Christmas came early for more than 300 lucky KBC Brussels customers when they received a VIP winter welcome at a festive soiree in Brussels’ European quarter last week. The bank organised the high-profile champagne event complete with live music, food and festive cheer under an elegant marquee outside their Schuman branch. The event, now in its second year, was held to thank customers and to highlight services on offer to established clients and toprospective new ones.
KBC Brussels representatives were keen to highlight one such service inside the marquee last Thursday. The bank is one of the leading sponsors of the “Start It” scheme, which was established to offer vital advice to budding entrepreneurs and the seasonal event highlighted the importance of KBC Brussels’s role in kick-starting fledgling businesses in Brussels.
Once on board via the Start It project, KBC Brussels can offer new businesses valuable training, advice, coaching and in some cases – premises. Two young entrepreneurs whose dreams became a reality after initial involvement with Start It, were at the gathering to share their success story. Bram Vandeperre and Jan Joost are two of the brains behind Scooty, the Brussels-based scooter for hire company.
The two saw a niche in the market in Brussels after witnessing years of growing traffic congestion and pollution in the city causing massive disruption to commuters. Scooty, established just over 14 months ago, is an eco-friendly scheme designed to find a solution to traffic nightmares. Customers can locate the nearest Scooty scooter via a mobile app, day or night, choosing between a subscription or rental per trip. The scooters, available to anyone with a clean driving and or scooter licence, are located in busy districts in Brussels such as the European quarter, Gares Central, Midi and Noord. Jan said: ‘Our aim is to locate them throughout the city in the coming years. Our business just took off soon after it started but we benefitted from the help we initially received from KBC Brussels.’
Scooty is one success story but KBC Brussels officials said they were committed to creating an expanding portfolio for other businesses. Speaking at the event, Daniël Poelman, Community Manager for International Clients, said: ‘We are one of the founding fathers of Start It. We are happy to have invited a lot of customers here tonight and we also want to encourage new brands through Start It. We have a huge international community here in Brussels where around 1 out of every 2 customers is a not a native to Belgium so our aim is to encourage more brands to be established in Brussels by helping international businesses grow.’
Tomas Meyers, PR and communications manager for KBC Brussels, told The Brussels’ Times: ‘Start It is a very important incubator to businesses in Belgium and we are very proud to be a major player in this initiative. KBC Brussels hosts over 40 start –up schemes in Brussels. We coach and share our knowledge and experience with the entrepreneurs.’
He added: ‘For a local bank, it is important to be locally embedded and we are dedicated to the Brussels region because we work closely with local traders, organisations and customers so that we can ensure we give a specific service to a specific customer.’
Both Mr Poelman and Mr Meyers admitted customers appeared to have enjoyed themselves for the second year running and said they hoped to make it an important annual date in their clients’ pre-Christmas calendar.
The Brussels Times