The Startups.be team definitely practiced what it preaches these last 18 months. Understanding that our offering was a bit too “fluffy” before – making it very hard to sell (which unfortunately is required to keep the wheels in motion) – we needed to find the proper focus.
So we started out by listening carefully to our community. And we have many types of stakeholders, which is probably what started the confusion altogether. Acting as the one-stop-shop on tech entrepreneurship, we deal with startups, incubators & accelerators, investors, networks & communities, corporate innovators and policy makers the like. And let me tell you, they don’t quite see eye to eye as to their expectations and where the added value of our network lies :)
We talked and listened to all our types of target audience - separately first and then in multi-stakeholder groups. Customer is king after all, but we cannot do everything for everyone so choices needed to be made. A SWOT emerged and consenses grew that expertise is what they want from us. And also neutral and unbiased action to connect the dots between startups and any other actor in the field. With the world as their market, the challenge for us was huge but clear.
Next step? We staffed up and redesigned our services, cutting out the fluffy parts. Less is more and focus should be on where the value is perceived. A new ‘jacket’ was designed to house this message – staying close to what you know but pimp it slightly nonetheless. Pitch training is no longer just a class for startups, the entire team got their pitch “smacked up” by Bart Van Loon – getting ready to be out there to engage. A new ecosystem map and new website to top it up. Progressive insights is what we call it – the more you tell us, the more we can show and tell!
Ta da...our new logo (download it here!)
There is one thing that did not change and that’s our mission: we help tech entrepreneurs with global ambition to grow bigger, better, faster, stronger than before. So what is it exactly that we do now?
1.We’re a Center of Excellence:
a. Knowledge is key to unlock the potential of the startup scene and understand our local “startup DNA”. So through international as well as local partnerships, we focus on gathering data and top experts to produce impactful insights through real-time dashboards, reports and presentations.
b. Fostering the startup culture in our country is one of our foremost goals, so we provide startups with a voice that resonates at all policy levels, ranging from city to European level, always aiming at meaningful and tangible results. We play a central rol in the startup manifesto, which you can sign here
c. Inspiration matters so we share our Belgian success stories all over the globe but also help fight back the stigma on failure through multiple Failing Forward campaigns.
d. We are working with the top mentors in the ecosystem to make sure their knowledge is shared with all the entrepreneurs that look for advice and inspiration. It's been a while since we've been doing this but now we do it through our Entrepreneurs Expert Agency (which will be launched soon!).
2.We’re a Matchmaker: We provide startups with access to experts and partners and international level – providing an engine for growth. We leverage our huge and fast growing global network to show off the talent and innovative potential our Belgian startups have under the hood. We organise the biggest event on tech entrepreneurship in Belgium: Tech Startup Day (we will announce the 2017 date soon!).
3.We’re Going Global: Startups are 'born global' by nature. That's why it is essential to investigate new markets, look for local partners and first customers, open foreign branches or even acquire a local startup early on. To help startups speed up that international market-entry and ensure you of the best contacts, we have developed a wide range of grouped 'Go Global' missions and conferences.
4.We help out with Fund raising: Nearly every startup founder lies awake at night figuring out where the next wave of money will be coming from. Starting and scaling a tech business requires a substantial investment that might not always be acquired through the customers. We have put together a series of resources to help startups design their strategy. Learn how to get investor ready.
In total we exchange info with 1500+ Belgian startups, 150+ experienced entrepreneurs and top experts, 180+ local startup supporting organizations, 3500+ Manifesto supporters and a vast online community.
We’re convinced of the potential – now we will make sure the world sees it our way too ! I invite you to join our community and raise your voice:
• Join our startup community, making sure we can help you connect;
• Join our global campaigns to show off and sell the Belgian tech talent;
• Our beloved blog is also getting a major overhaul: we will feature more stories, articles with key guidelines to grow your business and more. So stay tuned via our newsletter
We’re looking forward to work with and for you!
Karen & the team!
Bonus: A little blast from the past with our ever-growing and inspiring community!