Presentation of the services and programmes of the Chamber at the University of Antwerp

On November 19th the Secretary General of the Official Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg, María Catalán, participated in a conference organized by the University of Antwerp.

During the conference, which was aimed at the Spanish students from different university degrees, María Catalán presented the bilateral commerce figures between Belgium and Spain and the role that the Chamber plays for Spanish companies in Belgium.

Moreover, the Secretary General informed students about the projects that the Chamber develops in relation to employment and entrepreneurship, highlighting the European programme Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs, in which the Chamber acts as local contact point in Belgium and has as objective the promotion of exchanges of experiences between entrepreneurs in Europe.


IV edition of the Social Networking Night

Last 13th of June took place in Brussels the IV edition of the Social Networking Night, an activity organized by the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg in the framework of its program Empleo BeLux. The main objective of this activity is to optimize the tools available in BeLux for the job search. The event took place at the BNP Paribas Fortis facilities in Brussels.

First of all, the Secretary General of the Chamber, María Catalán, thanked all the attendees, speakers and sponsors BNP Paribas Fortis and Esade Business School for their presence, and presented the program of the event and the website Empleo BeLux.

Then Salvatore Orlando, Expat Manager of BNP Paribas Fortis, addressed some tips for expats in Brussels, emphasizing how to develop and where to expand their contact network.

The first presentation of the event was in charge of Andrés Álvarez, Project Officer at the European Commission, who presented the different possibilities and options that exist to work in the European Union. Álvarez explained the range of possibilities for having access to institutions, emphasizing the different options available without the need to access through EPSO competitions, such as contractual contracts.

For her part, Ursi Van der Herten, Associate Director International Executive Programs at ESADE, made a presentation on how to study an Executive MBA can help accelerate your professional career, highlighting the importance of the business school choice. Among the advices, she remarked to seek information through the alumni network for the choice of the school.

Francesc Cots, Financial Director at Eurofirms, underlined the importance of the Personal Branding to finding employment and placed particular emphasis on Personal Branding on social media and specifically on LinkedIn. Cots advised to share activities carried out by the company that you work through your personal profile.

In this edition, the success story of “Emprende Belux” was led by Paloma Cantero, CEO of YouthProAktiv and CWC Consulting. Cantero shared her experience as an entrepreneur in Belgium and explained the difficulties she had to face, as well as the satisfactions and motivation to undertake in a foreign country. Likewise, the entrepreneur participates in the Erasmus Program for Young Entrepreneurs of the Chamber, which Arturo Ibáñez subsequently explained.

Arturo Ibáñez and Soraya Bravo, Project Managers of the Chamber, explained the main features of two Chamber’s programs related to entrepreneurship: the Erasmus Program for Young Entrepreneurs (EYE), a European program of transnational exchanges that offers new entrepreneurs and people who want to create a business the opportunity to learn from experienced entrepreneurs who run small businesses in other participating countries, which the Chamber is a local point of contact, and the Emprende BeLux, a program to support Spanish residents in Belgium and Luxembourg on the long road to entrepreneurship and business consolidation.

Among the different interventions, the attendees had the opportunity to participate in three workshops. In the first one, Asier Marquina, from Arcelomittal, highlighted the techniques to enhance networking and contact network, through a dynamic and participate intervention. In the second one, the life coach Marta Cela gave the keys to successfully answer the cheating questions in a job interview and she outlined the self-confidence and attitude when facing the interview as a candidate. In the last workshop, Victoria Martinez, HR Talent Acquisition Consultant in Everis, developed the importance of social networks as a jobs search tool and provided useful advices for making an attractive curriculum for the employer.

Finally, the attendees enjoyed a networking cocktail, in which they could interact with the speakers and other participants in a relaxed atmosphere.

Presentation of the EYE programme at the Student Projects Week in Mons

On March 26, the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg took part in the Student Projects Week organized in Mons by Yump (a program set up by La Maison de  l´Entreprise for student-entrepreneurs).

The event was directed at students, professionals and entrepreneurs living in Belgium and was attended by many students interested in entrepreneurship as well as by teachers and entrepreneurs eager to advise those students and to share their different experiences with all the attendees.

The Chamber presented the programme Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs to the participants students as an opportunity to launch their business idea while doing an exchange in one European country with an experienced entrepreneur. They were also informed about the EYE Global initiative that enables new entrepreneurs to do en exchange in three different countries outside Europe; Singapore, the United States and Israel.

