News 2019


An essential ecosystem at the heart of the European market

The French start-up incubator, The Family, plans to include promising young Belgian companies in its ‘Koudetat’ online portfolio, already host to such successful initiatives as Smartbnb, Ludus, Troty, Bubbly and Vivastour.

The Family’s cofounder and director, Oussama Amar, praises the entrepreneurial spirit, business maturity and international vocation of Belgium’s young business community. The country, he says “is an essential ecosystem at the heart of the European market”.


Huawei picks Brussels for European cybersecurity centre

Huawei, the Chinese high-technology giant, has established a European cybersecurity centre in Brussels. Known as the Huawei Transparency Centre the unit will, in the company’s words, “serve as a platform for customers and industry partners to work together on security and privacy protection. This will help all stakeholders consolidate strengths – and consolidate trust – in the digital world”.

Source: Huawei


Insurance Ireland comes to Brussels

As market leader in its home country’s insurance business, Insurance Ireland has taken the strategic decision to open a European Affairs and International Insurance office in Brussels

Insurance Ireland currently writes business into more than 110 countries with over 25 million customers. Total industry employment is approximately 28,000, both directly and indirectly, with one in four persons in the financial services sector working in insurance-related jobs.

Speaking of the company’s decision Kevin Thompson, CEO of Insurance Ireland, said: “There is a compelling strategic rationale to this development as it adds to our capabilities and extends our influence in Europe at a critical time. The Irish insurance industry needs to be close to European regulation and this move will allow us to punch above our weight.

Source: Insurance Ireland


Automotive components market-leader invests in Brussels plant


Plastic Omnium, the French automotive components manufacturer, is investing €50 million in a basic research centre to be inaugurated in early-2019. The centre, to be known as Deltatec, will specialise in the development of all-plastic hydrogen fuel systems for the automotive market and will provide employment for 150 researchers, a figure expected to rise over time to at least 200. The company is also a world market-leader in the exterior body panels market.


Brussels builds the epoch-making Audi e-tron


September 17 sees the official launch of the Audi e-tron, the electric SUV now being assembled at the company’s manufacturing plant in the Brussels commune of Forest. The Brussels unit was selected on various grounds, including its eight-year record in producing the company’s A1 model. It will be the only plant in the world that exclusively manufactures this luxury SUV. Deliveries are scheduled to start early-2019.



Source: Audi/La Libre


Huawei picks Brussels for European cybersecurity centre


Huawei, the Chinese high-technology giant, has announced its intention to develop a European ‘cybersecurity centre’ in Brussels.


Currently employing a workforce of 150 specialists, the company’s European headquarters is located in the Brussels suburb of Woluwe-Saint-Pierre.



Source: Trends


Belgium, a frontrunner in clinical trials


In per capita terms, Belgium ranks third Europe-wide – just behind Estonia and Denmark – in the conduct of clinical trials of pharmaceutical products.


524 such studies, focused on the tolerance for, and safety of, biopharmaceutical products, were initiated in 2017.  


80% of these trials, with an estimated value of euro 8.5 billion, were initiated by the pharma industry itself, with the balance undertaken by Belgium-based research organisations.


This Belgian record, says Catherine Rutten, CEO of, the industry association of, is largely due to the fact that, in her words, “Belgium has an ‘ecosystem’ favourable to clinical trials.”



Source: L’Echo


Brussels dynamism reflected in start-ups

Nearly 12,500 business start-ups were recorded in the Brussels-Capital Region in 2017, an increase of 4.3 percent over the previous year. Moreover, half of these start-ups are committed to further growth.

These estimates come from the ‘Enterprise 2.0’ study recently conducted by the Vlerick Business School, in association with the Deloitte Belgium consultancy.
Sam Sluisman, Strategy and Innovation Partner with Deloitte Belgium, confirms that “a large proportion of these Brussels start-ups have qualified teams and the appropriate technologies, and are backed by solid investors.”


Brussels Airport sets new record

 A record dating from 2000 was broken at year-end 2014, when traffic through Brussels Airport reached the new level of nearly 22 million passengers (21,933,190). This represents an increase of 14.6 per cent on 2013.

A special event presided over by Jacqueline Galant, the Belgian Federal Minister of Transport, and Arnaud Feist, CEO of the airport, was held to mark the achievement. The 2000 record stood at 21,637,003 passengers.
Factors contributing to the growth were the arrival of Ryanair and Emirates, and the addition of routes by both Brussels Airlines and Vueling. Transfer traffic also grew by more than 20 per cent, thanks to Brussels Airport’s role as a Star Alliance hub.
Exceeding the 21.6 million passenger mark was a major challenge. The record was achieved thanks to higher average passenger load factors, while the use of larger-capacity aircraft reduced the overall number of flights by 30 per cent. The airport also saw a 5.6 per cent growth in cargo traffic, outperforming most other European airports.
The new records illustrate the success of the strategy put in place by the Brussels Airport Company in recent years, including investments in infrastructure and airport services. With an added value of € 3.2 billion, the airport is a pillar of the Belgian economy, ranking as the second most important centre of economic growth in the country and providing direct and indirect employment for 60,000 people.
2015 will see the implementation at Brussels Airport of a major project of runway renovation.

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