As we head towards a ‘Brussels summer’ and our team are putting together the autumn events agenda, we’re looking forward to seeing all of you after the break. I just want to take a brief moment to say thank you to the team who have helped us put together the programme so far and will be leaving over the summer to either newer pastures or back to their studies. Robbert Dekker, Operations & Strategy Executive left at the end of June to be an independent CRM Consultant, James Pearson, Business & Trade Executive leaves us in mid-August as he moves to Montreal and we want to say thank you to them for all the hard work they have put into the chamber over the last few years and wish them lots of luck with their new challenges ahead!

Our work is supported by some truly wonderful interns who will all be finishing their terms with us over the summer.  Thanks to Dersim Rosa Karadag, Tom Pickup and Danny Owen who have continued developing the programme for the EU Committee and developing the communications/putting together our Members Directory/Annual Report. We wish them luck in their final year at university. Thanks to Clément Staner and Claudia Gherman on the Business Development side supporting James and developing the programme further over the last few months and also thanks to Trang Nguyen for making our financial systems make sense to rest of the team and keeping us in check!

We’ll have plenty of new faces joining us over the summer and we look forward to you all meeting them at the chamber offices in September.

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Have a great Summer!

Accreditation logo - option 2

The British Chamber of Commerce works with a broad range of Accredited Service Providers to bring you the best professional advice for international businesses who are in or entering the Belgian market. This series aims to give you a bit of an insight into these companies; showcasing how they can help you develop your business. British Chamber members can book a free first consultation with any of our expert advisors.

 

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What are the top 3 questions companies looking to do business in Belgium should be asking?

Why is Belgium the UK’s sixth largest export market in the world? UK/Belgian two-way trade is worth in the region of £22 billion, of which £2 billion is in services.

Why? Because it is a very open and dynamic market economy and it is easy to do business here. With more people who speak 3 or more languages in Belgium than in any other part of Europe, English is widely spoken, especially in Brussels.

Where should I start? The British Chamber of Commerce in Belgium is a good place to start. We have all the local knowledge and personal contacts you could need to kick-start your business. Our Accredited Service Providers know the answers to all the questions you didn’t yet know to ask and are happy to share their knowledge with you all through your journey to business success.

Can I use Belgium as a launch pad to other parts of Europe? Yes you can! The chamber is part of a new global trading platform, COBCOE Connects, an online matchmaking service for companies with a personal touch that gives you access to your ideal business opportunity anywhere in Europe and beyond. Check out cobcoe.eu

What is one emerging trend in the business/regulatory environment which you would advise companies in/entering Belgium to be particularly proactive about?

Think digital first. We don’t talk about the digital economy any more – the economy is digital. Your website is your shop window for global trade today, whether for products or services, so make sure you capture all your data online and fully integrate it with your back office administration – from leads generation to successful deals. It saves time, resources and frees up everyone’s time to focus on growing your business.

New online cloud based software ensures that your systems are always up to date, and accessible from anywhere, including your mobile phones. This is particularly important as you expand your business and develop trading opportunities.

Why is it important for new entrants in Belgium to speak with you?

We welcome the opportunity to speak with new and prospective incomers to Belgium.

Starfish MRM specialises in digital business transformation for small and medium sized companies. We are an independent partnership which works with companies to transform the way they work, collaborate and engage utilising the latest digital solutions at a cost that is affordable to them.

Our experienced partners are from the UK, Netherlands and Belgium, so we have been there and done it ourselves. We bring together flexible, joined up solutions, combining our breadth of specific technical expertise and management experience.

Whether you need support for business strategy development, market positioning, or organisational structure and capabilities needed, we can help you to deliver your vision and long term goals. We work with you to define the best online solutions for your needs, implement the processes and systems, and recruit the team members that will enable you to activate your plans.

See our website www.starfishmrm.eu or contact us direct at info@starfishmrm.eu

If you’d like to organise a meeting with any of our Accredited Service Providers, or are interested in becoming one, get in touch with James Pearson – our Business & Trade Executive at james.pearson@britishchamber.be

Golden Bridge

The chamber along with BLCC are looking for applicants for this year’s Golden Bridge awards. 6 months ago, RWS received their award for the steps they’ve made in entering the Belgian market from the UK. We caught up with them this week to see what being a winner has meant for them.

