hub heroes

Portraits of a city’s success stories

We team up with hub.brussels, Brussels’ Business Support Agency, and shine a light on 50 of the Region’s start-up success stories driving the capital city’s economic landscape forward. From the eco-conscious manufacturer to the technology-enabled post-production imprint, our 50-strong selection of portraits and interviews plays testament to the Region’s dense and dynamic culture of entrepreneurship.

Enprobel

Enprobel

Nahla El Mernissi & Imad Mouakkat

What would be your two-minute elevator pitch?

Do you love French fries? Because we do, and a lot. In fact, Belgians love French fries, yet don’t know how to manage waste oil. Did you know that one litre of waste oil can contaminate at least 1000 litres of drinking water? In addition, our market studies demonstrate that one out of two Belgians dump their waste oil into their kitchen pipes. We’ve done the calculations, and believe us, that’s a lot of problems. That’s why we decided to pair up and launch Enprobel (short for Environnement propre pour notre Belgique), a Brussels-based start-up which collects waste oil from not only professional kitchens but households, too. And it’s all done free of charge with the aim of saving Mother Nature. So far, we’ve gathered over 200 tons of waste oil, and that’s just from Imad working hard by himself.

List three factors that make Brussels’ entrepreneurship landscape unique.

  • Its open-mindedness.
  • Its desire for innovation.
  • Its development of sustainability.

Enprobel has win greenlab.brussels’ big prize after six months of hard work, which gave us much visibility

What are the three biggest challenges you faced when starting up your business?

  • Lack of funding: we counted on the 3 Fs – family, friends and fools – to launch our business.
  • Our age: as two inexperienced entrepreneurs in our mid-20s, we had to make considerable effort to be appear credible to our clients.
  • Direct competitors, who have more resources than us.

How did you benefit from hub.brussels’ expertise in the conception of your business?

We took part in their greenlab.brussels project and got the chance to meet many experts, like the project manager Patricia Foscolo for example. They helped us forecast our financial expenses and revenues, draw out our business canvas and challenged our solution designed for Belgian households. Moreover, we won greenlab.brussels’ big prize after six months of hard work, which gave us much visibility: we were able to speak to journalists and enjoy some media attention. Nowadays, we continue to get free support from hub.brussels via mybusinesspass.brussels’ MAXI Fly programme.

List three pieces of advice you would give to the budding entrepreneur.

  • Focus on your clients, and your clients only. What you really want to do is secondary, so don’t fall too madly in love with your product or service.
  • Keep your head up. Even if you’re convinced that your idea is innovative, incredible and overly interesting, keep in mind that there are some “evil” people out there that’ll want to see you fall.
  • Dream, but also work, work, work, work, work…
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Do you want to make a difference like Nahla and Imad?

Contact hub.brussels!