From 22 April until 28 April, an Antwerp delegation, led by mayor Bart De Wever, traveled to Moscow and Saint Petersburg, Russia’s most important political, economic and cultural centres, for a city mission. The delegation included representatives of the City of Antwerp, its partners POA and AWDC, Flanders Investment & Trade (FIT), Opera Ballet Flanders, the University of Antwerp, Thomas More University College, Flanders District of Creativity (Flanders DC) and Visit Flanders.
Antwerp’s town council tries to support organisations and businesses as much as possible, which is why the city organises a mission every year. Many Antwerp organisations were invited to join the city on this mission, as it is a unique opportunity to meet interesting foreign policy-makers and business leaders and explore (inter)national business opportunities.
"The city of Antwerp and the Port Autohority have recently set up several new digital innovation projects. These will bring us sustained economic growth”, explains Mayor Bart De Wever. "Through this business seminar in Russia, we want to realize partnerships between Antwerp and Russian companies and attract investors to invest in our Belgian city.”
The Port of Antwerp in particular, Europe’s second largest port, offers many opportunities for further investments. Freight traffic between Russia and Antwerp has been on the rise for years. Jacques Vandermeiren, CEO of the Antwerp Port Authority, explains: “In 2017, more than 14 million tonnes of cargo have been transported between Russia and Antwerp. This makes Russia our second most important trading partner at present. And there are still many opportunities for future cooperation. The digital transformation of the logistic business is in full gear and as a port, we want to enable the business development of our partners by acting as a catalyst for the digital opportunities. The new digital business portal NxtPort consolidates the data from the different sources and enables the development of targeted supply chain solutions."
Pitch for Russian startups
The mission started with an Antwerp business seminar in Moscow. More than 100 Russian companies attended this event. The seminar has set a strong focus on digital innovation, one of both partners’ particular growth clusters. During the business seminar in Moscow, Antwerp fulfilled its brand promise of being open for business and organized a competition for Russian innovators. Five Russian startups presented their projects to an Antwerp expert jury. The winning startup of this pitch is Cps lab. It is now invited to spend a month in Antwerp free of charge to discover business opportunities in the city. In doing so, Antwerp is fulfilling its brand promise of 'open for business'.
Mission Russia 2018 Magazine
Read all about Antwerp's DNA, Antwerp in numbers, innovative startups in the port, our academic research, our IOT-platform, fashion tech and much more in our Mission Russia 2018 Magazine.