It’s been just over half a year since you won the Golden Bridge Award. What has happened since then for RWS Group?

In November 2015 RWS acquired Corporate Translations Inc (CTi), the world’s leading life sciences translation and linguistic validation provider.  This acquisition has transformed RWS Group to a world leading position in life sciences translations and linguistic validation and further enhances its competitive standing amongst the largest specialist translation companies in the world.

In its latest half year Interim results RWS Group has furthermore reported an excellent six months to 31 March 2016. We have seen this translated into further new business wins and contract renewals in Belgium.

What role does Belgium play in Eclipse Translation’s activities?

RWS Group trades in a large number of overseas markets, but Belgium represents a sizeable overseas markets for the Group and for Eclipse Translations. With a strong background in the legal, chemical and life sciences sector, the Belgian market holds big opportunities and has always been a key market for us.

Our native Dutch and French speaking business development managers, account managers and project managers facilitate contact with Belgian companies and organizations and offer in-house knowledge and understanding of the local market.

In recent years, the number of companies and organizations in Belgium using our services has increased more than tenfold. Our clients now cover the whole spectrum of the Belgian market: private as well as public sector, from SMEs to the largest Belgian companies, and covering many industry sectors.

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What did the Golden Bridge win do for you in terms of reflecting on and celebrating the success of your Belgian activities?

We have used the Award as an opportunity to celebrate and showcase our achievements with relevant clients and staff across the RWS Group. At Eclipse Translations, we have organised a ‘Belgian Day’ to raise awareness and celebrate the award.

The award has also been a vehicle to drive PR, business development and communication activities in the Belgian market, and it has allowed us to increase our social media exposure and attend follow-up events.

With Business Development Managers who understand the culture and speak the local language(s) responsible for targeting further work in the region, winning this award has added further value to our message to prospective clients and demonstrate our commitment to remaining a key player in the Belgian market.

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What have been the main challenges you faced about doing business in Belgium? Any ‘top tips’ to share with other UK companies on how to approach the Belgian market?

A high quality of service and excellent customer service are prerequisites of doing business in Belgium, and certainly as far as language services are concerned, Belgium is a mature and demanding market. And since we are selling a service, a very personal approach adapting to the Belgian way of doing business in which personal contact and mutual confidence are very important, has been adopted with regular visits to potential and existing clients.

Our focus on the Belgian market, making it one of our largest markets, is also testament to the commitment we have demonstrated to growing our relationships with leading corporate and public bodies in the region.

What was your secret to winning the Golden Bridge award, and what tips would you give any prospective candidate?

We won the Golden Bridge award thanks to a company-wide effort. We got everybody involved from the start and we were able to share and communicate the passion and excitement from within the wider teams. This has certainly helped us with pitching and demonstrating firm-wide engagement during the presentations in front of the Golden Bridge jury.

Accreditation logo - option 2

The British Chamber of Commerce works with a broad range of Accredited Service Providers to bring you the best professional advice for international businesses who are in or entering the Belgian market. This series aims to give you a bit of an insight into these companies; showcasing how they can help you develop your business. British Chamber members can book a free first consultation with any of our expert advisors.

McGuireWoods are a US law firm with a wide scope that have experienced rapid growth in the last few years and now have offices in London and of course in Brussels.

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What should be the top-3 questions companies looking to do business in Belgium should be asking?

  1. What type of contract (agency, distributorship, franchise) or establishment (subsidiary or branch) should we use to distribute our products in Belgium? Indeed, what type of contract and establishment do we need to be adequately protected from claims from local distributors and customers and tax and other authorities?
  2. How to hire and fire employees? Indeed, can we hire an employee without a written contract? Can we provide for a non-compete undertaking by the employee? Is a trial period allowed? Do we need a judgment or approval by any authority to terminate an employee’s contract? Do we need to pay the employee an indemnity when we terminate his/her contract? Do we need to motivate a termination?
  3. What state or regional aid could we get (subsidies and/or tax benefits)? Will I qualify to obtain subsidies or other benefits such as tax exemptions related to the creation of jobs, the acquisition of equipment, the renovation of real property and the protection of intellectual property? Can I get such subsidies and benefits from federal regions (Brussels, Flanders or Wallonia) and/or from the Belgian federal government?

