I was invited to spend two days in Brussels for two purposes: to study the possibility of investing there, and also to present the report I co-authored for the EU Commission Expert Group on Venture Philanthropy & Social Investment.

The Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg organized the first part of the trip quite well: every meeting on time and to the point, the transfers in luxury cars, and the hotel conveniently located.

The meetings were not easy for me, as I had watery eyes, a stuffed nosed, and sneezing non-stop, due to an alergy. What I don’t know is if it was caused by polen, or by the monarchic Spanish flag and the picture of the king presiding the main meeting room.

In any case, I visited and/or met: Brussels Invest & Export, Cluster Lifetech Brussels, The Spanish Chamber of Commerce, Group S, Université Libre de Bruxelles, BLSI Biotech incubator, and Hub.brussels. It’s sad how much revolved around how to pay less taxes, or where to get public funding and subsidies, instead of innovation, market fit, potential customers… but this is Europe, after all.

We also had time to enjoy a nice lunch at Brasserie Meeus.

The second part of the trip was to attend Philanthropy Scrum, where the EU Commission Expert Group on Venture Philanthropy & Social Investment that I am a part of, introduced a report I co-authored. The event was organized by The Donors and Foundations Networks in Europe (DAFNE), European Foundation Centre (EFC), European Venture Philanthropy Association (EVPA).

Before going back home, I got some delicious tea at Palais Des Thés, and the required “chocolate return home tax” at Neuhaus.

One last thing I enjoyed: the VIP Lounge Plaza Mayor at Madrid Airport. Not at all crowded, with deliciously elaborated cuisine.