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.

Mile End

Mile End

Sophie Courouble & Cyprien Ameloot

What would be your two-minute elevator pitch?

We chose to open Mile End because we’re simply crazy about food. Lacto-fermentation is the star of our restaurant, because it’s good for your body, the environment and most importantly, your taste buds. Our inspired, homemade kimchi, miso, sauerkraut, kombucha and much more are the perfect side dishes, helping you get through the day.

Lacto-fermentation, a hundred-year-old technique was a revelation for Cyprien. He went to Nashville to learn more from Sandor Katz, the fermentation revivalist, before coming back to Brussels with plenty of ideas and enthusiasm. We decided to share this through workshops designed to make participants as excited about this simple yet genius technique as we are.

List three factors that make Brussels’ entrepreneurship landscape unique.

  • Multiculturality: different neighbourhoods, different atmospheres and different demands.
  • The capital of Europe, but simultaneously a village.
  • There’s still so much to be done in Brussels, which means that there’s plenty of room for new initiatives.

hub.brussels directed our focus to the reality of our market and its competition to highlight our strengths and pinpoint our weaknesses

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

  • Completing renovations in time! Thankfully Sophie is an architect, which helped a lot.
  • Handling all the administration for various institutions: Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain, our local municipality, town planning, the fire service, Bruxelles-Propreté. Many documents to fill, and many periods of delay to endure.
  • Before launching Mile End, we had prepared funds as well as received a subsidy that would keep us afloat for a while, which was reassuring. Even though our customers were satisfied and clientele was increasing, we always kept in mind the first few months that we had to uphold our business plan’s daily goal.

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

hub.brussels assisted us in the end phase of our project, getting us to ask the right questions concerning the development of our flagship product – fermented vegetables. We were also able to test out our meals through a questionnaire thanks to them, getting feedback on several criteria such as the quality and price. They directed our focus to the reality of our market and its competition to highlight our strengths and pinpoint our weaknesses. Last but not least, they helped us draft our business plan, starting from a basic template – a real timesaver!

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

  • Take the time – months, even years – to specify your project and develop a solid guideline.
  • Develop your financial plan well and surround yourself with experienced individuals who can break it down for you.
  • Choose your associates well and break down everyone’s roles.
24 Rue du Congrèsstraat (1000)
mileend-brussels.com

Do you want to make a difference like Sophie and Cyprien?

Contact hub.brussels!