What is one emerging trend in the business/regulatory environment which you would advise companies in/entering Belgium to be particularly proactive about?

Data privacy is a growing regulatory concern for companies, be it internally (employees) or externally (suppliers, clients and prospects).

Why is it important for new entrants in Belgium to speak with you?

We offer a wide range of legal services for new entrants, such as corporate, IP and ICT, real estate, commercial contracts, labour, competition and trade and customs law matters. We do not practice immigration, tax and complex labour law.

If you’d like to organise a meeting with any of our Accredited Service Providers, or are interested in becoming one, get in touch with James Pearson – our Business & Trade Executive at james.pearson@britishchamber.be

“Brits bedrijfsleven reageert erg verontrust”

Kanaal Z – 24.06.16

kanaal Z

 

L’invité des Décodeurs : Thomas Spiller

RTBF Info – 26.06.16

les décodeurs

 

“Les relations entre la Belgique et le Royaume-Uni restent aussi importantes”

L’Echo 24.06.16

 

Edition spéciale: Brexit 19h40

La Une – 24.06.16 – 35min 44sec and 45min 22 sec

rtbf

 

 

BBC Radio Cornwall Breakfast

BBC Radio – 24.06.16 – 2h 42min 25sec

bbc

 

“Las empresas británicas en Bruselas lamentan el ‘Brexit’ y piden negociar rápido la salida”

Europa Press – 24.06.16

 

Friday 24 June was a sad day for very many of us. British voters have made their choice and we accept the decision – though with much regret. Now we have to get on with our jobs. For the British Chamber that means helping our members with practical assistance and insights to do their job and run their business, and understanding and contributing to the rules that affect them.

Our members are often significant investors and employers in the UK – employing 1.6 million people there – but also operate businesses (large or small) here in Belgium and/or many other parts of the EU and beyond. The competitiveness of the EU, and its laws and regulations will continue to be a central concern for many. Now, the UK-EU bilateral relationship will be an important added dimension for many of them.

Belgium, with its population of just 11 million, is still a top ten export market for the UK and the climate for and practicalities of investing and building businesses here will still be essential to the future of many member companies.

The negotiation of Britain’s future relationship with the EU27, whenever it begins, will be a lengthy, complex and difficult process with major implications for our members.

The British Chamber will be there to ensure our members can understand and contribute to that process.

As a Brit myself, I’m well aware that it’s not just about business. It’s about the personal too. Many people will have questions about the effect on their own lives and families. The expertise of many of our member companies will be hugely important for that. We’ll need to work with other stakeholders, and with governments and other authorities, to help address those concerns.

Take the chance to come to our Summer Cocktail on Wednesday – and tell us about your concerns.

The British people have made their choice. We accept their decision – even though with much regret. It is now essential on both the UK and the EU-27 to swiftly come to an agreement that keeps as much of the benefits of the single market intact as possible. Beyond the economy, we need a peaceful, stable and democratic Europe to thrive. The UK and the EU must collaborate to secure this future.

The relationship between the UK and the rest of the EU remains hugely important to all of the parties. 50% of the UK’s trade is with the EU 27 and Britain is a large, vibrant and strong market for the EU 27.

During the period of uncertainty that will accompany the negotiations, the British Chamber has a key role to play in helping our members navigate the challenges that result from this decision and inform the important negotiation of the UK’s future relationship with the EU.

 

About the British Chamber:

The British Chamber is built on a tradition of over 100 years of continuous service to the international business community in Belgium. Today our membership includes over 250 commercial organisations representing over 5000 participating individuals and collectively employing over 125 000 people in Belgium, over 1 600 000 in the UK and over 7 000 000 globally.

The British Chamber is unique: an international network that connects your business with other businesses, a wide spectrum of national and European policymakers, and customers and clients.

We value openness and a welcoming ambience, an international and entrepreneurial outlook, and a flexible and informal approach. But above all we have a crystal clear focus on helping you to achieve your business objectives and ensure that the British Chamber is truly ‘Your International Network’.

For further information, please contact:

Uzma Lodhi – Head of Communications

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