Industrial settings are increasingly experiencing the opportunities of digitization and the Internet-of-Things. Startups (and other actors in the ecosystem) are developing new ways to manufacture products, track and measure different aspects of production flows, develop and train smarter robots or keep workflow documentation up-to-date for safety and compliance reasons. Any aspect of the manufacturing flow, as well as its links to other aspects of the value chain, are being disrupted.
Together with its structural partners, currently being Agidens, Agoria and Flanders Make, imec.istart has launched an industry vertical on ‘Industry 4.0’. This partnership enables ambitious entrepreneurs and startups active in Industry 4.0 to move even faster and enjoy better support in chasing their international ambitions.
Industry 4.0 expertise at your service
Agidens delivers advice, engineering, automation and maintenance. Their fields of expertise are compliance, E&I, control systems, MES, process and mechanical systems. Through their extensive expertise, and their offices throughout Europe and in the US, they develop and market new solutions for different markets (including life sciences, infrastructure, tank terminals, chemicals and food & beverage).
Agoria is Belgium's largest employers' organization and trade association. The companies represented by Agoria are active in different markets and industries. Besides access to their company network, Agoria offers expertise centers on energy, environment, fiscal matters, human resources, innovation and regulations & standardization.
Flanders Make is the strategic research center for the manufacturing industry. From their sites all over Flanders, they stimulate open innovation through excellent research. Their purpose: realizing a top-level research network in Flanders that delivers full support to the innovation projects of manufacturing companies. This way, Flanders Make wants to contribute to new products and production processes that help to realize the vehicles, machines and factories of the future.
The journey and benefits
During a period of 12 up to maximum 18 months, the imec.istart Industry 4.0 vertical partners provide coaching and training, depending on the specific needs (specialized coaches & mentors, training focused on certain themes, …), as well as optionally provide additional financial means on top of the imec.istart offering (which accounts for 50 kEUR).
The support provided by Industry 4.0 vertical partners comes on top of the support provided by the imec.istart program. Both organizations (imec and the Industry 4.0 vertical partners) take an independent decision. If you apply for the Industry 4.0 vertical, this automatically means you also apply for the imec.istart program and you agree with its conditions.
Requirements and eligibility
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 …).
“The final purpose is to help develop a business idea up to the point where it has enough proof of its market potential (e.g. through paying customers), is ready to attract financial support in the market, and is strong enough to continue developing independently.”
In order to be eligible, some form of proof-of-concept or prototype of the core product/technology is a necessity. At submission, your start-up does not need to be established yet (if you’re selected, we expect you to establish a kind of legal entity however). The program accepts international submissions, as long as there is (or might be) a substantial link to Belgium.