Marktlink Antwerpen: The partner for enterpreneurial Flanders

Our Belgian office opened in January 2019. Filip Mariën runs our Belgian office, as a Marktlink partner. Time to become better acquainted.

“I’ve been focusing on business takeovers ever since 2005. SME takeovers give me the most energy. Big companies are often very business-like and rational. With smaller businesses, there is also the psychological aspect: they sometimes see the company as their own offspring. That’s where we can really make a difference: as a takeover expert, you offer so much added value,” says Filip with excitement.

Indeed, making a difference is also a feature in the DNA of this particular Marktlink location. “Entrepreneurs know all about their own product or service, but lack expertise in buying or selling a company. That’s why I’m also an entrepreneur myself, in order to be a strong partner for companies wishing to sell or organise a takeover.”

Antwerp: A central location

One strength of the Antwerp team is its wide network, in Filip’s opinion. “Our office in Antwerp has a central location; however, our team members are from all over Flanders: West and East Flanders, Limburg, Antwerp, and Flemish Brabant. Their network is incredibly valuable. If you can take a West-Flemish colleague along when visiting a customer in West Flanders, it establishes a sense of trust.”

The entrepreneurial feeling is also important. Most colleagues have an affinity with business, as they have grown up in an entrepreneurial family or are entrepreneurs themselves. “This feeling, our extensive expertise, and a no-nonsense approach are what you’ll find in the Belgian team’s DNA.”

Time for fun too

The Antwerp team’s favourite lunch? Filip doesn’t have to think about that for long, “Croque monsieurs. Or ‘Tosti’s’, as our Dutch colleagues call them. We even bought our own machine so we can make them in the office.”

“Our projects go from coffee to champagne. Once a deal is complete, we celebrate together. There has been less of that in the last two years – for reasons we all know – however, the fun factor and celebrating life remain really important here, just like the person behind the employee. In a nutshell: fun, friendship, and good connections between the Netherlands, Germany, and Denmark.”

The ultimate partner for SMEs in Belgium

Filip looks boldly ahead with his team and sees the future clearly. The driven entrepreneur doesn’t waste time. “We aim to be the relevant player on the Belgian market in the SME segment within five years. Our diverse team makes that achievable; we can serve customers throughout the country. This is why two of our consultants will shortly be stepping up to a management position, each with their own deal team. We are moving from one to three deal teams, and therefore expect the number of deals to grow.”

“When I started the company in Belgium, I was alone. For me, the biggest challenge was to develop a strong team. The business was – and still is – there, and we quickly had an office as well. However, finding and retaining the right people was the hardest part. Now we have that team: people with plenty of expertise in the right fields. As from January, there will be eight colleagues working permanently in our office. We began with a blank slate, but have since established our place in the market and will be continuing our expansion in the coming months and years.”

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