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FIT gets the green light from the government of Flanders to extend Corona Exit plan with additional support measures
Brussels, 15 June 2020 – The impact of COVID-19 is unprecedented from a human, social and economic perspective. Since March 2020, the engine of export and foreign investment, which until recently was running at full speed in Flanders, has been paused. For an open economy such as Flanders, where export activities and foreign investments create many jobs and generate prosperity, getting the world of international entrepreneurship back on track is essential. That’s why FIT is extending its Corona Exit plan and adapted services to include additional support measures. The goal? To help guide companies beyond the coronavirus crisis with actions on numerous fronts, at home and abroad. Flanders’ minister-president Jan Jambon announced the additional measures during a press conference earlier today, jointly with Flemish Minister for Economy Hilde Crevits.
Additional support measures
The additional support measures include the following:
- The Corona subsidy package gives a maximum of 1,000 experienced Flanders-based exporters a boost to strengthen their export activities in 2020 and 2021. This one-off subsidy amounts to EUR 5,000 per company and will be available as of autumn 2020.
- The Starter package for internationalization supports a maximum of 300 Flanders-based companies in setting up their first export activities in 2020 and 2021. This one-off subsidy amounts to EUR 7,000 per company and will be available as of autumn 2020.
- The ‘ReBoot your export’ package is available in the short term and allows Flanders-based companies to participate in FIT group stands at international (trade) fairs and/or niche events at a lower cost and with enhanced payment conditions.
Thanks to years of digitization initiatives, FIT is perfectly equipped to support companies, even in this complex context. Since the start of the pandemic, we have been looking for alternative solutions where possible by providing adapted services. For example, we organize virtual B2B meetings and collect all the latest developments in our digital COVID-19 dossier and weekly corona-newsletter, all while remaining continuously accessible via our coronavirus hotline at email@example.com.
With the Corona Exit plan, we are giving our services an additional boost to provide targeted assistance to the business world. In doing so, we focus on:
Trade: boosting international commerce
The face of international trade has changed. In this new context, our Trade experts are preparing themselves to back the world of export and internationalization in Flanders even more than ever. Our approach focuses on, among other things:
- further optimizing our business processes – with initiatives such as a digital spring cleaning, internal training and renewed account management;
- becoming even more accessible – thanks to the launch of new digital tools and a renewed MyFIT portal with an even more personalized offer of interesting events, export opportunities, trade proposals, contact options and more;
- mapping out (new) company needs – for example, through surveys conducted by our provincial offices, International Business Advisors (AIOs), Export Skills Advisors or our partners.
Furthermore, we continuously keep all our information sources up-to-date and complete our online country overviews with insights on the local impacts of the COVID-19 crisis as well as possible opportunities for exporters from Flanders. In addition, we will focus on:
- setting up webinars – whether or not with our partners - about specific export markets with presentations by both external and internal experts, including Flanders’ Economic Representatives;
- hosting virtual get-togethers in Flanders and abroad to bring Flanders-based exporters into contact with potential foreign buyers;
- organizing tailored, small-scale business travel in line with local regulations for social distancing and essential travel;
- personalized digital communication on relevant trade proposals.
Invest: attracting and retaining foreign investors
Foreign investments are an important source of employment, knowledge and expertise in Flanders. However, because of the COVID-19 crisis, many companies cut back on their foreign direct investment plans. That’s why our Invest experts are doing everything they can to keep Flanders high on the agendas of both new and existing foreign investors.
We focus on four pillars:
- Building additional capacity and (sectoral) knowledge – using innovative digital learning methods, a revamped CRM system and other tools;
- Updating our investment promotion strategy – with an even stronger focus on high-potential strategic sectors, virtual lead generation and proactive informational campaigns about available support measures;
- Focusing even more on aftercare – for example, by sharing insightful content (webinars, sector news, etc.) with existing investors, but also by approaching previously interested companies with tailored information;
- Extensive digital promotion – through search engine marketing, virtual visits to Flanders’ innovation clusters and ecosystems, advertisements and ambassadorship on social media, videoconferencing, webinars and more.
Smooth access to extra financial resources
One of the main economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic are liquidity crises, especially among SMEs, start-ups and scale-ups. As a result, these companies are particularly vulnerable in these uncertain times. Via webinars and up-to-date information on www.exportadvies-corona.be and the weekly corona-newsletter, FIT therefore guides them toward the numerous available support measures as efficiently as possible – from measures offered by the government of Flanders (PMV, VLAIO) to federal measures (Credendo, FPS Finance, NBB) and European measures (EFSI, EIF, EIB).
Close collaboration with partners
The COVID-19 crisis is felt around the world in virtually every sector and industry. Measures to counter the economic impact of COVID-19 are partly European and cross-sectoral. FIT is closely monitoring this context. Here, our excellent and structural relationships with Enterprise Europe Network, Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship (VLAIO), sector federations and other partners play an essential role.
The impact van COVID-19 is unseen. Flanders’ exports decreased considerably in March 2020. In an open economy like Flanders, where exports and foreign investments create a lot of jobs and prosperity, we need to get the world of international business back on track as quickly as possible. To give the world of export a boost[TVV2] , FIT receives EUR 3 million from the government of Flanders in order to offer additional support measures to export companies and start-ups.
Flanders’ Minister-president Jan Jambon
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, many national borders closed, while foreign customers and partners suddenly seemed far away. Fortunately, we have noticed that many export restrictions have now been lifted and that international trade is restarting. FIT is now expanding its Corona Exit plan and adapted services with additional support measures for international entrepreneurs.”
Claire Tillekaerts, managing director of FIT.
Flanders Investment & Trade
Tine Van Valckenborgh
M. +32 499 24 60 93
Spokesperson minister-president Jan Jambon
Olivier Van Raemdonck
M. +32 470 99 91 01