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Factsheet for measure BE-1991-1/2729 – measures in Belgium

PLATO Explore

PLATO Explore

Country Belgium , applies regionally

Time period Open ended, started on 01 January 1991
Context Restructuring Support Instruments
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Supporting businesses to stay afloat
– Other
Author Dries Van Herreweghe (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven) and Eurofound
Measure added 11 July 2022 (updated 07 November 2022)

Background information

Plato Explore (previously Plato) is a General Management program exclusive to managers of growing young companies that are between 2 and 8 years old and work with 3 to 10 employees.

This is available to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that have up to 250 employees and are based in the Flemish Region.

Content of measure

The main objective of this scheme is the transfer of management skills from professional (large enterprise) managers to SME managers. A group of about 15 SME managers receive mentoring support from two managers of large companies. These mentors counsel the group on all aspects of enterprise management.

The programme consists of monthly group sessions for one year. Besides, individual support is available as well. Twice a year, the different PLATO groups (of all participating regions) come together in larger sessions.

The trajectories are organised by VOKA and the different regional chambers of commerce with government support.

There are also longer variants of the trajectory available that take up to two-years. The programme provides managers with a place to share their practical experience.

Funding is organised VOKA and the chambers of commerce.

Use of measure

Research of Vlerick Management School (2008) provides evidence that SMEs have more turnover growth and employment growth if they participated in PLATO.

According to the 2016 annual report of VOKA, since 1990 approximately 10,000 companies have been supported by PLATO networks. Each year approximately 1,000 company CEO's and professionals participate in the programme.

In 2021, 233 participants took part in the Plato programme and a total of 216 network sessions were organised.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Does not apply to workers Sector specific set of companies
Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
Local / regional government
Regional funds

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role No involvement Consulted
Form Not applicable Direct consultation outside a formal body

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • Only employers' organisations
  • Main level of involvement: Regional or local level


Voka, a (non-representative) employers' association has designed the trajectory as well as organises it.

Views and reactions

VOKA is a strong proponent of the trajectory, as they believe it is an important form of additional training for employers in Flanders.



Eurofound (2022), PLATO Explore, measure BE-1991-1/2729 (measures in Belgium), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,


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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.