Imec’s start-up incubator ranked best in Europe


Imec.istart is Europe’s best university-linked business accelerator, according to the UBI Global World Benchmark Study

An extraordinary honour

Leuven nanotech firm imec’s start-up accelerator has been named the best in Europe by UBI Global. The UBI Global World Benchmark Study is the world’s largest survey of business incubators.

Imec.istart was ranked number five in the world – and number one in Europe – in the category World Top Business Accelerator Linked to University. Other categories in the ranking are privately, publicly and corporate-run incubators.

UBI assesses more than 1,500 programmes worldwide to come up with its winners, based on more than 50 qualifying parameters. The ranking reflects the overall impact of the accelerator program on the start-up ecosystem and the performance of start-ups within the programme.

“It is an extraordinary honour to be recognized by UBI Global as a top university-linked accelerator,” said imec.istart programme manager Sven De Cleyn. “We are committed to constant improvements in our programme to provide start-ups with the best possible support.”

Since the previous ranking, many of our imec.istart companies have seen strong growth

- Sven De Cleyn

Since its inception in 2011, the imec.istart program helped more than 200 tech start-ups become successful technology companies across a range of industries. Start-ups in the imec.istart portfolio have created more than 1,200 full-time jobs and raised more than €200 million in follow-up funding.

“Last year, we launched a mentor service to facilitate interaction between start-ups and domain experts, welcomed many new corporate partners and invested in the internationalisation process of our start-ups,” said De Cleyn. “We are proud to see that since the previous ranking, many of our imec.istart companies have seen strong growth, both locally and abroad, and succeeded in finding follow-up financing to continue their growth beyond the programme.”

Imec.istart is attracting more and more international start-ups, with one-quarter of the applications in the most recent open call coming from outside Flanders.

Photo courtesy imec