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“Internationalization of Spanish fashion: get to know the benefits of Brussels!”
October 25, 2016.

Brussels, 20th October 2016. – The Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg, in collaboration with Brussels Invest & Export, organised in Brussels on the 20 October the congress “Internationalisation of Spanish fashion: get to know the benefits of Brussels!”. This initiative, supported by Marca España and the Spanish Embassy in Belgium, brought together 12 Spanish fashion firms. These ones were informed about the advantages that Brussels-Capital offers for setting new branches in this sector.

The conference began with Jorge Notivoli’s welcoming words, the Business representative ad interim of the Spanish Embassy in Belgium, who expressed the continuous support of the Embassy in the promotion abroad of Marca España, and acknowledged the interest of the Spanish companies who joined the initiative. Afterwards, Juan Rodríguez-Villa Matons, the President of the Official Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg, thanked Brussels Invest & Export and the Spanish Embassy in Belgium for collaborating in the organisation of the event. Ariane Leonard, Brussels Invest & Export’s trade advisor in Spain, highlighted the excellent cooperation between the Chamber and her company, which can be used by the participating companies to facilitate their establishment in Brussels-Capital region. Likewise, she pointed at the creativity of the European capital and its name in the fashion sector.

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Jorge Notivoli, business representative ad interim of the Spanish Embassy in Belgium.

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Attendees to the congress.

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Ariane Leonard, Brussels Invest & Export’s trade advisor in Spain.

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Juan Rodríguez-Villa Matons, president of the Official Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg.

The fashion and design centre MAD, represented in the event by Elke Timmerman, presented a global view of the fashion sector in Brussels and the role they play in the capital for foreign enterprises. To complete their presentation, MAD distributed among the attendees a guide including information about the market in Brussels and the potential for future investors.

Later, Francorp and Racine Avocats explained how the franchise market works. First, Nick Boury, managing director of Francorp, reviewed the consumption trends of the Belgian citizens: “When going shopping, in Belgium we prefer the street to shopping malls” and explained in detail the different franchise models in Belgium. Bert Dehandschutter and Stijn Clays, from Racine, focused their speech on the legal aspects that have to be taken into account to open a franchise in Brussels.

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Nick Boury, Managing Director – Franchise expert from Francorp.

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Stijn Clays, lawyer from Racine Avocats.

The recruitment of workers in Brussels was the next issue discussed. Jarra Jellouli and Aleida Delefortire, from the Brussels employment agency, Actiris, talked about the different types of contracts and explained the advantages they offer to search new employees. Jinbao Zhang, from Group S, gave a deep explanation of the labour costs in Belgium.

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Zarra Jellouli, Consultante Employeurs from Actiris.

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Jinbao Zhang, International Social Advisor from Group S.

The local grants for opening new shops in Brussels was also an aspect of interest for the Spanish companies. The speaker David Azaerts introduced the opportunities offered by Impulse agency, as well as the information centre for entrepreneurs in Brussels, 1819.brussels. “The subsidies are mainly targeted to small and medium enterprises”, he pointed. Ward Verdeyen, from KBC bank, introduced the support for investment that his company offers, including credits, rent guarantees and online payments.

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Ward Verdeyen, Relationship Manager Corporates from KBC bank.

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David Azaerts, Advisor & Social Network Manager from Impulse.

The person in charge of introducing the identification of business premises service offered by the public agency Atrium was Julien Bacq. He attracted the attention of the participants making comparisons of the main commercial spots in Brussels with the most emblematic shopping districts in Spain.

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Julien Bacq, Chief Retail Officer from Atrium.

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Attendees a la jornada.

Stefaan Lenaerts, from Brussels Invest & Export, gave some details about the services his entity offers for foreign companies who intend to establish in Brussels. Among all, the Welcome Package was the most highlighted one, due to the fact that offers free installations during a period of three months for the firms interested in evaluating on site the opportunities that this region has to give.

The program finished with the intervention of Maria Catalan, Secretary General of the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg, who thanked the visit of the Spanish enterprises and their interest. Likewise, she introduced the activities of the Chamber, as a point of reference and contact for all Spanish firms in Belgium and Luxembourg.

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Stefaan Lenaerts, Area Manager Americas & Southern Europe from Brussels Invest & Export.

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María Catalán, Secretary General of the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg.

After the networking lunch offered by Hispania Brussels, B2B meetings were organised.

This initiative forms part of the celebration of the fashion month in Brussels and its Brussels Fashion Days. Spanish fashion is experiencing an internationalization process as never known before. Companies are using as elements of differentiation abroad competitive factors less related with price and more with quality, creativity and business excellence. In 2015, Spanish textile exports broke a new record, growing 7.8% over the previous year. Belgium is the seventh country where Spain exports the most. Moreover, the weight of the sector in the whole industry is more important in Spain than in Europe, reaching 5.7% (out of 12) compared to 3.4% in the rest of the European Union. This effort also leads Spanish companies to be world leaders in the sector and are internationally renowned.

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The Chamber and Brussels Invest Export would like to thank all the participant companies for their collaboration, as well as to the Spanish companies, which participated at the event, and made its contribution to the success of it.