Innovate Finance welcomed a delegation of leading voices from the digital finance community of Belgium led by the Minister of Finance Johan Van Overtveldt in London. The delegation is in the UK capital to initiate building a bridge between the FinTech communities of London and Brussels and to officially announce the launch of B-Hive, a new collaborative innovation platform for FinTech in Belgium.
B-Hive is the successor of Eggsplore, founded by Jurgen Ingels and with Wim De Waele as CEO, a FinTech platform in which a number of major banks, insurers and market infrastructure players started working together on common innovation challenges and building bridges to the start-up and scale-up community. B-Hive builds further on Eggsplore, with support from the Belgian government – by means of the federal investment fund – and a number of other additional partners.
Johan Van Overtveldt, Minister of Finance for Belgium said: “I am very pleased to announce the launch of B-hive, a collaborative innovation platform where finance meets technology. The new platform is the result of a recommendation made by a high-level expert group on the future of finance in Belgium, which I put in place in 2015, and led by Johan Thijs, CEO of KBC Bank and Insurance Group.”
B-Hive will be the platform where different individuals can:
Meet and explore the opportunities offered by digital transformation
Jointly promote their digital platform know-how
Provide the key elements of infrastructure, funding and education
Attract technology companies to use Brussels as a gateway to the European market
Collaborate with broader initiatives supporting the start-up community
Commenting on B-Hive, Wim De Waele, CEO of Eggsplore said: “Economic growth and innovation in the network economy is strongly dependent on collaboration and exchange of knowledge. With the B-Hive initiative we are connecting the different local and global actors that can contribute to that growth. I am pleased we are getting such broad support for this vision and I am convinced it will make a difference for our region as a digital financial centre.”
A co-operation agreement between Innovate Finance and B-Hive has also been signed to strengthen and establish closer ties between the two FinTech hubs and to help advance the sector by bringing together key influencers to engage on issues such as regulation, investment and cyber security.
“Brexit will not get in the way of FinTech advancing in the UK and Europe. Today we are welcoming the Belgium hub B-Hive to build a new FinTech bridge with the UK,” said Lawrence Wintermeyer, CEO of Innovate Finance. “Many continental FinTechs continue to see London as an attractive destination and we are keen to support future collaborations for our members on the continent with B-Hive. Belgium is at the heart of the European investment management scene and has a number of global infrastructure partners such as SWIFT, Euroclear, BNYMellon and Mastercard.”
London is one of the most important FinTech hubs in the world and since the news of Brexit, many European countries, capitals and other cities have sprung up as places that aspire to be the most important FinTech Hub and want to compete with London. That’s not the purpose of B-Hive. As a country of natural born diplomats and centrally located within Europe, Brussels – Belgium wants to build close ties with London. For B-Hive, it is both interesting to scout technology companies that want to establish additional offices on the continent. London serves also as an interesting destination for Belgian technology companies that are looking to expand their activities into the UK.
William Russell, Sheriff for the City of London Corporation welcomed the visit from the Belgian delegation: “London has long been regarded as one of the world’s most innovative FinTech hubs. Its supportive regulatory initiatives, government programmes and tax incentives provide ample opportunity for firms both large and small to grow. Working with European counterparts provides even greater chance for growth. That’s why we’re delighted to welcome the B-Hive hub – an initiative that will boost collaboration between Belgium and the UK.”