VUB sends master’s students on international trade mission

VUB sends master’s students on international trade mission

In the spring of 2024, about 30 master’s students at VUB will depart on two trade missions to Kenya and Côte d’Ivoire. The missions, in collaboration with Solvay Initiative Group (Inisol), give students the chance to gain experience and apply the knowledge they’ve acquired in previous years. The university’s aim is to teach students the entrepreneurial qualities they need and to encourage entrepreneurship.


Final-year students in commercial engineering at Vrije Universiteit Brussel have been going on international trade missions in their final semester since 1991. They work with a number of Belgian businesses to carry out market research, identify potential suppliers and clients or organise on-site internal controls at branches of the business.


Since the 2019-2020 academic year, the mission has also been open to master’s students from other disciplines, including business and technology, international business, applied economics, communication sciences, (international) law, bioengineering and photonics. The team is led by experienced academics such as Professor Michaël Dooms and Professor Magali Geerts, with the support of Flanders Investment & Trade, the Belgian Embassy, the Foreign Trade Agency and an extensive alumni network.

Kenya and Côte d’Ivoire

This year, the 34th edition of the trade mission, students are exploring two promising markets: Kenya and Côte d'Ivoire. The choice is intentional, explains Professor Michaël Dooms.

“Kenya is an African superpower known for its thriving economic activities, with a focus on agriculture, healthcare, innovation, construction, infrastructure and renewable energy. Côte d’Ivoire, in turn, has one of the highest economic growth rates in West Africa and has made strong progress through investments in infrastructure, agriculture and other sectors. The trade missions ensure that students can develop their practical and entrepreneurial skills in an international context.”

The VUB trade missions have often led to lasting collaborations, and the formula remains very popular with students. Businesses also have many reasons to take part, including market research, marketing mix analysis, identification of potential suppliers and clients, exploration of strategic possibilities and site engineering. Flanders Investment & Trade encourages these activities through subsidies. Criteria for participation can be found on the Inisol website.

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Practical information

  • Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire: 4-22 March 2024
  • Nairobi, Kenya: 25 March-12 April 2024



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The Vrije Universiteit Brussel assumes its scientific and social responsibility with love and decisiveness. That’s why VUB launched the platform De Wereld Heeft Je Nodig – The World Needs You, which brings together ideas, actions and projects based on six Ps. The first P stands for People, because that’s what it’s all about: giving people equal opportunities, prosperity, welfare, respect. Peace is about fighting injustice, big and small, in the world. Prosperity combats poverty and inequality. Planet stands for actions on biodiversity, climate, air quality, animal rights... With Partnership, VUB is looking for joint actions to make the world a better place. The sixth and last P is for Poincaré, the French philosopher Henri Poincaré, from whom VUB derives its motto that thinking should submit to nothing except the facts themselves. VUB is an ‘urban engaged university’, strongly anchored in Brussels and Europe and working according to the principles of free research.


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