New Export Lions making strides in international business


Flanders Investment & Trade has awarded this year’s Export Lions to a chocolate manufacturer in Ghent and a data-mining firm in Izegem

Hear them roar

This year’s winners of the Export Lion awards, which honour companies that have made significant strides in the international market, are in the chocolate-making and communications business.

Klingele Chocolade, based in Ghent’s Evergem district, won the award for the 50 employees and under category. With a €5 million annual turnover, it makes sugar-free and fair-trade chocolate, sold internationally.

According to CEO Koen Klingele, the company projects a turnover of €10 million and a workforce of 40, up from 27, by 2020. Klingele is a tropical agriculturalist who began his career at UK-based pest control firm Rentokil Initial. He started the chocolate company in 1995 by delivering sugar-free chocolate to organic shops in Ghent by bike.

Skyline Communications, meanwhile, wins this year’s award for a company employing more than 50 people. It won previously in the category of smaller companies.

Founded by Leo Vandenberghe in 1975, the family-owned business based in Izegem, West Flanders, now concentrates on the software package DataMiner, which almost everyone uses without knowing it. Most Belgian websites – and many others across the globe – that use data-mining software make use of DataMiner. When we click OK to cookies, DataMiner collects data from our computers.

With a turnover of €25.6 million a year and 250 employees, Skyline counts at least 1,000 customers. Those include Telenet and Proximus, which together account for the majority of internet users in Belgium. Skyline also has clients in Mexico, Australia, Norway, Russia and the Philippines.

Export Lions are selected from nominations made by the export agency Flanders Investment & Trade.
Photo courtesy Klingele

Flanders Investment & Trade

Flanders Investment & Trade (Fit) is the Flemish government agency for international enterprise. It represents the region to the world’s investors.
In and out - Fit assists Flemish companies in their business ventures abroad, and helps foreign companies set up shop in the region.
Export Lion - Each year, Fit awards an “Export Lion” to two Flemish companies with exceptional export achievements.
Merger - Fit was born from the merger of the former Flanders Foreign Investment Office and Export Vlaanderen.

offices around the world


percent of EU purchasing power lying within a 600km radius of Flanders

2 005

year created