SIM-Flanders / Flam3D structural partner of Flanders Investment and Trade

FIT Partnerschapsovereenkomst: Guido Verhoeven

SIM-Flanders / Flam3D was officially appointed as a Structural Partner of Flanders Investment and Trade on 25 November. Of course, the official appointment is a great opportunity to further put the Flemish materials industry on the international stage. Guido Verhoeven, General Manager of SIM: “We are really proud of this official partnership. It recognizes the importance of the Flemish Materials ecosystem and its leading position in a global market. The well-established FIT network will no doubt further enhance the success rate in international material related business and investments.”

Flam3D, as a division of SIM, will take on a leading role in the 5-year agreement given its role in stimulating international operations. The ambition of the partnership? To stimulate growth by accelerating the internationalization of Flanders’ economy together.

FIT and its 21-strong partner team go all out for more internationalization, growth and prosperity

Boosting the internationalization of Flanders, Belgium’s northern region, is not done in a vacuum. On the contrary! Under the motto “1+1=3” Flanders Investment & Trade (FIT) surrounds itself with a solid team of structural partners to support international entrepreneurship. Today, the government agency signed new cooperation agreements with no fewer than 21 organizations. The new partner team will join forces as of January 1, 2022. Both Flanders’ Minister-President Jan Jambon and FIT CEO Claire Tillekaerts were present at the signing of the partnership agreements, which took place in the Errera House in Brussels.

21 partners, 1 strategy

“Flanders Accelerates!” forms the backbone of the new partnerships. This is the official internationalization strategy for Flanders’ economy, which has been coordinated by FIT since 2016 and was updated earlier this year. From 2022 to 2026, FIT will further carry out the updated strategy alongside the new partner team.

The partners include sector federations and clusters, but also bilateral chambers of commerce, entrepreneurial organizations, incubators and so on. Each of them focuses on essential themes for the internationalization of Flanders: from trade relations to peer learning and fostering connections with foreign innovation networks.

Moreover, in terms of core business, they are in line with the strategic core domains of “Flanders Accelerates!” These are all top ecosystems in which Flanders could reach even higher levels internationally: life sciences & health, food, solution-driven engineering & technology, smart logistics, and sustainable resources, materials & chemistry.

“With these 21 organizations as structural partners, Flanders Investment & Trade brings together an ambitious team for the next five years,” comments Flanders’ Minister-President Jan Jambon. “This way, various domains of knowledge and expertise come together with a crystal-clear, common goal in mind: to make Flanders’ economy and business world prosper internationally, adding to our economic growth, prosperity, resilience and job creation. There’s no doubt that internationalization is an essential pillar for the socio-economic resilience of our region. Indeed, both Flanders’ exports and foreign direct investments in the region have played a crucial role in the post-COVID relaunch over the past few months.”

Complementary win-win

This is not the first time that FIT has joined forces with a range of strategic partners. Between 2017 and 2022, the government agency did just that. “The new partner team therefore includes some familiar faces who are once again on board,” confirms Claire Tillekaerts, managing director of FIT. “This strengthens us in our conviction that these partnerships are a win-win, and that they enable us to share both expertise and responsibility as equal, complementary partners. This unique set-up undoubtedly promises to bear fruit again between 2022 and 2026. Moreover, many of the partners focus on the same research and technology themes as FIT’s Science & Technology team. This synergy creates additional opportunities to put Flanders’ innovative ecosystems on the global map.”

The structural partnerships come with a total annual budget of EUR 1 million. This will enable FIT to help expand the partner organizations’ capacity over the next five years to support the objectives of “Flanders Accelerates!”. Together with FIT, the partners will launch numerous initiatives, such as seminars, economic missions, and events. They will also support a variety of initiatives to share knowledge and promote Flanders internationally as an innovative (tech) region across different sectors and expertise domains.

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