Get off the starting blocks

November 9, 2021

As a starter, you may be ready to shift up a gear. Sometimes that's easier said than done. Know that there is support for that extra push to the next gear.

One way is to join an acceleration program that offers you guidance, tips, insights on things you may not have thought of before, and much more. We'll give you a few examples.


The business acceleration program at imec, an international R&D and innovation hub in nanoelectronics and digital technologies, supports tech start-ups in their early development phase. Although imec is active internationally, it is headquartered in Leuven and imec.istart is a Belgian acceleration program. Plus, it's an acclaimed program: UBI Global placed it first in its list of university acceleration programs in Europe. Specifically, the business acceleration program supports entrepreneurs in the early development of their tech start-ups for at least 12 months.

The program offers access to funding (a pre-seed funding of 50,000 euros), coaching and mentoring, a large network of partners and investors, technology, work facilities and other forms of support (e.g. software deals, marketing and communication advice, etc.). Evoke, for example, is imec.istart's PR partner and, in this capacity, offers start-ups and scale-ups a customized approach to their PR and content marketing.

A few convincing figures:

  • To date, imec.istart has already helped 185+ start-ups and 45 scale-ups.
  • The companies in the program were responsible for creating 1200+ jobs
  • More than €120 million in revenue

Sign up here for imec.istart.


As a joint program between ICAB Business & Technology Incubator and Microsoft Innovation Center Brussels, this accelerator helps tech start-ups grow. Thanks to the collaboration between ICAB and MIC, the program can integrate the experience of both organizations, which in turn can only benefit start-ups.

It Amplitude+ program helps start-ups overcome the challenges associated with the desire to grow. Specifically, it uses a phased approach with three stand-alone modules over a period of 18 months. For example, starting companies receive more than 100 hours of individual and collective coaching. Perhaps the most important thing is that the program has no costs and that no equity is required.

Sign up here for the Amplitude+ acceleration program.

Start it @ KBC

It unique selling point of Start it @KBC is that there are no obligations when you participate in their acceleration program. As an ambitious start-up, you don't have to pay money or contribute your own funds. All that is expected of you is to be dedicated, open-minded and eager to learn. That shouldn't be a problem if you're already interested in participating in an acceleration program.

Start it @KBC welcomes start-ups at every stage of their growth, whether you're in the idea phase or already growing. If you are admitted to the program, you will have access to over one million euros in benefits via the network. The program allows you to build an extensive and professional network, offers local ad hoc workshops and offers a workplace in co-working spaces in six Belgian cities (Antwerp, Brussels, Ghent, Hasselt, Kortrijk and Leuven).

Some impressive numbers:

  • 200+ million euros in financial resources
  • 150+ million euros in income
  • 120+ starters per year
  • 1300+ starters


Beyond is an acceleration program supported by Pulse Foundation, a philanthropic initiative by entrepreneurial families in Belgium. The goal of both the foundation and the program is to stimulate and support future entrepreneurship.

Each year, ten scale-ups are selected to participate in the acceleration program, with a focus on community, connections and trust. For example, the scale-ups can stimulate their growth through the inspiration and knowledge they gain in boot camps and workshops. In addition, your scale-up will be assigned a personal mentor who will share their expertise and international success stories with you.

The program focuses on tech scale-ups with a strong relationship with Belgium. Are you such a start-up, then take a chance and sign up.


Birdhouse offers a network that is invaluable for entrepreneurs. Their mission is to support start-ups in their journey to successful scale-up by sharing knowledge and expertise. To fulfill that mission, they have set up an acceleration program. For each start-up, a tailor-made six-month program is put together in which various components help you achieve your goals.

The program is fairly intensive, with dedicated guidance, raising capital, building a valuable network, participating in targeted workshops, personal coaching and access to a well-equipped office in Ghent or Antwerp.

You can pre-register here for Birdhouse's acceleration program.

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