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Flanders' start-up ecosystem represented at Slush, Helsinki

Slush 2022 will be remembered as the most impressive start-up event ever in the world. Over 12,000 players from international start-up ecosystems – representing 4,600 start-ups and 2,600 investors – assembled in Helsinki on November 17 and 18. Flanders’ flourishing start-up ecosystem was represented by many Flanders-based start-up hubs, accelerators, investors, tech companies and, of course, a delegation of 12 ambitious start-ups, accompanied by Flanders Investment & Trade (FIT).

What is Slush?

Slush was founded in 2008 as a nonprofit organization run by students. Since its first edition – which attracted 300 Finnish founders – the event has grown into the world’s leading start-up event. This year, with over 12,000 participants, attendance broke all records. Despite the global magnitude it has gained over the years, Slush stayed true to its mission: to help shape and propel the next generation of pioneering entrepreneurs.

Slush is the number-one place in the world for early-stage start-ups to quickly meet and reel in investors. FIT offers Flanders-based start-ups a unique opportunity to participate in this event and benefit from FIT’s guidance.

Hanna Tuohino
Innovation Liaison Officer at Flanders Investment & Trade

Flanders’ innovative spirit in the spotlight

For the fourth year in a row, FIT assembled a delegation of Flanders-based start-ups to attend this impressive start-up event. There, each of them could thoroughly showcase their company’s strengths, services, products or technology at the FIT demo booths for half a day.

Next to being an invaluable shot at global recognition for these early-stage start-ups, the FIT demo booths put Flanders’ unmistakable innovative spirit in the limelight.

The participating start-ups’ outstanding craftmanship and technological novelties attracted the attention of international investors, accelerators, corporations and tech companies alike, radiating into Flanders’ reputation as a highly innovative start-up ecosystem.

Hanna Tuohino
Innovation Liaison Officer at FIT

But the 12 attending start-ups weren’t the only ones proving Flanders’ worth. Next to the main program filled with exhibition booths, fascinating keynotes and investor meetings, over 200 side events were organized at and around Slush. FIT also hosted successful events in collaboration with other prominent start-up ecosystem players from Flanders.

The smartest port digital twin in the world

‘Twin for the Win’, for example, was a sector-specific event targeted at companies active in smart logistics, port technologies and advanced tech such as the Internet of Things and digital twins. For this event, FIT worked closely together with The Beacon, a world-class innovation hub from Antwerp, which aims to solve challenges encountered by cities, ports and industries through technology and close collaborations. The Beacon is driven by, among other stakeholders:

During the event, Port of Antwerp-Bruges impressed Slush’s high-level audience with its ‘digital twin’, a real-time digital representation of the port area provided through sensors, autonomous drones and smart cameras.

Port of Antwerp-Bruges’ keynote clearly demonstrated that Flanders’ start-up ecosystem boasts interesting collaboration possibilities for international start-ups and offers top-notch investment opportunities in the fields of IoT and digital twins.

Hanna Tuohino
Innovation Liaison Officer at FIT

As a result, promising connections were made with Nordic tech companies who have showed their interest in exploring business opportunities in Flanders and setting up, for example, sales,  marketing and R&D  in the region. “This joint event with The Beacon was such a success that we’re already making plans for a sequel. We’re looking forward to deepening the collaboration and build out ‘Twin for the Win’ next year,” says Hanna Tuohino.

High-level networking

Another side event that brought valuable contacts to the table was the Belgian Dinner hosted by the Belgian ambassador to Finland. At this networking event FIT, The Beacon, VRT-led mediatech accelerator Future Media Hubs, Port of Antwerp-Bruges, and investors from Flanders shared a meal with Nordic start-up ecosystem players such as Finnish tech companies, Salo IoT-Campus, Maria 01, the leading start-up campus in the Nordics and other regional partners.

Key event for Startup.Flanders

All information about FIT’s call for participation in Slush 2023, collaborating partners and upcoming side events will be announced in late spring on Startup.Flanders.

This brand-new platform will be launched by FIT in December 2022 to help Flanders-based and international start-ups thrive and expand their businesses. By guiding them towards business opportunities, funding options, research and collaboration partners, start-ups can propel their international and technological growth. More on that soon!

More info

website Slush
Reported by
interview Hanna Tuohino, Innovation Liaison Officer at FIT
30 November 2022

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