Egg Lab

Information
Contact: 

Alain Heureux - alain.heureux@telenet.be

+32 495 225135 - aheureux1

@AlainHeureux - be.linkedin.com/in/alainheureux/

 

Country: 
Belgium

Living Labs in the Area of Brussels South-Station

Since the nineties politicians were looking to develop the area as with the South-Station infrastructure the Midi would become the entry door to Brussels for many national and international travelers. Köln, Paris, London, Amsterdam but also the Brussels Airport and all Belgian cities are connected by Europe’s biggest transport hub. This vision has always being challenged by the difficulties of the area mixing many immigrant populations and surrounded by abundant post-industrial building like the Bara Street 175. The area’s bad reputation was discouraging many investors and initiatives. Despite the given context, some people decided to initiate living lab projects.  Their dream started back in 2003...

Description of Concept, References and Track Record

The first lab was The Egg Brussels.  The Egg was imagined by the creative brains of Terry Focant, Phil van Duyn and Benoit Pirson from the advertising industry in 2003 and taken further by Alain Heureux, becoming the leading force (founder) behind the project. In its original statement, the dream was to bring the entire media and communication industry under one roof creating new ideas, developing synergies and sharing resources. After 4 years of intensive lobby work, most of media and communication associations agreed to set-up a common legal structure called The Egg Corporation. Around 15 entities became the founders of the organization and took the first step towards the build-up of the project. The Egg Corporation is owner of the trademark The Egg and is perceived as the founder of the project.

A mandate was provided to Alain Heureux identifying a location for the project ideally in Brussels. Several contacts were taken and different locations were visited but the building located in the Bara Street 175 at 1070 Brussels owned by CityDev and managed by Pepibru (City Dev – Brussels Finance) quickly seduced the founding members of The Egg Corporation.

As the building was mostly empty being used as a warehouse until the end of the nineties and then partially rebuild by HSE (Home Shopping Europe) before going bankrupt, the founding members and the Brussels Region had to find a substantial amount of money before envisaging entering the building. The idea was to host The Egg Corporation but also to build a business center for start-ups active in the audio-visual sector and technologies as well as providing facilities for meetings, congress, seminars, concerts, shows, gala and other formats being the core-activities from most trade associations.

After several consultations an architect (Modulo) estimated the total investment around 9mil € to develop 5.000m2 offices and 10.000m2 polyvalent rooms. Brussels Region was ready to invest some 3,5mlj€ (Beliris) as part of their ambition to develop startup centers throughout the Region (Brucenter).

 The challenge was to found some 5,5mlj€ making the dream to become true! Whilst The Egg Corporation could invest some 250.000€, the mandate was provided to Alain Heureux setting up another legal entity to manage the ground floor activities.

 During the summer of 2009, a group of private and public investors supported by a bank and several Brussels institutions agreed to provide the necessary funds developing The Egg Brussels:

A Public-Private Partnership would supply the funds allowing the project to happen becoming more than a communication nest as initially stated in 2003, but becoming a City project for the Area known as Brussels Midi.

In 2014 the building is hosting permanently some 20 trade associations, more than 35 start-ups and is welcoming more than 75.000 visitors per year for business, cultural, artistically, academically, research-driven, musical and many other type of activities : www.egg-brussels.eu.  More than 350 jobs have been created directly or indirectly mostly within the immigrant population. 

Now the founder of The Egg has decided to launch new initiatives developing Social Innovation and Collective Intelligence within a neighboring building.  Helping kids and young adults from this disadvantaged area will become the major objective from a community of entrepreneurs as well as developing products and services.