Brussels is quickly establishing itself as a hotspot for innovative projects and start-ups in medical technology. The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) provides the funding, while hub.brussels is the driving force behind the MedTech Accelerator®. Sophie Liénart, coordinator of the lifetech.brussels cluster, explains.
What is the purpose of the MedTech Accelerator®?
Sophie: “The MedTech Accelerator® is an acceleration program for projects and start-ups active in the sector of medical technologies. It started in 2016, when we noticed that many entrepreneurs had the same questions. In response to this, we launched a program tailored to the sector. The MedTech Accelerator® has Brussels as its base of operations because, as a European capital, we have extensive scientific and academic potential. We also have many interesting partnerships with hospitals. In addition, the dense concentration of universities (medical, engineering, R&D), European players and hospitals further ensures that candidates can quickly test and validate their solutions. This offers the necessary scientific legitimacy, which is the ideal basis for further development.”
How does the accelerator program work?
Sophie: “We focus on two profiles. One is entrepreneurs in the project phase. The other is those with an existing start-up. Candidates enroll in a six-month program. During that time, they can rely on coaching, inspiring company visits and sessions with former candidates who enthusiastically share their experiences and best practices. After six months in the MedTech Accelerator®, program participants get the chance to pitch their project to a multidisciplinary panel of experts, investors and journalists.”
Does the program result in more concrete chances and opportunities for the candidates?
Sophie: “Absolutely! Just the meet & greet with industry professionals alone is a golden opportunity for our candidates. During the six-month period, they are given 3 opportunities to get to know key figures or companies within the sector – who are otherwise difficult to reach. They then have 15 minutes to win over executives from the hospital sector and medical industry with their concept or product.”