Sven De Cleyn, imec.istart Program Manager, highlights the importance of introducing specialized tracks in the imec.istart program: “Nowadays there is a wide variety of incubators in Belgium to support local entrepreneurship. We must continue to reinvent ourselves and our offer to make sure we keep on representing an added value to every start-up that joins our program. These special business tracks ensure that our entrepreneurs get the best coaching and mentoring they can get, by putting them in direct contact with industry experts who are interested in their idea and will guide them in the right directions to make sure they turn them into successful businesses.”
The special tracks represent an additional support for the start-ups active in these market segments. This includes an extra funding of 50.000 Euro, specialized coaching in the fields where each partner is active in and exclusive access to their networks, expert knowledge and available technologies.
Start-ups who wish to apply for the tracks will need to additionally pitch their idea to a special jury, consisting of representatives of each investing partner, on top of the general imec.istart jury. Being selected in the general imec.istart call is mandatory to join the tracks. However, start-ups that are not accepted in the verticals can still join the program and receive full support from imec.istart incubation team.
Dieter Nieuwdorp, Senior VP Strategy and Corporate Development Telenet: ‘Through our Telenet Kickstart program, we want to help digital entrepreneurs and start-ups to accelerate and grow their business. As an investing partner in the new imec.start vertical, we are looking forward to share our extensive domain expertise in the areas of media, telecom and entertainment and to open up our broad business network to promising start-up teams’
In 2015, the imec.istart was awarded by UBI Global with a fourth place in the category ‘Top University Business Accelerators’, a benchmark in which more than 500 incubation programs from all over the world were screened.