This article aims at setting forth the development of venture capital in Belgium. To that end, the situation is compared with the one prevailing in the whole of Europe and particularly in some neighbouring countries: Germany, France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. In a first part the general financing mechanism through venture capital is examined. Next, a second part provides a quantified analysis of venture capital and its main characteristics (raising capital, the types of investors, the financing stages, the recipient sectors, etc.). It highlights the sometimes marked differences as to the extent of the development of venture capital in the various countries of Europe. In the third part the said differences are analysed in view of the factors which may provide an explanation. First some characteristics of the relevant tax systems regarding venture capital (corporation tax, tax on capital gains, tax on dividends) are dealt with. Then the specific structures set up to promote venture capital are tackled, as well as the position held by the institutional investors in the venture capital market, the role played by the public authorities in that market and the systems offering the staff an opportunity to participate. Finally, a last point pertains to the development of the stock markets specifically aimed at high growth potential companies to the extent that they offer a privileged way out to the "venture capitalists".
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