acted in accordance with their public-service obligations in relation to a case involving them, may submit an individual claim, in writing or in person, to the Ombudsmen of Wallonia and the French Community of Belgium.
This claim can be submitted in writing to the following address:
Médiateur de la Wallonie et de la Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles
Rue Lucien Namèche, n°54
Decree from the Walloon Government of 27 May 2009, amending the Decree from the Walloon Government of 26 January 2006, regarding the execution of the Decree of 27 May 2004 concerning social-economy consultancy agencies (M.B. of 23 June 2009, p. 43348).
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