Start it @KBC is a unique no-strings-attached startup accelerator supporting and promoting innovative and scalable entrepreneurship. As the largest startup ecosystem in Belgium representing around 1,000 coached startups, this rapidly growing community offers access to vast expertise, an enormous global network and state-of-the art work spaces.
A unique proposition
Start it @KBC was founded in 2014 by entrepreneurs Lode Uytterschaut, Katrien Dewijngaert and Patrick Van Loij with the support of KBC Bank, which provided its first co-working spaces. While it was not the first or last startup accelerator in Belgium, what made it stand out was its 100% founder centricity. The founders built the program from the bottom up together with the first startup batches and keep expanding it based on co-creation with their startup community. Participating startups owe absolutely nothing to Start it @KBC or its partners, making it the only no-strings-attached accelerator on the Belgian market. The only things asked of startups are dedication and an open mind, as well as a willingness to pay it forward.
As a non-profit organisation, Start it @KBC partners like Accenture, KBC, Start it X and many other partners that want to evolve their innovation strategy are not in it for the money, but for the shared mission of boosting innovation and entrepreneurship and making a positive impact on the economy and society in Belgium.
Startup founders begin their journey at Start it @KBC with an intensive, challenging one year acceleration program, built by startups for startups. Around 120 entrepreneurs join each year, going on to build up a trusted network of experts, mentors, investors and other founders. As part of the global GAN community of accelerators, Start it @KBC startups benefit from a wide range of opportunities and the possibility of scouting markets around the planet.
The value of community
The single most valuable thing Start it @KBC offers founders is its expansive network, which would take startups many years to build up on their own. The accelerator focuses on crosspollination not only between startups and scaleups, but also between investors, experienced mentors and experts. Over 200 partners and mentors representing a wide range of industries dedicate their time to advising startups, providing the precious perspective of those who have also been in the trenches.
Start it @KBC currently provides co-working space for its startups in six cities in Belgium and is expanding abroad to cities like Prague, Budapest, Gyor and New York. The business coach is the first point of contact for the startups, referring them to the right expert or mentor and providing a shoulder to cry on. Over the years Start it @KBC has evolved to further respond to what startup founders are looking for, as well as increasing their emphasis on supporting female founders. They were the first accelerator in Belgium to put in place special programs to boost female entrepreneurship, with the most impressive results.
No limits to your ambition
Start it @KBC welcomes startups from all industries, as long as they contribute positively to humanity and the world. It represents over 30 industries from sustainable transport (Streetwaves) to marketing (CityCubes), smart drones (Skyebase) to healthtech (Noman Technics), including many social entrepreneurs (Eight, Give a Day, Helpper) creating products and services to improve people’s lives. There are two pitch waves per year to attract and select new startups which the accelerator guides through the stages of ideation, building, going to market and scaling.
If you are developing innovative products or services and have the drive and potential to scale your business, Start it @KBC is there to open the door for you.