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Comate sets up first Belgian 'hardware incubator'

15 March 2022

Engineering firm Comate from Leuven receives an innovation subsidy from the province of Flemish Brabant for setting up an ecosystem purely focused on hardware startups. Together with tech accelerator imec.istart, manufacturing company Machinified, and a few hardware startups, Comate will create a consortium aimed at startups that want to develop a physical product or device.

Comate receives an innovation subsidy for the development of a so-called Hardware Incubator. The partners want to bring Hardware startups in Belgium together, and support them better with the initiative. "There are many renowned parties in Flemish Brabant such as imec.istart and Startit@KBC that support startups. Moreover, there are more and more startups in Belgium doing well internationally. What is missing is a dedicated ecosystem for hardware startups – starting companies with a physical product or machine – that require a very specific approach to see their idea grow into an economic success," says Sander Van den dries, director of Comate.

Comate wants to create a unique consortium with a specific focus on hardware startups, to guide them to success in the market as efficiently as possible. For the realization of this project, Comate is joining forces with, among others, the young prototype development company Machinified, Vlaio, and tech accelerator imec.istart.

In the first phase, an entourage of existing parties will be built up to intensively guide six innovative startups towards a first milestone or success within their development trajectory. These include an autonomously sailing boat, a painting robot, and a medical camera to diagnose voice problems.

Smart Hub Flemish Brabant

The province of Flemish Brabant is supporting five innovation projects this year, for a total value of 622.892 euros. Together with the own contributions, this represents approximately 1.369.360 euros in total project value.

In addition to the Hardware Incubator project, the province is also investing in a project that uses river heat to heat buildings, a radar technique that detects insulation defects in walls, a circular sound studio, and the Feed Food Health campus in Tienen.

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