As Featured In:

With more than 13,000 chambers worldwide, the Chamber of Commerce is the largest entrepreneurial network in the world. In Flanders, too, the Voka Chambers are the largest network. Voka represents 18,000
businesses, 70% of added value, 65% of private employment and 80% of exports. With a globally ramified network of 130 bilateral Chambers of Commerce, we are literally your gateway to the world.

Voka is a strong and influential voice in Flanders that represents the interests of the business community (picture: CEO Tom Laveren)

Voka defends your interests, connects you with fellow entrepreneurs and strengthens your enterprise. Three pillars which ensure that entrepreneurs and businesses feel heard, defended and supported in their growth.

Voka Defends
Whether you have just started or have been an entrepreneur for years, as a Voka member you always have someone on your side.

Someone who strongly defends your interests as an entrepreneur everywhere: with local authorities, but also at regional, national and European level. “Our entrepreneurs are our antennae,” says Tom Laveren, managing director Voka Mechelen-Kempen. “If we identify a problem, we quickly carry out a diagnosis. How big is the impact? How many entrepreneurs are affected? On the basis of these criteria, we will lobby locally, or continue at the Flemish, Federal or European level.

The Voka Hotline focuses on effective answers to company’s questions

Need help with a difficult tax file or a permit? Based on up-to-date information but also advice from experts, entrepreneurs can quickly make the right decisions. Voka searches for the answer which really helps you as a company. “The Voka Hotline runs very well,” says Tom Laveren. “Last year, we were able to answer no less than 1,700 questions from our members. Companies with a question can contact us free of charge on our Voka Hotline: 0800 30 232.”

Voka organizes a permanent dialogue between the various authorities, government and politicians (picture: Annelies Verlinden, minister of Internal Affairs)

Every year, Voka organizes traineeships for politicians at our companies. (Picture: Prime Minister and Minister of Economic Affairs.)

Voka Unites
Entrepreneurship is not something you do on your own. A dynamic and large network is essential for staying on track and growing as an entrepreneur. Voka broadens your view and your network by organising activities for entrepreneurs and policy makers from the political and academic world. “People find each other thanks to our network,” explains Tom Laveren. “The better people know each other, the greater the confidence to do business and to help each other. It is Voka’s role to facilitate this as a matchmaker. By meeting the right people, you speed up your business. You no longer have to figure it all out yourself; at Voka, someone from the network can help you further.

At the “Enterprise Award” we honour entrepreneurship in the region.

As a Voka member you can participate in network events. With the Voka New-Year’s party, we set the tone for the coming year with powerful messages. With the “Enterprise Award” we honour entrepreneurship in the region. During the Voka Match, we put our new members in the spotlight. “But we are also present locally with local networks,” adds Tom Laveren. “We constantly create networking opportunities. Interaction is in our DNA.

Various network activities bring entrepreneurs closer to each other.

Voka Supports
The business world is constantly changing. That is why Voka keeps you informed about all developments, new measures, and legislation which are applicable to your business. Through Voka’s extensive thematic offer you will work on your own knowledge and skills, and your personal growth will get a boost.

You can contact our advisors for personalized advice.

Voka also guides you in every phase of your entrepreneurship. Thus, almost 14,000 companies have already participated in one of our many programmes or attended the community and inspiration sessions. “In the Mechelen-Kempen region alone, entrepreneurs can take part in 285 unique trainings and programmes,” Tom Laveren clarifies. “The programme is fully tailored to the business reality of the entrepreneur. We only work with top trainers who know the business world inside out.

Do you want to launch or expand a business? We help you from concept to reality.

We are also very proud of the Voka Charter for Sustainable Entrepreneurship. For this we work together with the United Nations. Thanks to the charter, companies can truly embed sustainable business in their corporate strategy. If you check off ten actions per year, you get a charter that eventually can lead to an internationally recognized title in the field of sustainability.

From international business topics to cyber security and the do’s and don’ts of sustainability… ask for an overview of the trainings that fit your business.

Guiding Start-ups
More and more people decide to start their own business. Research shows that the number of start-ups in the Mechelen-Kempen region has never been so high with 3,751 in one year. “It is Voka’s task to support these entrepreneurs and allow them to grow into resounding brand names,” says Tom Laveren. “With our Voka Bryo programme, we are fully committed to providing better support for these start-ups. We bring them into contact with other entrepreneurs who know which challenges you can encounter. That too contributes to the greater chances of survival of the new businesses”. And that seems to work: with a survival rate of 70%, start-ups in the Mechelen-Kempen region do better than the rest of Flanders (66%).

Voka offers programmes for standups, startups and scaleups.

Innovation and Digital Transformation
Voka helps your company reach a higher level in the field of innovation and digitalisation. The digital quick scan (www.voka. be/digitale-quick-scan) is available to companies free of charge. This way they can test how digitally mature they are. We also offer companies the chance to test their digital project before investing in it. After all, research by Gartner shows that 70% of IT implementations are not successful. Through the Voka Digihub we bring companies in contact with the high-end test infrastructure of one of the 28 partner knowledge institutes. This way, you can test the feasibility of new technologies or systems in realistic circumstances. And that at only 30% of the cost price. “The Digihub is the ideal tool to test something new in an accessible way before investing in it”, concludes Tom Laveren.

Via the Voka Digihub you can test a new technology in realistic circumstances

And there is more. Do you need guidance on innovation subsidies or are you looking for advice on how to transform your company to the next technological level? Would you like to get in touch with inspiring leaders from the business world in the field of innovation or with researchers from colleges and universities? Or just keep up with the new trends in digitisation and innovation? At Voka you will find what you are looking for.

Voka guidance programmes help you conquer foreign markets.

Your Gateway to the World
Voka has everything in house to make your company grow internationally. For example, we organise guidance programmes in groups on foreign markets and international themes. We help you draw up a strategic business plan to strengthen your company and make it competitive abroad.

On our Voka missions you get to know new markets.

We organise economic missions so you can explore and conquer new foreign markets, or strengthen your local position across the border. Our international operation brings you into contact with entrepreneurs from all over the world.

Voka has a worldwide branched network .

Thanks to our network of experts, we are at your service to advise and assist you in all your international questions and concerns. “As an international chamber, we are part of the largest business network in the world,” adds Tom Laveren. “We bring hundreds of entrepreneurs into contact with foreign entrepreneurs, experts and authorities, but also help them take concrete steps in terms of export or doing business abroad.”

Other INNOVATE® Ecosystems