Wallonia-Brussels has just moved to Dubai when Revatis, a spin-off of the University of Liege, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Saudi company Sky Atlas Trading on the Belgian pavilion. This agreement concerns the creation of a joint venture aimed at setting up a research laboratory using the technology developed by Revatis in the field of stem cells. The process developed by Revatis is unique and helps promote healing in of injured horses.
The secret of such a success story? Dubai and its role as a hub, an accelerator of meetings and business. The passion of the Emirates for racehorses but also camels to which the care technique developed by Revatis can be applied. The scope of competences of the equine sector of Wallonia-Brussels recognized worldwide.
The Wallonia-Brussels Delegation in Dubai with the Minister President Elio di Ruppo, Professor Didier Serteyn and the Delegation of the Saudi company Sky Atlas Trading
Dubai-Wallonia-Brussels, assets to share
The equine sector arouses great interest in Dubai, and in the Emirates in general. Thoroughbred racehorses are especially prized for cultural and heritage reasons. The infrastructure, equipment and all horse-related products are booming.
It is a sector that relies heavily on imports and exports, as the unfavourable climate makes it difficult to produce food and the environment necessary for breeding locally.
This is where Wallonia, a hub of the equestrian world in many areas, can unveil its assets. Nothing can beat its large meadows and temperate climate when it comes to accommodating the breeding of high society horses or the peaceful retirement of older horses.
The equestrian world carries significant economic weight in Wallonia, with one billion euros in the regional economy and 6,600 "full time" equivalent jobs.
The strengths of the Walloon equine sector
Sport, of course - nearly a third of the horses in the Tokyo Olympic Games were Belgian, including three Walloon horses from the Studbook sBs, a member of EquisFair - as well as trade, transport, tourism, scientific research and more.
During the 2020 Dubai Expo, the Walloon cluster EquisFair wants to show a Wallonia that is a world leader in the equine sector.
EquisFair is "The" Walloon equestrian cluster. Created in 2019 by eight founding members and since joined by around 25 active members in various fields - feed, bedding, breeding, infrastructure, fittings, fences, care products, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, communication, transport, applications, etc. - this cluster brings together companies as well as research and training centres, equestrian federations, schools and more.
The only requirement for becoming a member is to enhance the link between horses and Wallonia.
The EquisFair cluster is there to help everyone in the equine world to develop their existing networks and create new partnerships in the sector, both nationally and internationally.
Dubai, a masterclass to showcase the sector
EquisFair is using its presence in Dubai to hold a masterclass in three key areas of the Walloon equine sector, i.e. tourism, the optimisation of sport horses and high level sport.
It is aiming to demonstrate Wallonia's position as a world leader in the equestrian sector and wants to position itself as the essential contact point in Wallonia for the entire sector.
Wallonia is full of nature and sports activities involving horses. The VIT agency and the company Kataklop offer both an application dedicated to equestrian tourism and the equestrian tourism packages developed by EquisFair, which are divided into two parts, "leisure tourism" and "business tourism".
Horse-drawn carriage ride (c) Le Chariot à fondue
The optimisation of sport horses
Professor Didier Serteyn conducts research in the field of cell therapy. His company Revatis, a spin-off of the Université de Liège, is one of the only companies in the world to have developed a patented technique for the production of stem cells, which he is presenting in Dubai. As President of the EquisFair cluster, he is well aware of the sector's challenges.
Interview with Professor Didier Serteyn, Expert in the optimisation of sport horses, Professor at the Université de Liège, Doctor in Veterinary Medicine, President of EquisFair & CEO of Revatis, which focuses on regenerative medicine and cell therapy.
High level sport
Lara de Liedekerke, Belgian champion for the fifth year in a row, will present her career as a high level sportswoman during this masterclass. She won the Nations Cup team event and took part in the 2020 Summer Olympics. The presence of this multiple medal-winner, who is passionate about horses and known internationally, is a real asset for the influence of the equine sector in Dubai.
Lara de Liedekerke (c) EquisFair
The Horse Inn
It is important to ensure the very delicate transport of these horses, in order to facilitate their exchange between countries and welcome elite horses for international competitions. In Wallonia, the sector has the Horse Inn, a building dedicated to horses and grooms at Liège airport. It is unique in Europe, and was created for the well-being of horses, with 55 large boxes so they can rest before or after a flight or road transport. Every comfort is also provided for the people accompanying them. The proximity of the airstrip is an advantage as it avoids increasing the insecurity caused by the journey. It welcomes more than 3,000 racehorses a year in a central European location that can serve the largest European racecourses.
An economic mission
In conjunction with this event, EquisFair will take part in the Wallonia Export-Investment Agency's economic mission, together with many of its members: Sophie Roscheck from Ekism (equestrian applications), Margot Reinertz from Cavalo (saddlery and stable fittings), Professor Didier Serteyn representing Revatis (regenerative medicine and cell therapy), Guillaume Tilleul from Kataklop (equestrian applications), Vincent Nizet from UVmastercare (UVC disinfection) and Ramona Kheddache-Leufgen from Hyssani (horse soap).
Being present in Dubai is an opportunity for the EquisFair cluster to achieve a number of objectives: develop activities that promote exchanges, highlight the resources and development opportunities in the Walloon Region, exploit the opportunities on the international market, especially with high added value products, and intensify interactions with the biotechnology and mechanical engineering sectors to develop and invest in projects in the field of Vet-Tech. Lastly, they will develop international partnerships and encourage foreign investment in the Walloon Region.
Wallonia-Brussels Week at Expo Dubai takes place from November 6 to 12, 2021. Wallonia-Brussels International and Awex aim to present the know-how and excellence of Wallonia and the Wallonia-Brussels Federation to visitors from all over the world. A unique opportunity to highlight the Walloon and Brussels talents and operators during an event of such magnitude.