Company: AWEX, Wallonia Export & Investment Agency
Interviewed person: Pascale Delcomminette
What is AWEX as a partner of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce?
The Walloon Agency for Export and Foreign Investments (AWEX) is a partner of the Chamber since 2016. We are the partner for the international economic development of Wallonia, a French-speaking region located in the south of Belgium. It has three objectives:
- To promote the internationalisation of Walloon companies.
- Attracting foreign investment to Wallonia.
- To promote Wallonia and its ecosystem of innovation and creativity internationally.
In this way, it is the Walloon business tool to foster economic collaboration between Spain and Wallonia.
What does this mean concretely for Spanish companies?
The work of AWEX consists of facilitating:
- The establishment of Spanish companies in Wallonia.
- Access to valuable products and services on Spanish territory.
AWEX advises and guides the investor in all phases of the process of establishment in Wallonia. In particular, it acts as a coordinator to obtain financial aid and subsidies for investment or R&D grants, carries out personalised simulations (finance, human resources and recruitment aid, real estate, etc.), puts the Spanish company in contact with public and private agents that can help in the development of business, etc.
With regard to exports, AWEX can provide economic data about Wallonia and its possibilities as an exporter, provide information about the products and services of Walloon companies to Spanish buyers or importers, analyse for them Walloon companies in order to conclude international alliances or distribute lists of Walloon exporting companies.
How is this activity carried out as a facilitator?
AWEX has solid geographical and sectoral expertise, but it also has an extensive network of contacts, both in Belgium and in Spain.
- In Belgium, the agency works closely with a large number of public and private partners, both at local and federal level: sectoral and professional federations, chambers of commerce, competitiveness centres and clusters, as well as research centres, science parks or business incubators, which are the richness of the ecosystem in the region. Moreover, AWEX works with FOREM, the regional employment and training agency, to provide Spanish companies with the best possible advice on recruiting human resources, and with inter-municipal bodies to find sites and buildings in which to set up.
- At the same time, around half of AWEX’s 400 employees work abroad. This extensive network of economic and commercial advisors makes it possible to benefit from their in-depth knowledge and experience on the ground.
AWEX has two advisors in Spain: one in Madrid and one in Barcelona. What is their role? To liaise between business partners in each region. Do not hesitate to contact them. They will be able to help you in your commercial exploration, look for partnerships and business opportunities or organise programmes of one-to-one meetings and B2B meetings.
Are there any current and concrete collaborative actions?
Once again, AWEX will be present in Barcelona this year at the ISE, IOTSWC, MWC, Infarma, Alimentaria, EANM, Smart City Expo. We also carry out sectoral missions at Industry 4/5.0 or Foodtech, for example. Sometimes we collaborate with Spanish groups, sometimes with local economic promotion organisations.
In addition, between 25 and 27 April 2023, Casa Wallonia will be held in Madrid. This is a unique and comprehensive event organised by AWEX and Wallonie-Bruxelles international to present Wallonia in all its facets (economic, academic, cultural and touristic). In this third edition in Madrid, the objective is to consolidate the links between Wallonia and Spain in the digital field. The prestigious Carlos de Amberes Foundation and the ESNE (University School of Design, Innovation and Technology) will host for three days a magnificent event of visibility and contacts between actors of the Spanish and Walloon cultural and creative sector.
Without leaving Madrid, we will also organise an activity in October on the theme of the metaverse, with the Belgian-Spanish Chamber of Commerce in the capital.
How does AWEX see the future of its collaboration with the Chamber?
We aim to strengthen the ties between our two organisations. The globalised world poses countless challenges to which a fruitful collaboration between European partners is the only way to provide an appropriate response.