Brussels startup ecosystem offers fantastic opportunities for entrepreneurs. Key local actors and spontaneous initiatives organize different events with a fabulous added value. Fond of startups, I am happy to share my observations here to help entrepreneurs maximize their experience in Brussels !
Sections of this article
- Source : Startup Digest Brussels
- Main organizers in Brussels ecosystem
- Number and type of startup events in Brussels
- Events you must join
- Top event venues? Coworking spaces !
- Massive gathering events
1. Source : Startup Digest Brussels
Since November 2012, Startup Digest Brussels regroups top startup events from 50 organizations and networks supporting the entrepreneurs in Brussels. As the curator for Brussels, I selected the 1200 best events and collected them every week.
In July 2015, 1030 members received a weekly recap of events via email for free. All events are open to anyone and most of them are free of charge.
In Brussels, there are about 5 to 10 startup events a day. Obviously, entrepreneurs don’t have time to follow this ever-growing stream of activities. Multiple fresh initiatives are born every month. E.g. : new accelerators, new incubators, new workshops programs, new meetups, etc.
The cherry-picked selection from Startup Digest focuses on the following topics :
- Small Businesses
- Business Strategy
- New Technology
- Software Development
- Internet Startups
- Web Technology
- Digital Marketing
- Lean Startup & Agile
- Women Entrepreneurs
- Social Entrepreneurship
- Professional Development
- Business Coaching
Check out the agenda of 1819.be to get the events from public institutions and events about accountability, insurance, recruitment laws, legal affairs, social rights, administrative aspects, public subsidies or mobility management.
Check out the agenda of startups.be to get more events like national competitions, calls for projects, European initiatives, international summits and other Belgian startup events.
2. Main organizers in Brussels ecosystem
In 2015, more than 50 initiatives regularly organized events open to the public. Most of them are non-profit associations or community-based initiatives promoting and supporting entrepreneurship.
Apéro Entrepreneurs, BECI, BeCommerce, Betacowork, Betagroup, Be Angels, BruGTUG, Café Numérique, Centre des Jeunes Dirigeants, Co.station, Digidrinks, Entrepreneuriat Made in Belgium, FEWEB, Founder Institute, FOSDEM, Fuckup Nights, ICAB, ICHEC, iMinds, Impulse.Brussels, Intrapreneurship Belgium, Lean Startup Circle, Le Wagon, LJE Alumni, Microsoft Innovation Center Brussels, Mind & Market, Mobile Monday, Nest’up, Open Coffee Club Brussels, PIE Time, Software.brussels, Solvay Brussels school, Solvay Entrepreneurs, Silicon Drink About, Solvay Alumni, Startup Weekend, Startups.be, Start’essentials, TEDx, The Loft, Transforma BXL, UCM, uStart, VBO-FEB, Webmission, Westartup.
They make a lot of efforts in order to support entrepreneurs and they naturally deserve our thankfulness. Thanks to them, Brussels became an attractive and inspiring city for entrepreneurs.
- There are a lot of isolated events representing 25% of the digest like European initiatives, Startups’ celebrations, news-related topics.
- Some initiatives are more recent like Fintech Meetup, SiliconDrinkAbout, FuckUpNight, Start’Essentials.
- Startup Digest regroups only an extract of events (topics-based selection). Impulse.brussels and other organisms organize more events. Yes, More, MORE.
3. Number and type of startup events in Brussels
There are a lot of events for entrepreneurs in Brussels. Different kinds of events with peaks in automn and spring.
Number of events
The average number of events is about 40 events a month except in July and August. In March and November, Brussels welcome up to 3 startup events a day !
Since 2012, startup events are not really booming as some initiatives disappear progressively (Open Coffee Club, Digidrink, Enterprize awards) when fresh ones start (Meetups, Betacowork workshops, LeWagon).
- That trends can surely be used by entrepreneurs to optimize networking times and pre-book some spaces in their agenda.
- Moreover, event organizers could increase events attendance by choosing adapted dates.
Types of events
Conferences and workshops are the most used types of events. Recently, modern types are spreading around where participants are actively involved into the content of the event to cowork and solve real questions.
