What would be your two-minute elevator pitch?
CinéCité is a young cooperative project aiming to rethink local cinema culture in Brussels. We started by organising screening events in unusual spots of the city, like open-air cinemas in public parks or squares, or even in a church and swimming pool. Our next step will be the opening of the pop-up cinema KINOGRAPH, in the barracks of Ixelles/Elsene this spring. Besides this, we will pursue our main goal which is to open Brussels’ first cooperative cinema, complete with two screening rooms, an open space where the audience can gather, a nice bar and post-production film facilities offered by our partner Charbon Studio.
List three factors that make Brussels’ entrepreneurship landscape unique.
- Its many services for new entrepreneurs, like incubators, info points, workshops and networking events.
- Its open-minded spirit and supportive media landscape.
- The Brussels-Capital Region’s willingness to really support its entrepreneurs.
Try to build a strong network of interest around your project from the start.
What are the three biggest challenges you faced when starting up your business?
- Finding the time: it’s not easy to combine your everyday job with working on evenings and weekends to try to get your project off the ground.
- Navigating through all the different levels of Brussels’ administration, from the individual municipalities to the French-speaking community and regional authority.
- Keeping spirits high, especially after we realised that we were amiss to think that opening a cinema would be easy – but we’re here for the long run!
How did you benefit from hub.brussels’ expertise in the conception of your business?
Our first contact with hub.brussels was through COOPCITY, a Brussels-based centre for social enterprises. We were part of the first run of their SEEDS programme, which allowed us to structure our business plan and meet other innovative projects. After that, hub.brussels put us in touch with services like screen.brussels and Atrium Brussels, which provided us with a lot of feedback and expertise.
List three pieces of advice you would give to the budding entrepreneur.
- Entrepreneurship can be frustrating if you’re facing it alone, or without all of the required competences. A good team is a key for success!
- Never give up if you’re passionate about your project. It’s a long way to the top (to quote AC/DC), but it’s worth it!
- Try to build a strong network of interest around your project right from the start – they’ll be there to support you when you need it later.
8 Rue Fritz Toussaintstraat (1050) (from March) cinecite.coop