Pierre Rion and Olivier Vanderijst will chair the decision-making bodies of the new Walloon economic tool

Pierre Rion and Olivier Vanderijst will chair the decision-making bodies of the new Walloon economic tool

The Walloon government formalized on Saturday the merger of the three Walloon economic and financial tools (Sogepa, Sowalfin, SRIW), with a view to the imminent creation of a public limited company. He also designated the people who will take charge of it.

The board of directors will be chaired by Pierre Rion and the management committee by Olivier Vanderijst, according to a press release from the Walloon Minister of the Economy Willy Borsus (MR). Both names had been circulating insistently for several days already.

A multi-entrepreneur, Pierre Rion co-founded the listed IT company Iris and the Domaine de Mellemont vineyard, he has been a “dynamizer” of many young companies (“business angel”), chaired the Cercle de Wallonie and directs, among other things , the Digital Council of Wallonia or even the board of directors of the press group IPM.

Olivier Vanderijst, a former member of socialist cabinets, has been chairman of the SRIW management committee since 2009. He has worked in recent months on the steering committee which made possible the effective merger of the three tools on 1 January.

Brussels – IPM Headquarters: Olivier Vanderijst, CEO of SRIW: Regional Investment Company of Wallonia (JC Guillaume) ©JC Guillaume

Attention to future needs

The three tools together present a balance sheet of 5.8 billion euros and an amount of investments of around 900 million euros. The new organization will employ approximately 250 full-time equivalents.

The merger, a long-standing project that was approved ten days ago by the Parliament of Wallonia, “constitutes a unique source of opportunities to increase and improve the impact of the Region’s interventions for businesses and the self-employed“, according to Willy Borsus.

For companies requesting support, there will now be only one point of contact. This will have the advantage of clarity. In addition, the management of each financing file will be entrusted to a reference person. The new tool – whose name has yet to be found – will also have to “contribute to the creation of ecosystems” around themes related to current issues, in particular the energy transition. A strategic watch cell will be set up for this purpose, which will have to capture the changing needs of Walloon entrepreneurs.