What would be your two-minute elevator pitch?
Le Champignon de Bruxelles is a cooperative mixing together of urban agriculture, circular economy and exotic flavours. We collect beer waste from Belgian breweries to produce exotic mushrooms in the heart of Brussels. This mushroom production creates heat and carbon dioxide which is, in turn, used in our complimentary project ECLO to produce young herbs called “microgreens”. Located in the famous Cureghem Cellars, our 1000m² urban farm produces mushrooms and microgreens throughout the whole year. On top of that, we bike around the city every day to deliver our products locally.
List three factors that make Brussels’ entrepreneurship landscape unique.
- Brussels-Capital Region has a strong will to help projects concerned with circular economy and urban agriculture. Through multiple structures like hub.brussels, local entrepreneurs can benefit from tailormade coaching to create their business and have all the cards of success in their hand.
- Brussels is a real meeting point for cultural encounters. You get to discover passionate people from all around the world, which makes the city incredibly vibrant and inspiring!
- For a capital, Brussels is relatively small. And for its importance in the heart of Europe, it remains on a human scale. This is one of its advantages: a metropole has the capacity to support innovative and daring business projects, while the human size allows likeminded entrepreneurs to get to know each other quickly.
A challenge faced by many entrepreneurs is the fear of starting itself; of not seeing a return from your project; of having to give up. So the first step to starting a business is daring to face this fear!
What are the three biggest challenges you faced when starting up your business?
- For a project that had not yet made its mark, and where there was no other comparable example of our business model, our main difficulty was in finding funds from banks, investors, and whatnot.
- Finding a venue for our agricultural activity, in the city and at an affordable price for a start-up project was another complication.
- A challenge faced by many entrepreneurs is the fear of starting itself; of not seeing a return from your project; of having to give up. So the first step to starting a business is daring to face this fear!
How did you benefit from hub.brussels’ expertise in the conception of your business?
hub.brussels accompanied Le Champignon de Bruxelles right from the very beginning. Crucial coaching was provided on how to structure our financial plan, which then led to us gaining a better understanding of the many possibilities for subsidies in Brussels, as well as access to the local circular economy network.
List three pieces of advice you would give to the budding entrepreneur.
- In order to start your business, you must be open to constant learning, where you question yourself and your conceptions. Getting a financial return can take time, but you’ll be rich in experiences very quickly!
- Start your business on a small scale without taking too much financial risk. Test out and validate your idea before moving on to the next step.
- Don’t hesitate to share your idea around you and challenge it. If you find an expert in your field, talk to and learn from them!