What about Agoria's Technology Clubs in these times of the Coronavirus crisis? And what does the planning of activities hold in store for the second part of the year? Community members have not been idle during this period. A range of webinars, remote services to companies and exchange sessions have been organized in a very short time, right from the onset of the crisis -- A paying (and praiseworthy) effort, since many of you took part in these initiatives, and we thank you for it. However, the question arises: are we heading towards more activities of this kind?

You might recall that at our last annual meeting, Dixie Dansercoer and his wife Julie Brown reminded us of the importance of audacity, perseverance and surpassing ourselves in difficult times. It would seem that the time has come to draw on  these lessons in this period  of the  COVID-19 crisis: abrupt cessation of activity, restrictions on social and professional contacts, rising unemployment, etc.... 

This has inevitably had an impact on our agenda since we have had to postpone or even cancel some of our activities, such as the Belgian Pavilion at the Offshore Technology Conference (Energy Technology Club), the missions to Portugal and Spain (Food & Beverage Technology Club), the missions to Qatar (FIFA 2022) and Lausanne and the Formula E networking Event in Paris (Sports & Entertainment Technology Club/Transport & Mobility).

Does this mean that the Technology Clubs have been inactive since the beginning of the crisis? Far from it.

Webinars: Expert recommendations keep going online

Whether to replace conferences or informal group meetings, Agoria has offered members of the various Technology Clubs, a series of webinars given by experts, e.g. the Plug-in Session with Chris Van Puyvelde (Technical Director of the Chinese Football Association) and the one dedicated to the Market Study on “Sports Technology In Australia”.

Other sessions will follow on a regular basis, including the following:

  • 27 May : Plug-in session with Jones Lang LaSalle : Adrian Glatt, Head of Capital Markets BeLux on the impact of COVID-19 on the real estate sector and investments
  • 11 June (TBD): Plug-in session with the Qatar Financial Centre- Fintech Qatar- Wim De Waele – : overview of the Qatari Fintech market, in cooperation with the Belgian Embassy
  • “A of coffee with...” interviews, Transport & Mobility Club Members and stakeholders sharing their insights and opinions.  You can already read the interviews with Punch Powertrain, Phasyaand Deltaray.

Helping companies to develop their business, even in times of crisis

The slowdown brought about by the lockdown measures should not prevent us from seeking new opportunities, nor from signing new contracts for that matter. Thanks to the powerful network of contacts in our community and the intervention of our experts, we have contributed to the success of several members.

For instance, the Food & Beverage Technology Club helped a Club member sign a "remote sales contract" with a new customer whom  they met in one of our previous events. Two other Club members have been selected by a world-scale chocolate producer to investigate the application of hyperspectral technology.

The Sports & Entertainment Technology Club supports the ‘RE-START’ project which aims to promote (current or pending) technological solutions to help the Sports and Entertainment industry RE-START in a safe, enjoyable and comfortable manner. The PRO LEAGUE and the RBFA have offered their cooperation in this project which will undoubtedly create a multitude of business opportunities for our Club members at a national and an international level.

And finally, in the Energy Technology Club, almost 30 individual B2B meetings were set up between members of the Energy Technology Club and the INEOS Project Team for their world-scale petrochemical investment in the Port of Antwerp.

Second half of 2020: towards a new way of working?

We obviously do not have a crystal ball as to when or how the easing of the lockdown will continue in the coming months. As things stand, telework seems to remain the norm for a good part of companies and this is not likely to change in the immediate future. This raises the following questions: will some of the activities on the agenda for the second half of the year be organized remotely, digitally? Will the way of communicating be reviewed?

The current format of webinar sessions seems to interest a lot of you, so we are currently preparing new activities that include the following:

  • Financial Services Technology Club: The Banking Scene: sponsored booth to increase visibility of the Club and B2B matchmaking (Sept 2020), Participation (virtual or real life) in Singapore Fintech Festival in cooperation with EY, FIT/HUB (Nov 2020)
  • Food & Beverage Technology Club: webinars on “Food Technology: Process Modelization & data sciences: with Sirris & Technord (11/06, “Food Processing in Spain with Flanders Investment & Trade (June)” and “Food Technology Club / IBM food Trust/Blockchain (June)”
  • Sports & Entertainment Technology Club: Plug-In Sessions with the “Qatar FIFA 2020 Supreme Committee” and “the UAE Dubai 2020 organization for Equestrian business”
  • Transport & Mobility Technology Club: Webinar “Battery Pack Safety: What you need to know”
  • Big Science Platform : Belgian pavilion at the Big Science Business Forum in Granada (October - https://www.bsbf2020.org/)
  • And of course let’s not forget our Annual Assembly that will take place on 26 November 2020, as previously announced.

Let's keep the community alive and strong!

Clubs are what they are first and foremost thanks to our members: you. Whether by participating in our activities, proposing new ideas or helping other companies, you bring each of Agoria's Technology Clubs to life.

So let's not let the coronavirus crisis dampen our motivation, and let's keep moving forward all together to the top!

Would you like to share your ideas and projects with us? Write to us at the following address: pieterjan@agoria.be