On the night of June 8th, the 2nd Social Networking Night for Spanish Expats living in Brussels and Luxembourg took place. Organized by the Spanish Chamber of Commerce, and sponsored by BNP Paribas Fortis Expat Banking and LSI Language School, the event is aimed at helping young Spanish expats, newly arrived or established, extending their social and business networks. There are also workshop sessions where participants can get tips on topics such as how to improve a motivation letter when applying for a job, or how to make one’s profile stand out on professional networking sites.
“This event has two big benefits,” said Salvatore Orlando, Head of Expatriates at BNP Paribas Fortis. “Through the workshops you get access to expertise and an opportunity to talk to specialists in different field who could give advice, share insights into what is currently happening in the job market in Belgium. And after that, you get to talk to people and network. It’s a way to bring the young talent together so that they find a way to be discovered.”
After the introduction by María Catalán, Secretary General of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce for Belgium and Luxembourg, MEP Javier López talked briefly about the measures that the Parliament is taking to foster employment in the EU, namely the Youth Guarantee Program with a two-year budget of 6,000 million Euros, out of which 1,600 have been allocated to Spain.
“Spain receives the largest allocation due to its size and the levels of unemployment,” said Mr. López. “The idea is to create jobs for those under 25, or at least some form of training and development. That’s the goal.”
Thereafter, Zohra Dailal from LSI talked about the importance of being proficient in languages.
“Of course French and Dutch are important,” she said. “But English is the one that has become crucial, especially around the EU institutions.”
Asier Marquina from Arcelormittal conducted a workshop on how to maximize your network opportunities, while Ramón López Peláez, manager of the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs program at the Spanish Chamber of Commerce BeLux, performed a deep-dive on CV and Cover Letter writing.
Then María Catalán introduced a group of Spanish entrepreneurs visiting from Luxembourg, and who’d come specifically to share their own success stories.
“When I arrived in Luxembourg I decided to use my Spanish origins as an asset,” said José Serrano from Dlinea Architecture & Design. “I went out and dared to knock on door after door after door until someone said yes, because no matter how long it takes, there’s always a yes at the end of the line. I’m convinced about that.”
David Sánchez from AtelierDavidSanchez talked about the importance of creating synergies with other professionals, especially when being abroad.
“We Spanish people are very good at working in teams, please don’t forget that,” he said. “It’s something that we have to be proud of, always, and make sure you use it to the fullest.”
The last power session was given by Ramón López Peláez, where he briefed the audience on the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs program. An initiative of the European Union, the program aims to foster the exchange of ideas among European entrepreneurs, putting in touch a novice entrepreneur with a more experienced one.
After a group picture, the networking event began; the guests were more than delighted to chat over a glass of wine and Spanish canapés.