The Chamber renews its participation in the EYE programme

The past 1st of February, the Chamber renewed for three more years its participation in the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs programme. Since in July 2016 the Chamber closed its first exchange in the framework of the programme, the Chamber has managed a total of 29 exchanges in the last three years, doubling the numbers in each period.

During 2018 a total of 17 exchanges among Europeans entrepreneurs were managed by the Chamber, nine more than in 2017. Among them, 13 were experienced entrepreneurs based in Belgium that hosted other European entrepreneurs. The Chamber also managed the profile of 4 new entrepreneurs, supporting them drafting their business plan and identifying their hosting company.

Now the Chamber has three years ahead were it will manage this EU funded programme with the main objective of continue identifying experienced entrepreneurs based in Belgium that are willing to host other European entrepreneurs and identifying and supporting future entrepreneurs interested in doing an exchange abroad.

Meeting of collaborators of the National Day in Luxembourg

On November 27, the Ambassador of Spain in Luxembourg, Mr. Bernardo de Sicart, summoned the entities and companies collaborating with the reception of the National Day at the residence of the Embassy.

The meeting was attended by representatives of the collaborating companies Bankinter, Banca March, Renta4, PwC, Adepa, LaLiga and CAF. The Economic and Commercial Counselor, Ms. Maria Palanca, the Vice President and the General Secretary of the Chamber, Mr. José Luis Rodriguez Álvarez and Ms. María Catalán, respectively, and representatives of the Embassy of Spain in Luxembourg also participated.

The Ambassador wanted to thank the support of the Chamber and the collaborating companies in organizing the reception of the National Holiday in Luxembourg.

The Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg awards Company of the Year to Grupo Social ONCE

On November 6, the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg awarded the Grupo Social ONCE, in its V edition, the Company of the Year Award 2018 in an act which took place in the residence of the Embassy of Spain in Brussels. Through this award, the Chamber annually awards the promotion of trade and business development in Belgium and Luxembourg.

With this award, the Chamber wanted to recognize the Grupo Social ONCE for its unique business model in the world and for its leadership at an international level. Its active participation in Brussels within various business and disability organizations at European level, shows its commitment to the integration process. This award aims to contribute to closer business relationships of the Grupo Social ONCE through the provision of goods and services to companies from Belgium and Luxembourg markets.

In addition, its constructive and ambitious contribution to the community legislative process, seeking the right balance between business and social dimension and its partnership with the European Commission through the Operational Program for the Training and Employment of People with Disabilities – it has been an example of good practices for two decades-, have also been reasons for this concession.

The ceremony began with the words of the Ambassador of Spain in Belgium and President of Honor of the Chamber, Beatriz Larrotcha who said that this award was a right decision: “Grupo Social ONCE is more than a company, it is a cooperation between institutions and companies (…) the ONCE is the image we want to show abroad, for this reason it is an honor to give them this award “.

The president of the Chamber, Juan Rodríguez-Villa, joined in the congratulations of the ambassador and described the ONCE foundation as a “revolutionary movement” that has achieved a progressive improvement in social advances and levels of inclusion: “It is a modest award, which recognizes the merits of the Spanish company. Grupo Social ONCE works for social normalization and inclusion, for them it is easy to recognize the feeling of pride”.

Pride that also shared the Minister of Economy and Business, Nadia Calviño, who has a strong link with the foundation and who was responsible for delivering the award. “The ONCE foundation is a unique model for eight decades. It is a model that shows its commitment to Europe and its collaboration with the European Commission (…). This award is granted for its contribution to Marca España. I only have two words, admiration and gratitude”.

The president of the Grupo Social ONCE, Miguel Carballeda, accepted the award. During his speech he wanted to remember his years as a seller of ONCE coupons and thanked the award on behalf of all his colleagues at the foundation: “Who would have told me that after selling coupons for 10 years, I would be here today collecting this award on behalf of my colleagues. (…) We (Grupo Social ONCE) have to remain the best company, to be a reference for citizenship, for all those people who come daily to our 20.000 coupon sellers”. In addition, he took the opportunity to remember that the ONCE is the world’s first employer of the disabled and the fourth employer in Spain.

The event ended with a cocktail that all the guests attended. The Chamber thanks the Embassy of Spain in Belgium and all the participating companies for their contribution so that the event has been a success.