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Invest in the Leuven Innovation Region

The Leuven Innovation Region offers numerous possibilities for investments, alliances, co-creation, cross-pollination and partnerships. The European Capital of Innovation has never been a better place to invest in than it is now.

Leuven as a ManuTech hub

Leuven is in a strong position for ManuTech start-ups and scale-ups. A recent study by Agoria and Sirris on the ManuTech start-up landscape in Belgium and Europe shows this. ManuTech start-ups and scale-ups develop digital solutions to optimise production in manufacturing companies. Leuven is in second place of the amounts raised.

"Leuven has a historically built up reputation in ManuTech, especially thanks to a number of fine spinoffs from KU Leuven and imec that have already been taken over in the meantime. These include LayerWise, LMS International, ICOS Vision and Metris", concludes Agoria.

"Leuven has a historically built up reputation in ManuTech, especially thanks to a number of fine spinoffs from KU Leuven and imec that have already been taken over in the meantime."

A recent study by Agoria

Growing in a sustainable and inclusive way

Economically, the Leuven Innovation Region is growing at a rate of 3% a year. Much of this is driven by knowledge activities: roughly 50% of the city's working population is employed in either research, education, or government.

Importantly, Leuven’s economic growth is inclusive: far from benefiting only high-skilled workers, it also produces high-quality jobs for low-skilled workers.

Crucially, Leuven has managed to grow its economy in a sustainable way: despite continued economic and population growth, carbon emissions have stayed flat. Though we need to do more, it is a first sign that efforts are beginning to pay off.

"The proximity of colleges and universities provides companies with well-trained employees, and Leuven is a world player in terms of innovation and development."

Mohamed Ridouani, Mayor of Leuven
© Materialise

Belgium is a top country to invest in

Despite the turbulence caused by the pandemic, Belgium maintained its fifth position in the ranking of European countries for foreign direct investment (FDI). That is the main conclusion of the 2021 Belgian Attractiveness Survey, an annual study conducted by EY that gauges the attractiveness of Belgium as a location for investment.

Some of the main sectors which are important for Belgium’s future growth are health tech, cleantech & industrial high-tech. These are also the sectors which are extremely well represented in the Leuven Innovation Region of Health, High Tech and Creativity.

This makes the Leuven Innovation Region the top high tech region in Belgium to invest in.

"The geographic location of the Leuven Innovation Region and the presence of both the university and talent convinced us to move our EMEA headquarters to Leuven."

Nitto Europe

imec.istart is one of the world's top business accelerators

Imec.istart, imec’s open accelerator program, offers tech startups pre-seed funding and tailored support to succeed and grow globally.

Since 2011, they have invested in more than 200 companies. Every year, imec.istart selects around 30 high-potential startups to join our 12-month program in Belgium.

imec.istart was recently ranked in the top 5 in the 'World Top Business Accelerator - Linked to University' category and No.1 in Europe. The ranking puts imec.istart at the top of the list of accelerators for technology startups.

Business accelerators in the Leuven Innovation Region


KU Leuven Research & Development (LRD)

KU Leuven Research & Development (LRD) provides active support during the establishment phase of spin-off companies.

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Zorgt de coronapandemie voor een massaal uitsterven van vlaamse hightech start ups we vroegen het aan sven de cleyn van imec istart


imec.istart is the first investor and supporting partner that helps tech startups scale up.

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Start it @KBC

Start it @KBC is Belgium's largest accelerator and supports and promotes entrepreneurs with an innovative idea and scalable business model.

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KU Leuven KICK

KU Leuven KICK aims to promote and encourage entrepreneurship among students, researchers, teachers and professors.

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Flanders DC

Flanders DC supports, promotes and connects creative entrepreneurs from Flanders, and therefore also from Leuven.

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Are you a Leuven-based student who dreams of being an entrepreneur or have you already started as an entrepreneur? In both cases you can come to LE(J)ON.

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With the StandUp, StartUp & ScaleUp programs, Bryo focuses on enthusiastic talent with a high potential and a great desire to be an entrepreneur.

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Are you a student or alumnus of UCLL and stimulated to entrepreneurship? At StartMinds you get guidance in developing your entrepreneurial idea.

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The UNIZO entrepreneurial coaches guide starters and pre-starters through the start-up as an entrepreneur and launching their own business.

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VLAIO Team Bedrijfstrajecten

VLAIO offers support to innovative start-ups companies in the form of individual coaching.

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Discover some of the latest investments in the Leuven Innovation Region

EU invests 20 million euros in ultra fast PCR tool from miDiagnostics

8 December 2021

MiDiagnostics is receiving 20 million euros support from Europe to commercialize its rapid PCR test for the detection of Covid-19.

Cronos Group sets up investment fund for Belgian gaming industry, together with partners

13 October 2021
The university college Howest, the technology investor Cronos Group and BNP Paribas Fortis want to give Belgian game companies a boost…

Spectricity raises € 14 million series B funding

16 August 2021
Spectricity raises € 14 million series B funding as it accelerates plans to deliver industry leading hyperspectral sensing to mobile and…

Capricorn Partners leads the Series B capital increase at REIN4CED

11 April 2021
REIN4CED, a Leuven-based manufacturer of advanced composite bicycle frames has successfully completed its series B capital increase of €…

BNP Paribas Fortis, Capricorn Fusion China Fund invest in solid state lidar company, XenomatiX

7 March 2021
XenomatiX, provider of true solid state lidars for ADAS, autonomous driving and road digitization, has received funds from 9 different…

Lara Croft inventor invests $2.2 million into Leuven-based game developers Happy Volcano

26 February 2021
Multi-award-winning video game studio Happy Volcano raises $2.2 million from UK-based Hiro Capital, the investment fund of industry legend…

How can we help?

The Leuven MindGate team is at your disposal for any questions about the Leuven Innovation Region. Do you want to invest, work or study in the region? We can help you find your way.

We also facilitate collaboration and innovation between companies, knowledge institutes and government within the Leuven Innovation Region, and we are happy to guide any of these stakeholders towards innovation.