Oneflare, a startup that connects consumers to local businesses, has raised $500,000 in investment from a group of investors who have also invested in DesignCrowd: Les Szekely from Grand Prix Capital, Garry Visontay of Principal Sydney Seed Fund, and Dr. Jeffrey Tobias of the Strategy Group.

Australian services listings Oneflare has seen significant growth in the numbers of businesses and users listed.

Singapore-born Marcus Lim, CEO of Oneflare, said of the investment: “We’re now cash-flow positive so this funding is really about scaling and becoming the number one marketplace for consumers and service businesses to find each other. The experience that our investors bring to Oneflare is equally as important as their funding. We look forward to tapping into their experience, and capital, to fire a rocket under our already rapid growth.”

The startup was first created in January 2011, named “Pick a Quote.” The site now sees 130,000 unique visitors monthly. This is an impressive 1,300% increase in traffic in the last year. There are more than 250 service categories, and a total of over 30,000 businesses registered.

Oneflare has now processed $16 million in jobs requested. There currently are plans to tap the Singapore market in 2014 under oneflare.com.sg. The Yellow-Pages style online listings is also eyeing expansion into Belgium in the future because of its great market potential. There are some great reviews of Oneflare on Product Review that you can check out.

Consular services in Belgium

Belgium is an old country that has a very long history. Because of that, the history of its diplomatic service  go back a long way as well. But the modern history of the Belgian diplomatic service could trace its beginning in 1830 when a Belgian Diplomatic Committee was setup. After a year it was succeeded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Ministry was responsible for representing the interests of Belgium throughout Europe and the rest of the world during that tumultuous period. It was the office primarily responsible for carrying out the foreign policy of the country.

The Service

During that time most members of the Belgian diplomatic service have aristocratic backgrounds or came from rich families.  The role of the ministry was vastly changed however when the Industrial revolution began. The country was one of the first countries in Europe to undergo a significant change in this area and its foreign relations had to undergo a significant change as well.

During the two world wars the ministry was moved to other countries, since Belgium itself was overrun by the Germans. In World War One it was moved to France and in World War Two it was moved over to Britain.

The Consular Service Today

Today Belgium is represented internationally by more than 100 consulates-general and embassies. These embassies are placed in the capitals of the nations where they are supposed to represent Belgium. Sometimes they would have a jurisdiction over a country that does not have an embassy on its own.

Tasks and Services of the Consular Service

The task of the embassies and the consular offices in other countries is to represent Belgium there, but it also helps Belgian citizens who might be living or traveling in the said country. Any Belgian citizen traveling abroad, who is in need of assistance should call the consular office that has jurisdiction over the area that he is traveling before getting in before contacting authorities back in Belgium.

They have additional tasks and services as well, such as registration of Belgian nationals, notary services, passport applications and processing. They can also help in processing of citizenship. Another important task provided by these offices is the processing of visas for traveling in Belgium. That is one of the more important service provided by the consular offices.

The Belgian consular service has a rich and illustrious history and it has been at the forefront of world events. They have been at it for almost two centuries now.

Business handshake consular

Belgian UN policy

Founded in the aftermath of World War Two, the United Nations is an organization of the sovereign countries of the world. Its aim is to promote global understanding and development and to ensure that there would be no more conflict on a global scale.

The U.N. is actually the second attempt to create a global organization. The first attempt was the League of Nations, which unfortunately was useless in preventing the slaughter that was caused by the Second World War. World leaders back then did not lose hope however and they still aimed to have an organization that could help in promoting global understanding and cooperation. So they created the U.N.

As a founding member, Belgium takes an active part in the forming of policies of the U.N. The country was severely affected by the two world wars and they know that the cost of another global conflict would be too much. Belgians know that peace could only be brought about by understanding and cooperation.

Belgian UN Policy

Belgium is one of the founding member states of the U.N. and ever since the first years of the international organization it has supported the promotion of certain policies. In general it supports most of resolutions and aims of the organization, but it has focused on certain key policies that they deem to be more pressing than others. It has been represented in the organization since the earliest days by the permanent mission of Belgium to the U.N. The Belgian mission supports the following initiatives in particular:

  • Human rights in all countries of the world.
  • The abolition of racial discrimination all over the world. It supports a twice a year resolution that aims to put a stop to all forms of racial discriminations.
  • The abolition of the death penalty in all countries. They have long abandoned its use.
  • Putting a stop to violence against women and children all over the world which unfortunately is still a common thing.
  • Putting a stop to all forms of religious intolerance and discrimination all over the world.

 

These are some of the things that Belgium supports more in particular when it comes to the United Nations. Some of these things have been achieved by Belgians years ago and so what they want is to have the rest of the world to experience the same quality of life that they have. That is why most of what they are supporting are for the betterment of the condition of humans.

Common Belgian phrases

Belgium is one of the European countries that are quite easy to overlook. It tends to be overshadowed by France or Italy which are the major tourist draws in the continent. However the country has just as much historical and cultural background that could match its more famous neighbours. A trip there is really going to be worth the effort.

Language in Belgium- There is no one Belgian language. Dutch and French are the two official languages used throughout the country. German is also spoken in some parts. Regional languages and dialects are also used and English in some degree is spoken, primarily in places of business. If you know a little of French and Dutch then you can get along quite well in the country.

Common Belgian Phrases 

Southern Belgium- The people living in the southern part of Belgium, which is called Wallonia uses the French language. So if that is the part of the country that you are going to visit then you should brush up on your French. If you are not fluent in conversing in the language, then you should at least learn some of the more common phrases used in conversation there. Here are some of those:

Bonjour- This would mean good day or good morning or afternoon. It is generally used as a greeting.

Au revoir- Use this when taking leave of someone.

Merci- This means thank you.

Ou se trouve…- This means “Where is?” and can be very useful when you get lost or if you’re looking for something such as local removalists.

Northern Belgium- This is the part of the country where Flemish which is the same thing as Dutch is spoken. The good news for you is that the people here are more familiar with English and so they might try and switch to that language if they notice that their grasp of it is a lot better than your Dutch. Still, it would be useful to know a couple of simple phrases in the language:

Goeiedag- You can use this as a greeting.

Goeden avond- This means good evening.

tot ziens- You can use this for saying farewell to someone.

Waar is- This sounds a lot like its equivalent in English which is “Where is…?” This can be useful when you are looking for something.

Mijn naam is- “My name is…” You can use this for introducing yourself.

These are just some of the more common phrases that you can use while in Belgium.