If you are tired by classic events, join barcamps, unconferences, hackathons, unconventions and open forums. Check out the following events :
- SenseCamp from MakeSense (next event)
- Startup Weekend Brussels (next event)
- Members night from WeStartup
4. Events you must join
Top event organizers
They organize dozens of interesting events every month like trainings, workshops, startup pitches, awards ceremonies, cocktails, conferences…
- Impulse.brussels “Créer son entreprise à Bruxelles : 10 pièges à éviter”
- BECI Afterwork, Entrepreneurs Night & Happy Hour
Community-based events organizers
Since 2014, more and more spontaneous networks of entrepreneurs organize their own community, with a proper identity and shared values. They gather frequently, network copiously, debate about specific topics and share tips & tricks. I encourage you to join :
The 26 meetups for entrepreneurs in Brussels (members)
Meetup.com is the world’s largest network of local groups. Anyone can organize a local group or find one of the thousands already meeting up face-to-face. There are 120 Meetup communities running for entrepreneurs in Belgium.
- Growth-Hacking-Belgium (1945)
- socialNIB (1514)
- Belgium-Startup-Founder-101 (1374)
- Brussels-Data-Science-Community (1297)
- Lean Startup Circle Belgium (823)
- The-Brussels-Womens-Social-Network (747)
- Brussels-PIE (692)
- Le-Wagon-Brussels-Coding-Station (687)
- Brussels-Entrepreneurship-and-Innovation (622)
- Agile-Belgium (527)
- Finance-for-Startups (477)
- Virtual-Reality-in-Belgium (412)
- FinTech-Belgium (356)
- Brussels-Startup-Pitch-Night (306)
- BrusselsChangemakers (277)
- Brussels-Business-Success-Academy (274)
- Intrapreneurship-in-Belgium (274)
- Brussels-Entrepreneur (256)
- Silicon-Drinkabout-Brussels (228)
- Entrepreneurship-Happy-Hours (213)
- Hackathon-Belgium (183)
- Scaleup-Academy-Belgium (162)
- StartupDNA (146)
- Entrepreneurial-Hiking-in-Belgium (131)
- Koudetat_Bruxelles (118)
- Brussels-Makesense (77)
5. Top event venues? Coworking spaces!
Serendipity, networking, collaboration and contacts sharing are the key success factors of entrepreneurship. This is why these coworking spaces welcome every month a lot of inspiring and interesting events open to the public:
Entrepreneurs should choose their coworking space based on events, animation, networks and contacts opportunities. Other coworking spaces, incubators and accelerators can be found on Koen De Couck’s exhaustive map (#Betech Community).
6. Massive gathering events
If you want to meet tons of entrepreneurs quickly, you should join a massive gathering event like those recurrent ones:
Salon Entreprendre (+12000 attendees)
The annual fair gathers all the public and private actors of Brussels ecosystem. It’s the place to be for early-stage entrepreneurs, especially for traditional businesses. (next event)
Tech Startup Day / Failing Forward (+900 attendees)
These 2 amazing events from Startups.be gather the tech startup scene of Belgium. (next event)
XMAS Party, with Impule.brussels, BetaGroup & MIC Brussels (+700 attendees)
Celebrate the new year with real entrepreneurs and key actors of Brussels ecosystem.
Start Academy Finale (+400 attendees)
Celebrate the end of the intensive program with hundreds of Belgian students entrepreneurs who competed for the best business plan. (more info)
Betagroup events (+250 attendees)
The famous monthly event for tech startups where 6 startups pitch in front of hundreds of real entrepreneurs, web enthusiasts, geeks and peers in a casual atmosphere. (next event)
MIC Brussels : Boostcamp Award Ceremony (+200 attendees)
Join the ceremony of the Boostcamp accelerator program with the new generation of entrepreneurs and key actors of Brussels ecosystem. (more info)
Startup Weekend Brussels (+175 attendees)
The event where young and serial entrepreneurs create startups in 54 hours. No talk, all action. They validate a business model, make a running prototype, and get their first customers. Participate to Startup Weekend’s final event to discover newborn startups, meet cool people and have a party. (Startup Weekend Brussels Fintech Edition)
Publish your event in the agenda
Startup Digest Brussels is for entrepreneurs by entrepreneurs. Like multiple organizers, you can send me your event in the agenda for free, and I will include it directly. There are more than 1030 members reading the digest every week.
Any suggestion about this article ?
Should you have any suggestion to include in a further article about events in Brussels, don’t hesitate to contact me via @miduchateau or firstname.lastname@example.org .