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Golden Bridge

With the announcement of this year’s Golden Bridge awards fast approaching, we’re providing a last look at the candidates before the awards ceremony in London next week. The awards recognise the achievements of companies making the successful leap from the UK to the Belgian market and from the Belgium and Luxembourg markets to the UK.

Can you tell us a little bit about what Syx Automation does?

Syx Automations delivers innovative high-end software solutions to the leisure industry. We provide the leisure market with cost-effective, integrated products that will help improve the  business operations and the guest experience. In addition to the ReCreateX software platform Syx Automations also offers access control systems, kiosks, mobile applications and IT infrastructure.

ReCreateX is available as client-server application, as well as in the cloud.

What has been your marketing strategy in the UK over the last couple of years?

We’ve been working on building brand awareness through our participation at different exhibitions aimed at the leisure industry, Media campaigns, and by promoting cooperation with first pilot clients

Why are you applying for the Golden Bridge Awards, and why do you think you should win?

As a BLCC partner since the start of our Ltd company in the UK we look at the Golden Bridge Award as a confirmation of our success in the UK market and as a recognition for all our work done so far.

As a small West Flemish SME we mainly based our UK ambition on gut feeling. We do not have the enterprise budgets for large scale market research. Growing naturally (not through M&A) takes time.

Time in which we have invested money, and will continue to do so. As we are mainly focused on the governmental tender based markets, sales processes tend to take several years (RFI / PQQ / TENDER)

Until now we succeeded in our plans. With only a handful of full time employees we managed to convince international leisure organizations such as The London Shard and Dreamland Margate, as well as large local governments (Norfolk County Council and Argyll and Bute CC)  and museums as the Royal Greenwich Maritime Museums and the Horniman museum.

Join us at the 2015 Golden Bridge Trade & Export Awards to celebrate the best of Belgian, Luxembourg and British business. The awards, now in their 19th year, aim to promote trade between the UK and the Belux countries, and to promote the best and brightest in this dynamic and growing market. The awards will be hosted at a gala dinner in London on 26 November at the BLCC Clubhouse Ballroom. You can register for the event here! Don’t forget that for those travelling to London from the continent, an exclusive Eurostar discount is available. Please contact events@blcc.co.uk for details of how to book.

Golden Bridge

With the announcement of this year’s Golden Bridge awards fast approaching, we’re providing a last look at the candidates before the awards ceremony in London next week. The awards recognise the achievements of companies making the successful leap from the UK to the Belgian market and from the Belgium and Luxembourg markets to the UK. Here we take a look at Soudal NV, and what they had to say about there moves into the UK market during their application process.

So can you give us a bit of an introduction to Soudal, what is it that you do?

Soudal NV is a leading manufacturer of sealants, PU-Foams and adhesives. The company, established in 1966 by its chairman, Mr. Vic Swerts, remains family owned. Soudal is a strong brand all over the world. It serves professionals in construction, retail channels and industrial assembly with end-users in over 130 countries worldwide. With 14 manufacturing sites on 4 continents and 45 subsidiaries worldwide, Soudal ensures optimal technical and logistical support. Innovative solutions in energy-efficient construction as well as versatile bonding solutions in construction, are examples of how Soudal supports its growth.

What has been your marketing strategy in the UK over the last 3 years?

Focus on specific market segments for example: the window installation market, roofing market, builders merchants. We have been researching on-site product application to pinpoint improvement and innovation opportunities and to develop & implement plan (incl. Point-of-Sales support).

Why are you applying for the Golden Bridge Awards, and why do you think you should win?

Soudal has invested in people, product development as well as marketing in order to build a solid position as a reliable supplier to the UK construction and Do-It-Yourself industry. Over the years, the Soudal brand has earned a position in UK hardware channels, at builders merchants and in retail stores. It has not been easy to cater for the UK construction market, which makes the result even more appreciated, especially by the Soudal UK team in Tamworth. But strong growth over the last decade demonstrates the high level of acceptance by the UK market.

Soudal has built a high degree of integration into the UK market, with an array of products specifically designed for the UK market. This has only been possible with a dynamic team of people in the UK that have worked hard with the product development team as well as production people in Belgium. The UK team has deepened the Soudal presence in the market by building close relationships with customers in a growing number of market segments. Soudal has an impressive track record of international growth and the development in the UK is no exception. It is based on respect for the UK market and a long-term vision to implement all necessary steps for sustainable growth. The results speak for themselves but the result is by no means an excuse to reduce our ambitions in the UK. New investments are planned and will enable Soudal to target further market segments in the years to come.

Join us at the 2015 Golden Bridge Trade & Export Awards to celebrate the best of Belgian, Luxembourg and British business. The awards, now in their 19th year, aim to promote trade between the UK and the Belux countries, and to promote the best and brightest in this dynamic and growing market. The awards will be hosted at a gala dinner in London on 26 November at the BLCC Clubhouse Ballroom. You can register for the event here! Don’t forget that for those travelling to London from the continent, an exclusive Eurostar discount is available. Please contact events@blcc.co.uk for details of how to book.

