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Accelerator program imec.istart (Flanders) in world top 5

Innovation intelligence community UBI Global recently published its biannual World Benchmark Study. Evaluating no fewer than 1,580 programs, this list forms the world’s largest assessment of university incubators and accelerators. The imec.istart program – offered by Flanders’ strategic research center for nano- and digital technology – achieved an impressive 5th place worldwide and 1st place in Europe in the category for university-linked accelerators.

imec.istart team

Going steady

“It is an extraordinary honor to be recognized by UBI Global,” comments Sven De Cleyn, imec.istart program manager. However, the imec.istart team isn’t planning on resting on its laurels. De Cleyn: “We continuously improve the program to provide start-ups with the best possible support. Last year, for instance, we launched a mentoring service to facilitate interaction between start-ups and domain experts, welcomed many new corporate partners and invested in the internationalization process of our member start-ups. We are proud to see that many of our imec.istart companies continue to show strong growth, both locally and internationally, and succeed in finding follow-up financing to boost their growth beyond the program.”

Success stories abound

Imec.istart was launched in 2011. Since then, the program has helped over 200 start-ups in becoming successful technology firms. To highlight just a few examples:

Together, these and other start-ups in the imec.istart portfolio have already created over 1,200 full-time jobs, while raising more than EUR 200 million in follow-up funding.

Internationally attractive

In addition to local startups, imec.istart also attracts a large number of start-up companies from abroad. In fact, for the most recent open application calls, between 25 and 30% of the applications originated from outside of Flanders. The program’s strong reputation for follow-up funding only adds to its attractiveness. De Cleyn: “Start-ups receive an initial financial injection of EUR 50,000. However, throughout their 12 to 18-month guidance process, we support them in their search for follow-up funding, mainly through imec's extensive partner network. As a result, every euro invested by imec is followed by at least another 20 in external financing.”

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Reported by
22 November 2019

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