Brussels, the European gateway

Brussels is a city unlike many others. Being both the Belgian and European capital and home to many international organisations and NGO’s make this a unique city.

Brussels’ central geographical position in the country and Europe makes it the ideal business hub to the rest of Belgium and Western Europe. Brussels is a lively, sophisticated city that is dazzling with international flair and a cosmopolitan outlook. As a crossroads for Europe, you will find expatriates from all over the world living side by side here and this translates to a fascinating living environment that is culturally rich while retaining the intimacy of a local town. The residents of Brussels are blessed with an urban architecture comprising various styles, from medieval to postmodern. Flemish townhouses stand side by side with impressive Art Nouveau buildings, and postmodern edifices dominate the European Quarter.

Brussels Airlines, the Rossel media group, the Brussels Hotel Association, the Brussels chamber of commerce, the post office and the ING bank have all joined the campaign “sprout to be Brussels” intended to promote the capital.

The image of Brussels endured some heavy blows in the last year. However the city felt compelled to set things right. Successfully. “Sprout to be Brussels” is the slogan of the campaign intended to promote the Belgian capital. The slogan is a play on the words “Proud to be Brussels” and the iconic vegetable: Brussels sprouts. The movement was launched by the entrepreneurs in Brussels and widely supported by the Chamber of Commerce of Brussels (BECI), the population, and government of the city. The Sprout can be found on badges on jackets and bags, on stickers, on posters, in offices, bars, restaurants, billboards. Basically throughout the entire city.

The international character of the city finds is mirrored by BECI’s Hub International of the Brussels Chamber of Commerce, where we guide you in the development of your activities, adapted to your needs, through our network and expertise. So that we can help you do your business abroad in the best way possible. We offer advice and information, on matters such as import as well as export. We help build up relations with potential future partners. We attend to the export formalities and make every effort to meet your needs quickly. We offer companies a variety of services, ranging from networking platforms to trainings and seminars.

Being a ‘neighbour’ to the local, national and international institutions brings us many advantages, and it is a position we take very serious. The proximity of their offices means that we can make contacts easily and we organise seminars or networking events with high ranking officials like ministers on a regular basis.

Last November Brussels was host to a delegation of unique, inspiring, ambitious and most of all entrepreneurial women from all over the world. They were honoured during the International Women Entrepreneurial Challenge 2016 (IWEC). This conference takes place every year in a different metropolis. IWEC brings women from around the world together to share their expertise and to honour their special merits. This international network promotes the development of women worldwide. The IWEC convention has also led to the organisation of several gender equality events.

Since last June the Brussels Chamber of Commerce formed a strategic alliance with NKVK – Beluned, the Dutch Chamber of Commerce for Belgium and Luxembourg and the Belgian-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce in the Netherlands. Both Chambers aim to promote cross-border business within the Benelux. Belgium and the Netherlands are important trading partners for each other. Moreover, both countries have many similarities such as language, the size of the country and a comparable market. Those similarities make sure that the Netherlands and Belgium are attractive to each other, and offer a lot of opportunities. One should be aware that there are differences and obstacles between the two countries. Proper preparation is necessary to succeed in cross-border business. Here, NKVK – Beluned provides support.

In addition, we are currently developing an exchange network with EURACEN, the Chamber of Commerce for Central America and the Chambers of Commerce for Peru, Chili and Colombia. This network will strengthen strong bilateral ties and foster business opportunities on both sides.

Another part of our Hub International is the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN). EEN was founded in 2008 to assist European companies in their innovation processes and their international activities. Since then they play a leading role for many Brussels SMEs. They receive guidance from BECI, one of the local contact points for the network. As part of its network, they organise so-called “matchmaking events”. These are international encounters that offer the perfect opportunity to meet numerous potential partners at the same place.

Furthermore, the Brussels Chamber of Commerce organises and hosts various foreign trade missions on behalf of trade associations and other foreign bodies (foreign Chambers of Commerce, embassies or trade promotion agencies). At the moment BECI is co-organising a trade mission to Taiwan and another one to Iran. Also, BECI is on good terms with many other Chambers of Commerce and actively participates in the exchange of information and experiences. In that framework, we were happy to recently have hosted the Moldavian Chamber of Commerce.

We at BECI hope to have sparked your interest by sharing our story why we are Sprout to be Brussels and hope to be in contact with you soon.

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