Golden Bridge

With the announcement of this year’s Golden Bridge awards fast approaching, we’re providing a last look at the candidates before the awards ceremony in London next week. The awards recognise the achievements of companies making the successful leap from the UK to the Belgian market and from the Belgium and Luxembourg markets to the UK.

Can you tell us a bit about what your company does?

We work in partnership with clients across the globe, providing a multitude of training services. Our expertise has expanded beyond our origins in automotive, with experience in the hospitality, cosmetics and technology sectors. We believe that while training tools have evolved, the distance learning guides being replaced by online learning, the heart of learning has remained the same. Ignition provides bespoke training solutions to some of the most successful companies in the world from our bases in Belgium, Paris and London. In the future, we will continue to deploy innovative solutions, using the latest techniques and technologies to add value to our business and our clients. We are proud that an agency from such humble beginnings continues to work alongside many of the world’s

What adaptations, if any, have you made to your products or services specifically for the Belgian market?

We appreciated that to successfully offer our services in Belgium, we needed to have a permanent base here, staffed with a dedicated customer-facing team.

On the one hand, we brought our UK expertise to Belgium, in the form of our English-native skill which our customers in HQ’s welcomed warmly. This has been key over the years to follow, as we produce all our content in English to then be localized by the national markets across Europe. In the process, we recognised that we needed to adapt our ‘language’ to suit a more cosmopolitan audience for our work in Belgium. For example, this meant sometimes replacing English idioms or phrases with a more Euro-friendly language.

On the other hand, our Event organization skills for which the UK is renowned across Europe, have been an invaluable asset and a clear advantage over local competitors.

What has been your marketing strategy in Belgium over the last three years?

We have enjoyed considerable growth through organic means – within our existing and loyal customer base.
Consolidating our position and services over the last three years has brought consistent year on year growth in Europe. Our aim is to continue to build this momentum by sharing our novel methods with a wider customer base.

What are your future plans for business development in Belgium?

We are proud to report customer loyalty close to 100%, with consistently high levels of customer satisfaction. However, we recognize the need to grow and diversify by attracting new customers. To this end, we are currently seeking to employ an expert in our new business development function.

Join us at the 2015 Golden Bridge Trade & Export Awards to celebrate the best of Belgian, Luxembourg and British business. The awards, now in their 19th year, aim to promote trade between the UK and the Belux countries, and to promote the best and brightest in this dynamic and growing market. The awards will be hosted at a gala dinner in London on 26 November at the BLCC Clubhouse Ballroom. You can register for the event here! Don’t forget that for those travelling to London from the continent, an exclusive Eurostar discount is available. Please contact events@blcc.co.uk for details of how to book.

Golden Bridge

With the announcement of this year’s Golden Bridge awards fast approaching, we’re providing a last look at the candidates before the awards ceremony in London next week. The awards recognise the achievements of companies making the successful leap from the UK to the Belgian market and from the Belgium and Luxembourg markets to the UK.

Can you give us a bit of background as to where you company has come from? Why did you choose to join the UK market when you did?

Fenzi, an Italian private company and leader in chemicals for the flat glass processing industry, was already for a long time locally present on the UK market with sealants (glue for insulating glass) and coatings for glass (mirror backing coatings – decorative coatings for glass). This specific market, closely related to the building industry, showed in the UK a lot of challenges in growth for the last 5 years. Specific development of products to fulfill market needs, fast acting and quitting of a European supplier of the market granted Fenzi several opportunities. The synergy of these factors together with the growth of the UK building market resulted in Fenzi’s sales increase.

Was there any specific technical or market research that your company done on the UK market before entering?

Sealants and glass coatings are very technical based. Intense focusing on technical service and guarantee of constant quality were the main factors to increase Fenzi’s market shares in the UK. To encounter the UK market for sealants, we particularly focused on developing a high standard sealants range of products. Fast acting to pick up opportunities, when one of the competitors left the market, turned out in a quick volume increase of the sealants market.

What has been your marketing strategy in the UK over the last 3 years?

To position Fenzi in the market as a company that brings:

  • Market driven development, by offering cutting-edge products that meet the ever-shifting needs of the market with maximal focus on technical service.
  • Solid and long-term solutions.
  • Reliable in supply combined  with an emphasis on quality

And finally, why did you apply for the Golden Bridge Awards, and why do you think you should win?

The focus on tailor-made products in combination with providing good services created a gap with the competitors. Convincing customers to overcome their conservatism by switching to alternative solutions and product ranges, is one of the biggest challenges. We proved that in very competitive markets, keep on following a good strategy with performing products combined with intense client-contact results in a profitable business. Continuation of this strategy, results in building ‘golden sustainable bridges’ with our clients in every country all over the world! Our application for this award is based on our pride for this success story.  And this is only a starting point …

Join us at the 2015 Golden Bridge Trade & Export Awards to celebrate the best of Belgian, Luxembourg and British business. The awards, now in their 19th year, aim to promote trade between the UK and the Belux countries, and to promote the best and brightest in this dynamic and growing market. The awards will be hosted at a gala dinner in London on 26 November at the BLCC Clubhouse Ballroom. You can register for the event here! Don’t forget that for those travelling to London from the continent, an exclusive Eurostar discount is available. Please contact events@blcc.co.uk for details of how to book.

