This year, Inisol offers their 31st edition of their annual trade mission. We give students the opportunity to represent the Belgian economy in one of the fastest growing economies in the world. In this edition, Inisol has chosen to explore the Russian, Hungarian and Greek markets for three calendar weeks. During the trade mission, an academic team guides Master’s students in the execution of a company-specific assignment. About twenty companies participate in each mission and receive a detailed report at the end of the project.

Destination

The past years our trade mission went to Poland (2021), Romania (2021),  Morocco (2020) Colombia (2019), Kenya (2018), Indonesia (2017), Malaysia (2016), Chengdu (2015), Kenya (2014), Colombia (2013), Turkey (2012), Vietnam (2011), Indonesia (2010), China (2009) and Brazil (2008).

This year Inisol chose to explore the Russian market (Moscou), the Hungarian market (Budapest) and the Greek market (Athens).

Russia, by far the largest country in the world, engages in enormous economic activities. This is mainly in the agricultural and food sector, as well as largely in the pharmaceutical and health sectors. Russia also plans to achieve economic growth through innovation. To this end, it has invested billions in technology and industrial parks and special economic zones in recent years.

Thanks to its strategic position in Central Europe, Hungary has grown into an important European market in the logistics and transport sector. Traditional sectors such as food, agriculture and construction are also strongly represented. In the region, Hungary is a pioneer in the Biotechnology sector thanks to its investment initiatives as well as the growing group of highly educated people. In addition, the Hungarian economy is recovering from the COVID-19 recession with a growing GDP thanks to the successful government programs.

Greece is well known for its commercial ports, making it a logistical hub between Europe, Asia and Africa. Due to its advantageous location, the country has great potential to become a major player in the logistics and energy sector. The country has made a lot of progress since the crisis and has a number of promising large-scale projects under way, including the modernization of its ports, the development of transport infrastructure, the development of new technologies in the ICT sector and the Hellinicon project. Like many countries, Greece has suffered economically from the COVID-19 pandemic. However, economic growth is forecast again for 2022 as the country has a very strong tourism sector and economy. As a result, Greece remains a destination with many economic opportunities.

Guidance and support

The trade mission team consists of a group of highly motivated master’s students under the academic supervision of Prof. dr. Michaël Dooms, Prof. dr. Dr. Magali Geerts and their team. Both Prof. dr. Dooms and his team already have experience guiding and participating in previous trade missions themselves. The academic team guides the students during the preparation and implementation of the trade mission, both in Belgium and on site. We also work together with, among others, Flanders Investment & Trade (FIT), the local Belgian Embassy and the Foreign Trade Agency to obtain professional advice and establish the necessary contacts. To this end, we also establish preparatory contacts with Solvay Alumni locally. Practical matters such as accommodation, transport, communication, first meetings, etc. are arranged as extensively as possible before departure in order to be able to start working on the first day.

Time Span

The trade missions take place in the second semester of the academic year. Several months of intensive preparation had already taken place prior to this. This year, the trade mission will take place from March 21 to April 8, 2021 in Russia and Hungary and from March 28 to April 15, 2021 in Greece. After the preparatory and interim reports, the final report will be delivered no later than eight weeks after the mission. Companies are served according to the ‘first come first served’ principle.

Your motivation

The trade mission can be interesting for your company for many reasons. After all, it can mean the start of a new market conquest, or you can further expand your existing contact portfolio. This includes market research, marketing mix analysis, identifying potential suppliers and customers, exploring strategic opportunities, site engineering and investigating the impact of Covid19 on your international activities. By participating in this trade mission, your company can get to know a new market or expand further in an existing market.

Procedure

We use a simple working method, the detailed procedure of which can be found in the step-by-step plan of our brochure, which can be read here.

The first stage involves finding a participating company for each student. Subsequently, the student in Belgium will be thoroughly informed about the objectives of his/her specific assignment. The content of the assignment is discussed in consultation with a local representative of Flanders Investment and Trade.

In the second phase, approximately two months before departure, the mission will be thoroughly prepared. The assigned student will carry out the necessary preliminary research, in order to be sufficiently prepared for the on-site examination. If desired, this includes training or coaching offered by you before the start of the actual trade mission.

The third phase, the trade mission itself, consists of intensive research in Russia, Hungary or Greece. The students will arrive in March to carry out the assignments on site, which will take three weeks. During the mission, every effort is made to provide the student with feedback on a frequent basis.

During the fourth and final phase, each student will draw up a professional and academically substantiated report. The necessary attention will be given to the results of the conducted research. A first version of the report will be issued at the latest four weeks after your return. The final final report will be handed over at the latest eight weeks after your return. The accompanying oral defense and presentation will take place twelve weeks after return.

Contact

Should you be interested in our project or would you like more information, do not hesitate to contact us at trademission.inisol@vub.be.

Leaflet and Flyer

Detailed information about the project can be found in the following leaflet with a flyer that briefly summarizes the project.

Letters of support