European Commission presents KBC with Startup Accelerator Award for 2018

KBC awarded Corporate Startup Star

Brussels – For the second year in a row, KBC’s efforts have been recognised at Europe's Corporate Startup Stars, the awards presented by the European Commission to companies committed to promoting start-ups. KBC received the Startup Accelerator Award for its commitment to Start it @KBC, Belgium's largest accelerator with more than 650 start-up businesses. KBC also received one of the twelve Corporate Startup Stars for the way in which it values open innovation and for its participation in the Corporate Incubation Programme run by Start it @KBC.

KBC was also rewarded with a Corporate Startup Star for its intense collaboration with starter businesses. In 2018, KBC incorporated four of its own corporate start-up teams into the Corporate Incubation Programme of Start it @KBC to test their business model – just like the other start-ups – and to accelerate it, if successful.

Start it @KBC was launched by KBC in 2014. Thanks to the strategic collaboration with Accenture, Cronos Group, Flanders DC, Imec, joyn, Mobile Vikings, Telenet and local academic partners, Start it @KBC grew into the largest start-up ecosystem in Belgium. Under the leadership of its founder Lode Uytterschaut, the accelerator has supported more than 650 start-up businesses in Flanders and Brussels, and is also active on the international front. Start-ups follow an acceleration programme at Start it @KBC for three months and can benefit from mentorship, expertise and co-working spaces for a period of 18 months.

Erik Luts, KBC Group CIO: "I’m very pleased with this recognition, which nicely confirms the pioneering role we and our partners play in the Belgian start-up world. This kind of cooperation is crucial for the start-up ecosystem and has now prompted numerous other start-up initiatives. But there is still work to be done. For instance, we want to boost female entrepreneurship even more from KBC and Start it @KBC and to continue focusing on intrapreneurship through the Corporate Incubation Programme of Start it @KBC."

"Investing in and sharing knowledge with start-ups is rewarding not only for them, but also for us as a company. The combination of the fresh start-up mentality at Start it @KBC and KBC’s PEARL corporate culture stimulates intrapreneurship, including within the business environment. That’s why we give KBC employees who have a good business idea the opportunity to develop it further in the Corporate Incubation Programme. This way they can quietly find out in the right environment whether their idea is scalable. After all, the best ideas often come from our own employees.”

With Start it @KBC, KBC also wants to have a positive impact on the Belgian economy and society. This is one of the three pillars of KBC's sustainability policy, which is fully embedded in the company’s business strategy. It ensures that KBC’s sustainability principles are incorporated into all its activities and grounded in every part  of the organisation, while enhancing the positive impact its day-to-day operations have on society.

Contact us
Stef Leunens Corporate Communication, KBC Group NV
About Start it @KBC

Start it @KBC supports and promotes entrepreneurs with innovative ideas and scalable business models. As such, it is Belgium’s largest community of start-ups. As a pioneer in Belgium, Start it @KBC aims to have a positive impact on the country’s economy and society. 

 For their first 3 months at Start it @KBC, start-ups join a strong, tailor-made accelerator programme while continuing to profit from top-notch mentorship, diverse expertise, an extensive international network and an inspiring co-working space for a period of 18 months. Start it @KBC continuously adapts its programme in co-creation with its start-ups.  

One of Start it @KBC’s key objectives is to stimulate (international) cross-pollination between more than 700 start-ups and scale-ups but also amongst investors, experienced mentors, experts from a wide variety of domains (technology, sales, legal, marketing, communication, etc.) and other global accelerators and incubators. The community also plays a leading role in promoting diversity and female entrepreneurship. 

Start it @KBC also has a clear international vision. In addition to hubs in Antwerp, Brussels, Ghent, Hasselt, Leuven, Kortrijk and Budapest, the community also includes a presence in New York. As of 2017, Start it @KBC has been a member of the Global Accelerator Network (GAN), a select network of 120 global accelerator programmes, offering extra opportunities for start-ups on the international stage and up to 1 million dollars’ worth of exclusive advantages from technology partners.

Via the Start it @KBC’s Corporate Incubation Program, start-up teams within large companies have also been able to transform innovative ideas into fully-fledged businesses under the guidance of Start it @KBC. 

Start it @KBC began in 2014 as a partnership between AccentureCronos GroepFlanders DCimecjoynKBCMobile VikingsTelenet Kickstart, University of Antwerp and local academic partners. 

Start-ups can apply to the programme at any time via the website The selected founders are then invited to pitch their idea to a professional jury at two pitch events per year, after which a new batch of start-ups begin their entrepreneurial journey at Start it @KBC. 

For more information:
For Start it @KBC logos and images:
Press kit Start it @KBC

Start it @KBC
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