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How old can you start a business?

Verified 29 March 2019 - Directorate of Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister), Ministry of Justice

A minor between the ages of 16 and 18 may set up a business under certain conditions. They vary depending on whether the minor is emancipated, i.e. not subject to parental authority, or not.

Prerequisites

A non-emancipated minor may exercise a managerial function in an undertaking, subject to 3 conditions:

  • At least 16 years
  • Have permission from both parents
  • The undertaking must be limited or single-person: EIRL: titleContent, EURL or UAS.

Parental authorization

This authorization shall be:

  • a written declaration signed by the parents and the minor (if one of the parents or the 2 parents is deceased, the authorization is given by the legal administrator or by the guardianship judge),
  • a notarial act.

It must detail the administrative acts authorized to the minor. The scope of authorized acts may therefore be very limited. These acts correspond to the creation and ongoing management of the company.

However, acts of sale or purchase of the enterprise are prohibited to the unemancipated minor. They may be performed only by the minor's parents or by his or her legal administrator (including the guardian or the family council).

Activity Type

The activities that the non-emancipated minor may engage in are certain agricultural activities, crafts and professions.

But many activities are not allowed, because they require degrees or are regulated by special regulations. These regulations create conditions of exercise that do not allow the unemancipated minor to exercise them. Examples of unauthorized activities: taxi, VTC, beverage or tobacco flow, security officer, law and health professions.

For merchant activity, this is only possible by creating an EURL or a UAS. The unemancipated minor may then set up a commercial enterprise. Indeed, in both cases, it is the company that has a commercial character and not the legal status of the manager.

When applying for registration in the commercial register, the documents must be given stating the age of the unemancipated minor, the parental authorization and the status of the company (EURL or SASU).

Partner or member of a company

A non-emancipated minor may be a partner or member of a company, except in the case of a commercial enterprise such as: oneSNC: titleContent or a limited partnership (CSS) or a share company (CSS), as a general partner.

The associated minor may not subscribe for shares or shares. The subscription must be made by his legal representative.

Authorizations according to the nature of the contribution

Case

Cash contributions

Contributions of immovable property / commercial funds

Legal Administration

Legal Administrators

Guardian judges in case of disagreement

Guardian Judge

Minor's Guardian

Family council

Judge of tutels if the value of the contribution is less than €50,000

Family council

or, if not, judge of guardians

Where the minor is emancipated, he may, from the age of 16:

  • run an individual company (trader, craftsman or professional),
  • be a director, member or partner of a company, regardless of the legal status of the company.

If he wishes to be a merchant, manager, member or associate of a SNC: titleContent, be a general partner of a limited partnership (SSC) or a share (SSC), but be authorized to:

  • by the guardianship judge at the time of the decision on emancipation,
  • by the president of the court, if he makes the request after having been emancipated.

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