BlueHealth is a consortium of actors with extensive experience and networks in developing new health and care innovation and supporting start-ups. The partnership consists of UCB, imec, City of Antwerp, University Hospital Antwerp (UZA), University of Antwerp, Zorgbedrijf Antwerpen, Ziekenhuisnetwerk Antwerpen (ZNA), Gasthuis Zusters Antwerpen (GZA), City of Genk, Microsoft,, U-Sentric, C-Mine Crib, BioVille, Hospital Oost-Limburg (ZOL) and The Co-Foundry.

BlueHealth Innovation Center (BHIC) aims at supporting commercial development of an eHealth business idea, financially as well as content-wise. The support focuses on start-up projects with a certain technological inventiveness (broad interpretation) and with the potential and ambition to become a 'born global' company. 

Disruptive innovations within the eHealth domain can be related to a diversity of technological developments (apps/mobile, automation, cloud technology, Internet-of-Things etc.) and structural changes in healthcare operations (extra-mural care paths, patient empowerment, clinical analytics). BlueHealth Innovation Center wants to offer chances to promising start-ups in the eHealth domain.

Technological developments in eHealth are often (if not always) related to big data. Therefore, BlueHealth Innovation Center has the ambitions to explore and use the potential of available patient data for these technologies.

During a period of 6 up to maximum 18 months, the BlueHealth partners provide financial means (max. 50kEUR on top of the imec.istart offering, which also accounts for 50 kEUR) as well as coaching and training, depending on the specific needs (specialized coaches & mentors, training focused on certain themes, …).

The support provided by BlueHealth comes on top of the support provided by the imec.istart program. Both organizations (imec and BlueHealth) take an independent decision. If you apply for the BlueHealth special track, this automatically means you also apply for the imec.istart program and you agree with its conditions.

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 is ready to attract financial support in the market, and 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 imec.istart manual (look for it here) includes all details on the program, the conditions that apply (e.g. for the imec.istart support, imec receives 6% of the equity in your start-ups and an additional 3% for BlueHealth), the support offered by imec.istart and the different BlueHealth partners and e.g. the evaluation criteria.

The imec.istart program was named the world’s number 4 in the 2015 UBI Global’s ranking of ‘Top University Business Accelerators’. 

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