For the past year and a half leading up to Expo 2020 Dubai, we have had the help and guidance of Belgium's three regions. The names of the three regional institutions are borrowed from the name of the territory they represent. So we refer to (from north to south) the Flemish Region, the Brussels-Capital Region and the Walloon Region.
Last month we introduced Flanders Investment and Trade, who represent the Flemish region in Belgium and also in the UAE and many other countries in the world, and this month it's Brussels' turn to introduce themselves.
What is hub.brussels, and what does the organization do exactly?
hub.brussels is the Brussels Agency for Business Support. Its mission is to support the economic development of Brussels-based companies, small or big, on a regional and international level. In addition, it’s also active in attracting foreign investors to the capital of Europe.
At hub.brussels, we believe that supporting entrepreneurship is the most powerful tool to bring out the best in Brussels in terms of innovation, internationalization and socio-economic impact. Together with our cosmopolite entrepreneurs, we aspire to create a vibrant, resilient and modern urban economy that lives up to its social and environmental values.
Can you give a short description of the team and their functions?
The team is composed of Sam Servaes (our Economic and Commercial Attaché for the Gulf Region) and Nada Abdul Rahim (our Economic and Commercial Attachée in Beirut), who will give a very useful hand during the EXPO 2020. Together, they will ensure the main coordination on the ground.
In Brussels, hub.brussels’ mission is handled by Ghislain Breydel, Area Manager Export, and Mohamed Hajjam, Area Manager Invest, in charge of the Middle East Region.
Why is your organization important for Belgium in general and more specifically for Brussels?
hub.brussels is the one-stop shop for (candidate) entrepreneurs in the Brussels Region.
Our Agency provides free support for businesses and shops in Brussels, helping them to grow locally and internationally. It includes tailored coaching, networking opportunities, free tools as well as recognized expertise so that companies have the right tools and information to facilitate commercial decision-making.
In addition, hub.brussels is also represented globally via its international network of Trade Counselors. Their task is to defend the Brussels economic interests abroad, accompany the Brussels companies in their internationalization efforts and identify foreign investors who can bring added value for the economy of the Brussels-Capital Region in terms of employment and innovation.
Our services are free and open for every Brussels-based company.
What will you be doing at the Belgian Pavilion?
The beautiful Belgian pavilion will serve as a bridge hold where we will organize several activities and events, together with our colleagues from visit.brussels and Brussels International, which focus more on the cultural and touristic aspects of Brussels.
In terms of business facilitation, we will organize several networking events at the Belgian Pavilion during the regular trade fairs that take place recurrently in Dubai, for example, the GITEX technology fair and the Arab Health medical fair. In addition, the Belgian pavilion will also be used to organize our business program during the Brussels Days, which will take place from January 31st until February 4th 2022.
What opportunities does Expo 2020 present for your organization?
EXPO 2020 will be a unique platform to promote international cooperation, forge agreements with commercial partners and attract investments. It will offer networking opportunities with local and foreign companies and governmental authorities. This occasion will also be taken to highlight the fact that Dubai and Brussels are the two most cosmopolitan metropolises in the world.
Can you give us a sneak preview of what visitors can expect during the Brussels Week.
Multiple key sectors will be put forward during the Brussels Days (Jan 31st – Feb 4th).
A roadshow will be put in place focusing on financial services, real estate and construction. The goal is to discover the local ecosystem and to connect our business delegations with local decision-makers and potential partners.
- A temporary “pop-up” showroom will be set up to highlight the know-how and the Belgian “art de vivre” of our Brussels companies’ luxury products.
- Brussels Jazz Orchestra will fly over to enchant Dubai with its award-winning sound. Since we’ll celebrate the 100th birthday of the legendary “Brusseleir” Toots Tielemans, his music will form a central part of the repertoire.
- The typical Brussels tradition of the Ommegang will also be present in Dubai. Spectators can thus enjoy the UNESCO-listed parade.
- And, last but not least, our delegation will be headed by Brussels Minister-President Rudy Vervoort, Minister Sven Gatz and State Secretary Pascal Smet.
What do you expect regarding Brussels business people visiting during Expo, knowing the world has changed due to Covid19.
It will be an important moment for the business community, knowing that the EXPO will be the largest international event held after the pandemic. Since the Belgian economy depends on export and international investors, it remains important to prospect and visit new markets and opportunities for our companies. We hope that it will allow Belgian entrepreneurs to shine in the region and to relaunch their exports!
Will your offices be located at the Belgian Pavilion during Expo?
Indeed, we will share an office with our colleagues from BelExpo, FIT and AWEX. For hub.brussels the Belgian pavilion will also be a symbolic place to work in since it is built by BESIX. This Brussels’ company has been a quintessential actor in this region by building several iconic landmarks in the Gulf, proving to be one of our best ambassadors!