The beginning of summer marks the start of a new Belgian endeavor on the West Coast of the United States. BelCham (the Belgian-American Chamber of Commerce) will officially open “Atelier in the Bay”: a coworking space for Belgian scaleups in downtown San Francisco, on 21 June. Atelier in the Bay will be BelCham’s second coworking space in the US after the successful launch of the Atelier in New York, a little over 2 years ago. In similar fashion, the Bay Area version of Atelier will pave the way for Belgian companies looking to expand their activities in the US, creating economic growth and employment for Belgium in the process. iMinds is one of the founding partners of this initiative.
“Atelier in the Bay is a continuation of the effort to modernize and professionalize our mission: connecting likeminded professionals and helping Belgians unleash their potential on American soil,” says Chris Burggraeve, President of Belcham.
BelCham’s new space is located at 620 Davis street, in the financial district of downtown San Francisco. It will serve as a working and growing environment, as well as a meeting place for Belgians, Belgian companies, and their friends on the American west coast. As such, Atelier in the Bay is a logical extension of the first Atelier in NY, which came about through the vision and hard work of Bieke Claes, Managing Director of Belcham. “We clearly filled a need with Atelier NY, which has been operating steadily at full capacity for the past 2.5 years. The formula works. When we found that same need existing for the west coast of the country, Atelier in the Bay became a natural next step.”
“Belgian companies who pass the selection procedure will be able to enjoy all the BelCham services and benefits of this new superb location with plenty of nearby amenities in the heart of the financial district of San Francisco. Well within reach of Silicon Valley and the entire Bay Area by extension, our companies will be perfectly positioned to develop their business on the west coast. At the same time they will be surrounded and supported by people they can trust and count on, fellow Belgians with a successful track record in the US,” says Claes.
Atelier in the Bay was made possible thanks to the generous support of 11 partners. 6 founding partners have committed to funding Atelier in the Bay: KBC, iMinds, Frederic de Mevius (Verlinvest), the University of Leuven (KUL), LRM and Pulse Foundation. Among the 5 supporting partners, Venturewise, SFPIFPIM, PMV, Cronos and GIMV provide additional financial support; Retrofurnish, Decospan, Dankers Décor, New Tree, Neuhaus and ABInBev sponsor by donations in kind, ensuring Atelier’s Belgian identity.
More than 10 Belgian scaleups already received the good news that they will be able to join the new BelCham space. The first ones have already taken up residence and the rest is to follow soon. Among them, we find companies such as Guardsquare, Coveo, Swift, Genae, Ticto and more.
“Though the Bay Area is obviously tech-oriented, Atelier in the Bay will be a place for both tech and nontech, and for companies from all over Belgium,” says Claes. “Our application process is open to anyone. We do recommend applying quickly as the number of seats and offices are limited.” The idea behind Atelier in the Bay is still the same. We aim to support economic growth and job creation in Belgium. “It’s one of the main reasons for our Founding and Supporting Partners to sponsor this initiative,” says Burggraeve. “When our companies do well in marketing and sales in the US, their R&D and production facilities in Belgium will flourish.”