The best start-up incubator in the world is Belgian


IMEC, the Belgian flagship in the field of nanotechnology and electronic chips, has taken the lead in the world ranking of start-up incubators and accelerators with its imec.istart programme.

Every two years, UBI Global, a Swedish research firm, measures the performance of several hundred start-up and spin-off incubators and accelerators in over 90 countries. For this latest edition, 1,895 universities or companies (private or public) were involved and finally 109 programmes were selected for evaluation using some 50 criteria grouped into three main pillars: the impact of these programmes on their ecosystem, the performance of the programme and the performance of the start-ups in the portfolio. And, in the category of university accelerators, IMEC with its imec.istart programme finished at the top of the world ranking.

The Belgian research and innovation centre founded under the impetus of the KU Leuven has managed in a few decades to position itself as a world reference in nanotechnologies and digital technologies. IMEC now has over 5,500 employees and researchers worldwide. In the global semiconductor industry, IMEC has been the preferred business partner of most of the tech giants for several years.

Since its launch in 2011, the imec.istart programme has already supported over 290 start-ups in becoming successful companies in a wide range of sectors. And in the last five years, 27 new high-tech companies have been created based on IMEC's core innovations.

This is the first time in the history of the accelerator rankings that the world's number one is from a "small" country like Belgium.