Go to the content

imec.istart open call

15 January 2020

The imec.istart business acceleration program supports entrepreneurs with the early development of their tech start-ups during minimum 12 months. During this period we want to assess the feasibility of a business proof-of-concept, prepare the (commercial) launch of the first product(s) and the establishment of a start-up to drive this commercialization.


Selected start-ups will get access to:

  • 12 months of tailored and interactive coaching and workshops
  • 50,000 EUR as pre-seed funding and financial road mapping
  • Access to imec technology, services and expertise
  • Feedback from mentors/advisors and potential investors
  • Support to find seed funding opportunities
  • Housing facilities in multiple cities (Ghent, Antwerp, Brussels, Hasselt, Leuven, Genk,...)
  • Community network of over 198 start-ups
  • ....

The program focuses on start-up projects with a certain technological inventiveness (though broadly interpreted) and with the potential and ambition to become a 'born global' company.

Even though a minimal support towards further technology development can be given as well, the main focus lies on business development (developing, validating and implementing a business plan, clarifying the intellectual property situation, market analysis, customer contacts through fairs, marketing and sales activities …).

Eligible projects are not necessarily limited to subjects related to the imec research domains. But, in order to be eligible, some form of proof-of-concept or prototype of the core product/technology is a necessity. At the time of submission, your start-up does not need to be established yet. However, if you are selected, we expect you to establish a legal entity.

The imec.istart manual includes all details on the program, the conditions that apply (e.g. for the imec.istart support, imec received 6% of the equity in your start-ups), the support offered by imec.istart and e.g. the evaluation criteria. Each application will be reviewed by imec and its imec.istart fund partners.

Imec.istart offers market specific industry verticals with extra mentoring & funding in the following domains. You can optionally apply for these verticals:

  • Health
  • Media, Telecom & Entertainment
  • Learn & HRTech
  • SportsTech
  • Fintech, Insurtech & Cybersecurity
  • Industry 4.0, Logistics & Transport
  • Utilities, CleanTech & Smart Buildings
  • Agri & FoodTech (coming soon)

Important dates

If you submit your project proposal, please mark the following dates:

  • 6 January 2020: Call open
  • 1 February 2020: Call closes (11.59pm)
  • 12 February 2020: First selection by imec.istart
  • 19 - 20 February 2020: Intake meetings with pre-selected projects - Please save these dates!
  • 21 February 2020: Announcement of selected projects
  • 4 March 2020: Pre kick-off day for the selected projects
  • 17 & 18 March 2020: Kick-off day for the selected projects

Related News

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.