The societal impact company (société d'impact sociétal - SIS) is a legal form of business reserved for businesses active in the social and solidarity economy. The SIS is for both existing organisations, set up as non-profit organisations (ASBL), a foundation or a cooperative, and for project owners who wish to start up socially innovative activities.
The societal impact company has many advantages for the business structure such as a better legal protection, an appropriate fiscal framework and access to public procurement contracts. This type of business is subject to strict obligations in terms of transparency and governance.
The societal impact company (SIS) is for all natural or legal persons (association, foundation, etc.), who either operate on their own or in a group, and who wish to create a commercial company with a view to carrying out an economic activity with a social or societal goal.
All public limited companies, limited liability or cooperative companies who meet the requirements of the social and solidarity economy can receive accreditation as a societal impact company.
The corporate purpose of an SIS must meet one of the following 2 conditions:
provide support to vulnerable persons:
The economic activity must consist in an uninterrupted activity of:
To create a societal impact company (SIS), you will need to carry out certain formalities, which are also required for setting up a business in general. These are, among others:
The legislation on SIS does not foresee specific qualifications or skills to manage the SIS.
However, and in addition to the requirements in terms of integrity, the Ministry of the Economy (General Directorate for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises) will assess the qualification of the business manager in the area of activity in the business permit application.
An SIS may only be incorporated in the form of a:
When drafting the statutes, the following considerations must be taken into account:
The law on societal impact companies does not change the requirements in terms of the minimum share capital for commercial companies.
2 types of shares can coexist in societal impact companies:
If an SIS is created with 100 % of impact shares only, the partners will never be able to receive any dividend payments.
However, in an SIS incorporated with less than 100 % impact shares, the distribution of dividends is only possible if the corporate purpose has been achieved. The achievement is verified with performance indicators.
The application for accreditation as a societal impact company (SIS) can be submitted by legally incorporated businesses as well as by companies under formation.
The application for accreditation file must include the articles of association or the draft articles of association of the business in whose name the application is submitted.
In addition, the applicant may be requested to provide any other information deemed necessary.
The accreditation allows to:
Each societal impact company will be overseen by a public authority. Failure to meet the legal conditions may result in immediate withdrawal of the accreditation.
Societal impact companies whose share capital consists of 100 % impact shares can benefit from the following fiscal advantages:
In respect of the same companies, donors can benefit from a tax deduction on their total net income of the amount of their cash donations, as provided for by law. This is the same fiscal advantage, which is also granted to non-profit organisations and to foundations declared of public interest.
The maximum annual remuneration for employees of a societal impact company is limited to six times the social minimum wage.
The approved statutory auditor's annual report must attest the compliance with this legal requirement.
The minister responsible for the social and solidarity economy can withdraw the societal impact company's accreditation at any time if they no longer meet the legal requirements.
A definitive withdrawal of the accreditation will result in the dissolution and liquidation of the company by the district court for commercial matters.
Regardless of the type of liquidation, the possible liquidation surplus will be donated to: