BECI: Boost Instantly Your Business in Brussels
April 7, 2022
Table of Contents
If you are doing business in Brussels, you might have heard of BECI (Brussels Enterprises Commerce & Industry).
BECI is the Chamber of Commerce in Brussels which helps entrepreneurs with their business needs. They are a valuable source of expertise, support and knowledge.
In this article, we will explore more about BECI, who the top players are, what it does and more.
BECI is a partnership between the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIB) and the Union des Entreprises de Bruxelles (UEB). BECI’s roots go back to 1703 when the Chamber of Commerce and Industry was founded.
BECU is a hotspot for Brussels business.
BECI is managed by its members. They base it on an interprofessional, neutral, and bilingual model. It represents two-thirds of employment in Brussels and more than 35.000 businesses.
BECI Chamber has now been active for over 300 years in advising companies of all sizes and in all sectors. BECI Chambre de commerce is the privileged meeting place for all Brussels entrepreneurs and offers them a wide range of services.
Olivier Willocx, Managing Director, studied economics at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB). Olivier has over 20 years of experience working with Chambers of Commerce.
Joelle Evenepoel is General Secretary. She studied law at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). Joelle has now been working at BECI for almost 20 years.
Jan De Brabanter is UEB’s General Secretary. He studied political science at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). He has been working with UEB for more than 10 years.
Marc Decorte is the President. He has been CEO for Shell Belgium & Luxembourg for over 10 years. He has over 35 years of experience in technology, business development, and marketing.
For the past few years, he has focused a lot on digital transformation.
BECI has three parts to it, with the Executive Committee, the CCIB Administrative Council, and the UEB Administrative Council.
BECI has 8 different departments:
- Executive Management
- International Affairs
- Events & Training
- Marketing & Communications
- Business Relations
- Business Consultancy
- Centre of Expertise
BECI is the ideal partner for any active company. The Brussels Chamber of Commerce helps its members in several ways:
- Defends the individual and collective interests of Brussels companies.
- Expands professional networks through events and its internal contacts.
- Offers advice and support to companies at all stages of their growth.
BECI offers 8 different categories of services, which we will take a look at.
Starting a business is embarking on a great adventure that will change your life. Since it is a new adventure, it can be exciting, but you might need some help.
BECI offer advice and support to entrepreneurs wanting to launch a business. They can help with formalities and documentation.
They also offer training and networking opportunities, and they provide the opportunity to expose your ideas to a wider audience.
Entrepreneurs very often have a tendency to think of “Bank” when they need financing. The bank’s mission is not to finance venture capital, which is why many companies are refused when they request financing.
Financing an activity or a company is a risk in itself. There are currently many forms and formulas of risk financing for businesses.
By “Private Equity”, BECI refers to all funds of private origin that correspond to a need in the life of the company.
BECI can help find funds on the market for project entrepreneurs, startups, scale-ups, mature expansion/export companies or companies in transfer.
They offer support with crowdfunding, crowdlending, private investment funds, events and documentation.
Doing business means first of all finding customers – but also suppliers, service providers, partners …
BECI’s networks, networking tools and networking events can help you. BECI offers advice, expertise about the EU, communications support, and information about the public market.
Selling or acquiring a business requires a lot of preparation and foresight. BECI acts as a trusted partner for the realization of such projects.
Mobility in Brussels is one of BECI’s main priorities. Its members can give advice and help you find solutions. Whether you want to develop a more efficient mobility policy, need advice, a diagnosis, a travel plan or just information.
They also have cash for car module to help businesses figure out how much the mobility of their employees will cost.
In a small country, you are never that far from a border. Belgium is a country with an open economy, at the heart of Europe. Exporting is a natural and even necessary process.
You will be supported by BECI. Whether you need help with export formalities or advice about Brexit for example. They will support you with exploring new European markets, links to other businesses globally or more locally.
The Center for Businesses in Difficulty is open to all entrepreneurs and managers of SMEs/VSEs in Brussels. It is meant for those who are facing professional problems or have questions about the future.
BECI offers support regardless of industry, legal form and size of business. There is no need to be a member of BECI to benefit from these services.
You can make use, free of charge, of the experience of a team of experts in a wide variety of fields. For instance, professional accountants, lawyers, strategists, digital experts, coaches, etc.
Have you closed your activity, declared bankruptcy or liquidated your business? You can meet BECI’s coaches and join a community of entrepreneurs. You can become part of the reSTART program to bounce back.
The aim of the reSTART programme is:
- to share your experience within a kind and supportive group;
- to accept the reality of your bankruptcy (working on past failures and oneself);
- to have better self-awareness, strengthen confidence and self-esteem;
- to define a new project and become part of a new professional dynamic;
- and to provide access to new networks and contacts.
On top of these 8 services, BECI offers e-services, grouped into paperwork and export formalities.
Within the e-services for paperwork, BECI can help with:
- shutting down a business or establishment unit;
- modifying your company data;
- starting a business;
- obtaining a business number;
- writing up a certificate of non-bankruptcy;
- registering leases;
- finding extracts from the Crossroads Bank for Enterprises;
- and writing up publications in the Belgian Official Gazette.
Within the e-services for export formalities, BECI can give consular advice and help with:
- obtaining a Globalsign certificate;
- targeting documents;
- obtaining a certificate of origin;
- and obtaining an ATA Carnet.
BECI also has an online calendar where entrepreneurs and members can access all their events. On their calendar, you can find themed weeks, workshops, and webinars.
Of course, with COVID-19, BECI has had to move all their events online. This makes it a lot easier for more people to access them and learn.
Over the years, BECI has led many successful initiatives:
Je soutiens mes commerçants et j’arrondis !
“Je soutiens mes commerçants et j’arrondis!”. This means “I support my local businesses and round up”.
Despite the difficult socio-economic context and prospects for recovery which may seem bleak, BECI observed an encouraging phenomenon of mutual support.
Local businesses paid a heavy price during the first lockdown. Since the start of the crisis, some consumers have been supportive of their local businesses.
By rounding up their bill when paying, consumers could generate up to € 140 million in aid over just a few months. This “J’arrondis” initiative has had great appeal for both local businesses and customers.
#PlayFair : rejoignez le mouvement en payant vos factures à temps!
“#PlayFair : rejoignez le mouvement en payant vos factures à temps!”. This means “#PlayFair: join the movement by paying your bills on time!”
COVID-19 and lockdown have had a huge impact on the Brussels, Belgian and global economies. During these complicated months, it is all the more important to pay your bills on time. Otherwise, the consequences can sometimes be catastrophic.
All the excuses are used to justify this type of behaviour. For instance, a remark concerning the invoice, an incorrect number, a too vague payment deadline or an invoice not received.
Only 15% of people are in fact in a situation of not being able to pay them.
These piled delays are putting pressure on businesses. They represent a direct threat to the survival of some who are impacted. They may not meet their commitments and this sometimes lead them to bankruptcy.
Often, the smaller the structure, the more serious the consequences in the event of payments not being honoured by customers.
#PlayFair is a support initiative that encourages Belgian citizens to pay their bills. They are not only an actor in restarting the economy, but they also encourage their loved ones to do the same.
By paying your bills, you can also save yourself much trouble. As the name of this campaign suggests, you will be “playing it fair” and “paying fair” too.
Distribution of masks #SproutToBeBrussels
A mask covering the nose and mouth was compulsory for anyone aged 12 and over. It should be worn in public places throughout the territory of the Brussels-Capital Region.
In order to meet growing demand, BECI acquired 10,000 additional fabric masks – washable and reusable 10 times. They were meant for Brussels workers as part of the #SproutToBeBrussels citizens’ initiative.
BECI offers the possibility to order Sprout to be Brussels masks for businesses, staff, and clients.
As part of their educational initiative, BECI has three different podcast series: Beci Podcasts, Next step, and Bruxelles métropole.
Beci has its own podcast, with interviews with experts, inspiring witnesses,… In short, anything that can directly or indirectly help entrepreneurs in their daily activities.
“Next step” is the podcast that aims to inspire entrepreneurs to take the next step. In each episode, they invite listeners to meet passionate people, listen to their journey and be inspired by it.
“Bruxelles Métropole” is the benchmark magazine for Brussels executives and managers and now has its own podcast.
You can meet the guests of the editorial staff in open-ended interviews. You can talk about business and urban themes, close to the concerns of business leaders and the realities of their region.
Producing podcasts is a time consuming and challenging task in normal times, let alone during a pandemic. However, BECI is going stronger than ever with their podcasts.
BECI has four priorities when it comes to doing the best for its members:
- Nurture a favourable climate to business and enterprise;
- Strengthen employers’ power through relevant analyses and greater representation of a large and diverse group of members;
- Make stakeholders and public bodies accountable through active participation in various consultative bodies and management mandates;
- Ensure subsidiary and good public governance.
In practice, this involves the representation of companies within the framework of social dialogue. They are a reliable partner in the mixed management of public affairs.
It also means developing and sharing knowledge on urban economic development and the metropolitan phenomenon as well as developing projects.
BECI also commits to advising and supporting companies, training and expanding its network and supporting members’ exports.
Finally, BECI is determined to succeed in the missions of trusted third parties and easing administrative procedures in Belgium or abroad.
How to become a member
You must fill in an application and conduct a presentation to the Administration Council.
You can find more information to join BECI.
You can find the BECI offices at Avenue Louise 500, 1050 Bruxelles, Belgium. BECI also has a Google My Business page where they have excellent ratings and where you can leave a review.
Link with CONNECTS
In 2017, BECI was one of the first Chambers to join CONNECTS. Since then, members of BECI have been able to access thousands of business opportunities across the world.
We give you a perfect example of how CONNECTS can benefit entrepreneurs.
The BECI moderator posted an opportunity on the platform related to COVID-19. Soon after, The Caribbean Chamber of Commerce in Europe (CCCE) showed interest.
This led to a successful collaboration between the two Chambers, allowing for business resilience and persistence in a time of crisis.
As we move into a post-corona world, such examples will become increasingly common.
CONNECTS is the best way to initiate trustworthy business collaborations across the world.
There are different networks on CONNECTS that you can access as a member, and the list of networks is always growing.
We also have a range of partners whom we are in constant communication with to improve the platform.
On CONNECTS you can have access not only to BECI’s network but also to other important Chambers. The bigger your network is, the more you can make your company grow and prosper.
Do you want to make your company grow? Join CONNECTS and discover a world of new business opportunities you can trust.
If you are doing business in Belgium, you can be interested in our article about Voka (the Flemish Chamber of Commerce). Or, you can read our article on CCI Wallonie (the Walloon Chamber of Commerce).
You can also read our article that gives an overview of the different Chambers in Belgium.
The platform is a Business and Chamber Directory and it hosts different Chambers from all over the world.
You can start our free trial for new members.
If you are a member of a participating Chamber, you can join our business platform for free.
If you are interested in finding out more about the types of opportunities on CONNECTS, check out our opportunities page.