Belgian incubators in the picture: incubators all over Flanders
Incubators are excellent workplaces for startups that want to grow in the long run.
They generally offer a wide range of services to make your life on the workfloor easier: housing, reception, internet access, networking activities, analyses of your business model, financial planning, different kinds of audits, and so on. In an incubator, you can focus on your own startup in order to develop it further, as if it were an egg ready to be hatched. Today, we focus on Flemish incubators, organised by province.
Flanders has a lively startup scene. These startups would surely benefit from taking residence in one of the many incubators available all over Flanders. To make it easier to find an incubator in your neighborhood, we’ve listed some of them per province. For more information about Brussels-based incubators, you can read our previous blog post here.
In Bruges and Kortrijk, the university college Howest invested in two incubators: The Vibe in Bruges, for companies who work around IT, cybersecurity and blockchain, and The Hive in Kortrijk, which focuses on companies in gaming, 3D and new media sectors. In both incubators, students, researchers and external entrepreneurs all work together under the same roof.
Close to Bruges, there’s GreenBridge in Ostend. Soon they’ll change their name to Bluebridge. Its mission stays the same, however: it wants to be a sustainable breeding ground for successful technological entrepreneurship.
Another successful incubator located in Kortrijk is Hangar K. It’s a co-creation hub, a place where not only startups but also scaleups and established companies join forces in order to realise their growth ambitions. Their focus is on openness: open-minded entrepreneurship on the one hand and an open door policy which facilitates sharing expertise with other companies and the Kortrijk University College on the other hand.
Ghent is a great place to be if you’re looking to join an incubator. Firstly, Watt Factory is an incubator-accelerator that believes collaboration is necessary to be able to tackle the complexity around modern and sustainable smart cities. Even though Bio-Accelerator is called an accelerator, it is in fact an incubator which offers a valuable infrastructure with state-of-the-art laboratories, offices and meeting rooms. With these facilities, Bio-Accelerator aims to attract fast growing companies who specialise in biotech and life sciences.
The VIB Bio-Incubator focuses on biotech and life sciences as well with units that consist of air-conditioned laboratories and offices and an incubator and cold room. Likewise, Bioscape is an incubator that offers life sciences startups a modular lab environment and functions as a knowledge center.
Ghent does not only have life sciences and biotech incubators of course. For startups in the ICT sector, there’s iCUBES. And last but not least, the Ghent University (UGent) has its own Incubation and Innovation Center that welcomes startups from any sector.
The city of Antwerp is probably mostly known for its port and less for its incubators. However, The Beacon deserves to be seen as well! The AI and IoT-focused incubator and community takes an interest in smart cities, mobility, logistics and industry, just like the Watt Factory in Ghent.
Outside Antwerp (the city) but still inside Antwerp (the province), Johnson & Johnson Innovation - JLABS is an incubator in Beerse that gladly receives startups from the life sciences sector. Its ambition is big: they want to empower innovative entrepreneurs to deliver life-enhancing health and wellness solutions to people around the globe.
In the science park of the University of Antwerp you can find Incubator Darwin. Thanks to a collaboration with Antwerp’s university, startups can rely on a team of experts with regards to business management and finance.
Many startups have their origin in Limburg, which might explain the abundance of appealing incubators in this province. Healthcare startups can turn to BioVille in Diepenbeek or the BlueHealth Innovation Center in Genk. Also in Genk, C-mine Crib is the place to be for creative innovative companies.
The cleantech sector is also well represented by incubators interested in sustainability and smart energy such as EnergyVille (Genk), IncubaThor (Genk) and Greenville (Houthalen-Helchteren). Startups in ICT and tech can have a look at the Corda INCubator in Hasselt, or if they’re in the market for drones they should head to Droneport in Sint-Truiden.
To top it all off, there are two other incubators that want to attract quite a specific kind of startups. Agropolis in Kinrooi is the perfect match for companies interested in agriculture. Then there is BikeValley Incubator in Beringen, which is an excellent choice for cycling enthusiasts.
Startups from Flemish Brabant also have more than one incubator to choose from. In the province’s capital, Leuven, companies in diverse sectors can take residence in De Hoorn, a recently renovated office space/incubator. More tech-savvy startups will find what they’re looking for in the Innovation and Incubation Center (I&I), which also welcomes companies who are operating in an uncertain market.
The Bio-Incubator provides a dynamic and stimulating innovative environment in which biotech companies can develop their ideas and technologies. Similarly, Science Park Arenberg supports high-tech companies in their core activities and provides office and lab space. Both these incubators are situated in Leuven as well.
If you’re a biotech startup but not situated in Leuven, you can go to IICB in Zellik. It offers a central location close to the Zellik Research Park and the VUB University Hospital in Jette, while also providing the necessary services and flexibility. Lastly, there’s the Food Port incubator in Tienen which focuses on companies active in the food and health industry.