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Wallonia-Brussels in the USA

WSL, represented by its General Manager Agnès Flémal, is supporting the fourteenth edition of the Wallonia economic-technological project taking place in College Station (Texas), where the Agency Innovation department is taking Walloon companies and innovation-related partners so they can consider, create, and deepen their presence on the other side of the Atlantic. The goal of this institution supporting Walloon techno-entrepreneurs is, in partnership with Wallonia Export & Investment Agency, to expand their soft landing programme in Wallonia as well as to support Startech neo-entrepreneurs.

The aim of the soft landing programme developed by WSL and Wallonia Export & Investment Agency is to attract foreign companies to Wallonia - which is one of the Agency's two core roles - but only those which meet a certain profile. Only technology companies which have already developed and sold a solution outside the European continent are relevant to this programme. This means they already have some experience under their belt and can tackle the European market from Wallonia, an economically dynamic region in a particularly strategic location on the continent of Europe.

On the initiative of this partnership with Texas, Philippe Lachapelle, Director of Wallonia Export & Investment Agency's Innovation Department, clarified that the "soft landing is an additional element of our foreign investment prospecting strategy in Wallonia. It's a way of responding to mature foreign technological structures which are developing as start-ups in Europe. We at the Agency are implementing this prospecting strategy with our network of economic and commercial advisors (CEC) and our partners." And the message has been received: many requests have already started to be submitted on a regular basis through the CEC network...

For Agnes Flémal, this trip to Texas is not her first... She's very familiar with the partnership between Wallonia and Texas A&M University, as well as its economic development arm, Brazos Valley EDC. Brazos Valley EDC and WSL are working towards the same goals: establishing and supporting young companies that have been created around a technological project. But what's drawing the general manager to this mission is the new partnership that Wallonia Export & Investment Agency is developing with Katy EDC: "This more market-oriented structure is aimed at more mature companies, which of course helps us to find candidates for the soft landing programme in Wallonia. Our goal is to establish a recurring source of projects. In addition, Katy EDC is particularly active in medtech, which is another one of WSL's strengths."

This partnership could also be very attractive for the priority that the Walloon government has given to scaling up companies. This is a principle that only WSL is able to develop in the region's economic landscape...

Even though she knows that American companies first need to conquer their own country before they think about foreign markets, Agnès Flémal stresses "the need to make American companies aware of the European market's specificities. Setting up a business in Europe requires preparation beforehand, and it's more complicated than it seems. But in Texas, our partners understood how WSL and Wallonia worked; the files were as prepared as possible." And the door to Europe is wide open.

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