imec.istart named the world’s best accelerator program for university startups

imec.istart named the world’s best accelerator program for university startups

Enschede, 22 May 2023 – At the World Incubation Summit in Ghent, research agency UBI Global revealed the results of its biennial ranking of university incubators and accelerators.

The imec.istart program, which is running in Belgium, the Netherlands and Italy, was declared the winner in the category ‘World Top Business Accelerator – Linked to University’. Since the start of imec.istart, 290 tech startups have developed into successful technology companies through the program, raising 700 million follow-up funding.

A successful program

The ranking is based on the UBI Global World Benchmark Study, the world’s largest screening of (university) incubators and accelerators. The past three editions (in 2015, 2017 and 2019), imec.istart, the business accelerator program of research center imec, was already in the top 5. Since the end of 2021, the program has also been running in the Netherlands, in the form of a joint venture with Novel- T. Overall, imec.istart counts 1,895 participants and 109 programs from 56 countries were selected based on an extensive list of more than 50 parameters, which were mainly divided into three pillars: the impact on the ecosystem, the performance of the program and the performance of the start-ups in the portfolio.

“For more than 10 years we have been building a program that offers the best possible support to tech startups working on the innovations of tomorrow. The result of the UBI Global Ranking is a well-deserved recognition for the quality that we strive for every day with our team. We set the bar high, and are now also seen as the standard by others worldwide, says Sven de Cleyn, CEO of imec.istart global. “This award shows the value and power of the program and is the reason why we have also launched it in the Netherlands together with imec, said Jaap Beernink, CEO Novel-T. “The introduction of imec.istart.nl is a crucial addition to the deep tech startup ecosystem in the Netherlands. From this collaboration, dozens of startups with complex technology will be able to accelerate their steps to the market in the coming years. We desperately need those growing companies in the challenges we face worldwide.”

International ambitions

The imec.istart program has its roots in Belgium, but has since been successfully rolled out in the Netherlands and Italy, with plans for further expansion in Europe. The Dutch program has now been running for 2 years, with 10 startups currently completing the program. These are mainly deep-tech and med-tech startups, which, in addition to targeted coaching and workshops, also receive an investment of 100,000-250,000 euros. Various mentors, coaches, experts and investors work within the 12-18 month program on the rapid growth of tech startups.