Doing business: New platform TIAO brings entrepreneurs together
It’s always exciting to be involved in a start-up, and this is no exception. I’m a natural collaborator and seek to work with like-minded and complementary individuals, so that collectively we can achieve so much more than the sum of our parts. TIAO is an example of that, with skillsets from international business, public and private sector, and of course the vitally important new technology that makes it all happen.
Our mission is to connect all entrepreneurs around the world in a trusted environment. Great idea – but how can we do this in a global business environment that may be ever more connected online but where trust is increasingly rare? Our answer is to work through local business networks, such as chambers of commerce, which have spent years building trusted personal connections, and to replicate the personal connections through businesses making contact with each other, using local moderators, in a single online business community.
My many years’ experience of working with local chambers, such as the British Chamber of Commerce in Belgium (BCCB), is the bedrock of the project. Our first platform, COBCOE Connects, linking British Chambers across Europe and beyond, was launched with BCCB as one of the pilot participants. We now have nine countries involved, with two more joining every month.
As a Belgian-based entrepreneur, working with Belgian and Dutch partners in Brussels, I’m pleased that the Belgian Chambers will also join us on their own platform, Be.Connected – once again, Belgium is at the forefront for new ways of doing business.
I like to think of myself as an ambassador for living and working in Belgium. I have lived here for more than 20 years, and this is very much my home. As a new Belgian citizen, I am pleased to continue to be a European citizen. There’s no doubt the risks of Brexit were a push to taking up dual citizenship, but there has also been a strong pull factor from the welcome I and my family have always felt here.
So, in a world in which new borders seem to be constructed at every turn, I would hope that business can help to build bridges and open opportunities for every company, however small or large.
This article first appeared in ING Expat Time