Belgium-based imec.istart, ranked #1 in the European ‘Top University Business Accelerators’ by UBI Global, has announced its collaboration with Novel-T, based in Enschede, the Netherlands, to launch an accelerator programme, imec.istart.nl.
The program aims to provide a boost to the startup ecosystem in both countries.
An initiative to connect Dutch and Belgian startup ecosystems
The programme was launched during the CES Unveiled conference in RAI Amsterdam. Jaap Beernink, director of Novel-T, and Sven De Cleyn, programme director of imec.istart, signed the cooperation agreement in the presence of the Dutch Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate, Stef Blok, and Prince Constantijn, special envoy for Techleap.nl
Sven De Cleyn says, “We are looking forward to rolling out our leading acceleration programme in the Netherlands. Especially to co-producing this with Novel-T as a strong founding partner. We believe that the funding offered by imec.istart.nl, together with the unique support programme and international reach of the imec network and our partners, will be great assets for Dutch high-tech and deep-tech startups with growth ambitions.”
De Cleyn further adds, “This move also allows us to bring the Belgian and Dutch startup ecosystems closer together, which will create new opportunities for our startups and scale-ups on both sides of the border.”
Novel-T supports innovation and entrepreneurship by connecting entrepreneurs with the right knowledge and networks of investors, scientists, entrepreneurs, and talent, both national and international.
It originated through an alliance between the University of Twente, Saxion University of Applied Sciences, Province of Overijssel, Twente Board, and the municipality of Enschede.
The organisation wants to expand and strengthen the existing ecosystem through better international exposure.
Jaap Beernink explains, “In the Netherlands, we are good at scouting opportunities for innovative entrepreneurship and excellent at converting these opportunities into startups. However, there is quite some room for improvement in terms of first real growth. Despite the potential, many do not reach the point of market introduction. Often, this has to do with loss of focus, speed, and lack of growth capital.”
“With the imec.istart.nl programme, we offer a very nice addition and connection to what is already being offered by knowledge institutions. At Novel-T and Imec, we are taking the lead and we expressly invite knowledge institutions and other partners to join us in order to give as many growth companies as possible a flying start,” adds Beernink.
What to expect from this initiative?
According to a press statement, the 12-18 month accelerator programme aims to boost young tech startups and spin-offs from knowledge institutions. With imec.istart, these startups will have the opportunity to go from a prototype to a successful market launch and international growth.
Besides, the companies will also be supported in a number of areas, such as an initial investment between €50,000 to €250,000, one-on-one coaching and mentoring, access to (work) facilities, access to over 4,500+ of the world’s top tech experts, and a large network of active investors.
The programme, Imec.istart.nl, is currently supported by fund partners including OostNL, VDL Group, Simac, The Cronos Group, University of Twente and imec, and program partners Demcon and Pfizer.
Entrepreneurs have until mid-November to apply for the programme which will start in January 2022. The second round will open on 1st May and will start in mid-2022.
Accelerator for tech startups
imec.istart is committed to supporting digital innovation and entrepreneurship in Flanders, Belgium. Its acceleration programme supports entrepreneurs during the early development phase of their tech startup.
This incubation takes a minimum of 12 months and is meant to assess the feasibility of the business proof-of-concept, prepare the (commercial) launch of the first product(s), and establish the startup to drive this commercialisation together with the imec.istart corporate partners.
The accelerator has already helped more than 250 tech startups in different fields to develop into sustainable businesses.