Even after Brexit, UK still offers a world of opportunities to Belgian startups and scale-ups

Even after Brexit, UK still offers a world of opportunities to Belgian startups and scale-ups

Accelerator Start it @KBC joins forces with BLCC and KBC London

Despite ongoing uncertainty surrounding Brexit, the UK still represents an exceptionally promising market for Belgian startups and scale-ups. Start it @KBC, Belgium’s largest accelerator has joined forces with BLCC (Belgian-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce in Great Britain) and KBC London to give budding entrepreneurs a helping hand in crossing the Channel. And vice versa, as British startups and scale-ups planning the same move in the opposite direction can also count on expert support.

As with many other Belgian companies, the rapid (?) approach of Brexit is causing considerable concern amongst startups and scale-ups, notes Start it @KBC founder, Lode Uytterschaut. “We do everything in our power to ensure startups and scale-ups in our ecosystem are able to think and work across borders from day one. However, despite the fact that Great Britain is just a stone’s throw from Belgium, it has lost its place on the mantelpiece for many startups and scale-ups. But that also means lost opportunities, because the British market represents the fifth largest economy in the world and therefore still has a great deal to offer. Especially at the B2C level, there are still enormous opportunities.”

“By working together with BLCC and KBC London, we give Belgian startups and scale-ups the opportunity to test the waters on the British market safely and without the need for immediate, large-scale investments.”

Home base, advisor and sounding board

Regardless of their sector, Belgian startups and scale-ups are able to make recourse to the Belgian-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce in Great Britain (BLCC) for all kinds of logistical support: working space, meeting rooms, business lounges and more, all in the heart of London. BLCC and KBC London also provide support in the form of financial, HR and market advice specific to the British context. The startups and scale-ups can also turn to the local partners for guidance on overcoming obstacles arising from Brexit such as import tariffs, contracts, customs formalities, recruitment issues, etc. 

Michel Vanhoonacker, Chairman of the Belgian-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce in Great Britain (BLCC): “We already offer more than 200 Belgian and Luxembourgian companies an excellent base from which to conduct business in Great Britain. We provide them with a complete back office, so that startups and scale-ups can concentrate entirely on their core business. This form of cooperation fits entirely within our strategy to help Belgian companies invest in the UK efficiently and cost-effectively.”

Jason Pratt, Director of Corporate Banking at KBC London: “As a result of the partnership, startups and scale-ups can count on practical advice and a sounding board backed by extensive knowledge of the British market. KBC has been active in London for more than 30 years, which means we are ideally placed to guide young Belgian companies in the early stages of their development.”

Opposite direction 

The collaboration between Start it @KBC, BLCC and KBC London works in both directions. Because what BLCC and KBC London do for Belgian startups and scale-ups looking to cross the Channel, Start it @KBC also does for their British counterparts who want to explore opportunities on the continent. Concretely, the British startups and scale-ups can call on Belgium’s largest accelerator for specialised workshops while profiting from the expertise of the entire Start it @KBC network. All of which ensures the best possible preparation for their launch on the Belgian market.

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About Start it @KBC

Start it @KBC is Belgium's largest accelerator and supports and promotes entrepreneurs with an innovative idea and scalable business model. The international Start it @KBC community consists of a network of more than 830 startups and scale-ups that share their experiences and expertise.

Start it @KBC was founded in 2014. The accelerator is founder-centric and offers their program completely free of charge. Start it @KBC does not take shares in the startups and only imposes one condition: the joint pursuit of maximum economic and social impact, diversity and sustainability.

The Belgian hubs of Start it @KBC are located in Antwerp, Brussels, Ghent, Hasselt, Kortrijk and Leuven. In addition, Start it @KBC has international offices in Budapest, Gyor and Prague and pied-à-terres in New York, San Francisco and London. Since 2017, Start it @KBC is a member of the exclusive Global Accelerator Network (GAN), which offers the startups additional expansion and sales opportunities abroad, as well as a wealth of benefits from technology partners worldwide.

Start it @KBC has strategic partnerships with large companies to better support startups. Today, strategic partners of Start it @KBC are Accenture, DPG Media, KBC, and Telenet. Since 2019, Start it X also immerses intrapreneurs of corporate companies in the Start it @KBC network.  

Startups who want to participate in the one-year Start it @KBC acceleration program and wish to make free use of mentoring, network, workshops and co-working spaces, can apply throughout the year via the website: www.startit.be

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