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Making new partnerships
BELGIAN businesses new to Singapore may not know how to get in touch with the relevant partners for their needs while Singaporean businesses looking to work with Belgium may not know who the right person is.
That's where the Belgium and Luxembourg Business Group (BLBG) comes in. It aims to support professionals and businesses from the two European nations in Singapore by expanding business opportunities and developing business relations with local and regional parties.
There are 140 members, representing a wide variety of sectors spanning airports (Brussels Airport), logistics (Katoen Natie), maritime and dredging (DEME Group), finance (KBC Bank), food and beverage (Barry Callebaut), chemicals (Solvay), consultancy (Delaware), fintech (SWIFT) and other tech companies (data management company NGDATA).
SHARING BEST PRACTICES
"BLBG organises networking events such as networking drinks and business lunches, interesting talks, presentations and seminars on different topics which are relevant for our members, as well as learning field trips and company visits," says Els Van Poucke, president of BLBG.
"These events not only give members a chance to make connections with each other, but also provide a platform to share best practices on conducting business in Singapore and the region," she adds.
For instance, in December last year, Belgian software company SettleMint presented on blockchain technologies to BLBG members at the residence of the Belgian ambassador.
Also in the same month, BLBG members toured the Tuas Terminal Finger 2 Project at the behest of Belgian dredging, environment and marine engineering firm Dredging International Asia Pacific (DIAP).
BLBG membership offers a wide range of benefits. Members' businesses receive promotional opportunities on the Group's online directory, website and mailing lists. They also gain access to the job posting and newsflash features on the BLBG website.
In addition, BLBG organises a yearly gala dinner which is well-attended by around 250 business people, including members and non-members.
These excellent networking opportunities are due to the strong partnerships that BLBG has cultivated. It is a member of the European Chamber of Commerce (EuroCham), giving members the opportunity to keep themselves updated on important issues and developments. BLBG members are also given subsidised rates to attend EuroCham's networking events.
BLBG also works closely with the Belgian Embassy, the Luxembourg Consulate and the national and regional Trade and Investment Promotion Agencies of both nations.
The Trade & Investment Counsellors from the three regions of Belgium (Flanders, Brussels and Wallonia) are also based in Singapore. They answer trade and investment requests, organise business-to-business meetings, trade missions and trade shows.
In November 2018, BLBG also supported a business delegation from the Chamber of Commerce of Antwerp-Waasland. The Group organised a networking lunch titled "Antwerp Meets Singapore".
Speakers included Belgian secretary of state Philippe de Backer, Antwerp governor Cathy Berx, Singapore's Minister for Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli, and the president of Singapore Management University Arnoud de Meyer, who is Belgian.
The speakers presented on possible economic connections between Singapore and Antwerp.