Golden Bridge

With the announcement of this year’s Golden Bridge awards fast approaching, we’re providing a last look at the candidates before the awards ceremony in London next week. The awards recognise the achievements of companies making the successful leap from the UK to the Belgian market and from the Belgium and Luxembourg markets to the UK. Here we take a look at Belgian carpet manufacturers, CLASSIS, and what they had to say about there moves into the UK market during their application process.

Can you give us a bit of background as to where you company has come from? Why did you choose to join the UK market when you did?

Our first office and starting point was our home in Wilrijk/Belgium. From day one, our target has been the UK market and  our company is established in Belgium primarily to address the needs of UK customers to fill the gap  identified by our owners and only several years after establishment did the company start to expand to other export markets. Having studied in the UK, one of the founding brothers was aware of the market potential in the UK for carpet business. His textile engineering brother, on the other hand, developed a good technical understanding of carpet production while doing a summer practice at DOMO (carpet manufacturer in Belgium whose floorcovering business was later acquired by BALTA Group, Europe’s biggest Carpet Manufacturer) during his MBA Degree in Brussels. By combining their strengths, the two brothers decided to develop the first tuft & broadloom collection dedicated to the UK market. That’s how the journey started for CLASSIS in the UK market.

What are your future plans for business development in the UK

In summary: In addition to concrete and aggressive growth plans with existing customers with new innovative products, we also have detailed plans in place to access to New Customer Segments/markets via New Investments & Improved Service Offerings. So that we can reach other customers that we are not able to cover. Additionally, we are also developing new products for CONTRACT Market in addition to RESIDENTIAL Market that we are covering with our current product portfolio. With this approach, we aim to reach a more diversified customer base and a wider product portfolio.

Why are you applying for the Golden Bridge Awards, and why do you think you should win?

Such recognition would be the best ever reward & motivation that we can give to our staff and sales agents who have been consistently working very hard and hence significantly contributed for achieving this export business volume to the UK market, year after year. Our export business to the UK have been increasing every year since our foundation in 2003 and we believe there is still far more potential to grow. Together with such a prestigious award, we would actually have a very special argument to convince our potential customers to help us to achieve far more export volumes to the UK market while creating more employment opportunities in Belgium by extending the sales, marketing and warehouse facilities and increasing the utilization of established carpet manufacturers. Such an award would also stimulate our existing customers to give them further confidence that they are working with the right partner & supplier. This will provide our company a very precious competitive advantage that we will definitely need it to be able to achieve our aggressive growth targets.

In the season of “mists and mellow fruitfulness” it’s now that time of the year where we look to celebrate the fruits of success in export and trade between the UK and Belgium. Inspiring stories of export success, accompanied by a great gala celebration: it’s time for the Golden Bridge Awards.

Glynis at GBA judging

By Glynis Whiting (pictured), President of the British Chamber of Commerce in Belgium

As a British Chamber of Commerce, supporting bilateral export and trade is at the heart of what we do. A key on-going activity is to offer UK companies coming to Belgium a “safe landing” through our network of Accredited Service Providers, along with our main trade and export event at the annual Golden Bridge Awards. At the annual ceremony we recognise and celebrate those who have succeeded in crossing the “bridge” into the Belgian market – and in many cases using Belgium as a stepping stone for expanding even farther on an international scale.

This week, I once again had the pleasure of sitting on the Awards’ selection panel, chaired by HM Ambassador Alison Rose and hosted by KBC, the event’s main sponsor, at their beautiful building in the Grand Place in the centre of Brussels. The companies presenting each had a unique story to tell about their business in Belgium, and it’s always a positive and inspiring experience to listen to these diverse stories of success. Our sights are now set on the Awards Ceremony and Gala Dinner in London on 20 November, where all the Golden Bridge winners will be announced. The location is a Victorian ballroom just around the corner from Trafalgar Square, a highly suitable place for celebrating success in exports and the Golden Bridge winners in particular.

I wish all the Golden Bridge finalists the best, and I’m very pleased that we as Chambers of Commerce can offer the opportunity to share these success stories and hopefully encourage even more aspiring exporters to make that leap across the Channel. The Golden Bridge Awards truly is a highlight in the calendar, and so I can only encourage you to join the organising Chambers, our sponsors, and not least the awards finalists for a memorable evening in London on 20 November.

The annual Golden Bridge Awards recognise and celebrate excellence in export and trade. The Awards are co-organised by the British Chamber of Commerce in Belgium with the Belgian Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce in Great Britain and are this year, for the first time, joined also by the Netherlands British Chamber of Commerce, making the 2014 Awards a truly British-Benelux affair. Read more about the Awards and register for the Gala Dinner and Awards Ceremony here.

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