MAI News 1-2017
Providing start-up possibilities for International Associations:
a new role for the MAI?

In this newsletter we provide an overview of the different possibilities we are trying out here at Maison des Associations Internationales (MAI) to make international associations feel really welcomed in Brussels. Why are the special offers and initiatives described below so necessary?
After all, as pointed in a presentation by UIA (Union of International Association) to an FAIB meeting on 16 March, there are already over 2,800 international associations in Brussels, and almost over twice the numbers of the nearest rivals such as London or Vienna.

This success is partly a product of history and the innovation of the Law of 1919 on international associations, partly because of the more recent need for associations to be represented with the European Union. There are signs however that this advantageous position cannot be taken for granted. The EU is clearly less of a magnet than it was for new international associations, whilst the “Brussels Bubble” is often seen as a complex, expensive and relatively closed environment. The EU remains as relevant as it was in an easier period

whilst the sphere round its institutions remains a dynamic and open “ideas factory”. There are also apprenticeship, training and job creation schemes which in reality make it much easier to set up in Brussels than most association executives, volunteers or Board members think.

We need therefore to work hard in order to overcome the myth that starting-up in Brussels and access for international associations is more difficult than it should be.

 From the Yearbook of International Association 2016, UIA (data collected in 2015).


MAI is offering the following:

Special offers for meeting organisers
Any first time user of our 20/40 people-meeting rooms gets one day’s use free of charge so that they can test out our services. This is in addition to a 20% reduction for tenants and a special summer time deal. What we do know is that once people have used the MAI, they do come back! The challenge is to attract them in the first place.
Incubator for International Associations
On the model of incubators for SMEs use of a flex office and different services is free for the first 3 months and then charged at a flat rate of 200 euros per month. This is proving useful for start-ups or to help take an existing international association reach the next level. Synergy is possible - for example to develop websites, data bases and share events and platforms. BREXIT is also a pull factor.
Training course and visits for new-comers
We are planning to launch shortly an intensive three-day introductory training course and series of visits for associations planning to come to Brussels or just starting here. This has involved preliminary discussions with the MAI Board, FAIB and UAI as well as representatives of the Brussels Region. The experts think that this is a good idea and fills a gap in the offer for training, but that by definition it is difficult to identify and reach potential participants.

If you want to make use of these 3 offers and have any ideas about how we can make them better known, please contact:
Planning to organise an event? Discover our Special offers 2017!
Moving to Brussels? Incubate your Association here at MAI!
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