Get ready to speed up !!
First things first!!
We run two applications calls per year, the first closes in February and the second closes in September. We have not yet opened the next application call. However, you can read all about the programme and what to consider if you are thinking of applying, below...
You probably have lots of questions about how we can help your business. That's why we organize info sessions online in September where you can come & meet us (online, for the moment) and other applicants to get loads of info on the programme. We have already gathered some questions in an FAQ section, all the way at the bottom.
The deadline for our next call for applications will be September 20 2021.
- Start it @KBC is the only no strings attached accelerator: we DO NOT ask equity, money or EXPECT you to become a customer of our partners.
- Get bigger and BIGGER:
- Grow your NETWORK: Start it @KBC represents the #1 Belgian ecosystem of startups, scale-ups mentors and experts.
- Grow your BUSINESS: Get guidance for funding, get connected to business partners and linked with our mentors and experts.
- Grow your SKILLS: Get smarter at the Start it @KBC Academy we co-create with our startups
- Grow your MARKET: Get moving thanks to our international partners, our hubs in New York and Budapest and on all continents through the GAN membership.
- Personalized coaching: We allocate a member of our team to you to advise you, to match you to our volunteer mentors and partners, and to guide you through which events, workshops and opportunities to promote your business are most relevant to you
- Boost that bootstrapping: You can use our co-working spaces in Antwerp, Brussels, Budapest, Ghent, Gyor, Hasselt, Kortrijk, Leuven, New York & Prague + get over $1 mio of perks through GAN.
Who should apply?
We're looking for:
- enthusiastic & open minded founders
- founders in all shades, genders, ages and nationalities
- businesses of all sectors and all startup to growing phases
Start it @KBC is a founder centric accelerator, tailored to the needs of motivated, business minded founders.
Please apply if you:
- have developed or are developing innovative products or services
- have the ambition, potential and drive to scale your business
We're there for all startups in all stages (ideation through to scale) and industries, as long as your business contributes positively to humanity and the world.
Want to know more?
- Watch this video to meet the Start it @KBC team.
- Get inspired by this article on how to deliver the perfect digital pitch.
- Read this WisdomWednesday post on How to launch a startup.
Start it @KBC journey & dates?
If you are applying to Start it @KBC, there are a couple of dates you need to put in your calendar:
- September: Info sessions over a few evenings for you to learn more about the programme and meet the team
- September 20, midnight: deadline application round Start it @KBC
- September 21 - September 30: review team reads applications and does selection for pitchdays
- October 1 - October 3: invitations for pitchdays are sent
- October 13 & 14: digital pitchdays Start it @KBC (if your application gets selected)
- October 21 & October 22: bootcamp Start it @KBC - presence is mandatory
- 1 day per month mandatory Academy Day: more details once you are selected
- After 3 & 9 months there's a mandatory boardroom: more details once you are selected
- After 6 months there's a check in moment: more details once you are selected
- After 12 months: you become one of our alumni
- Q: Is having an established company mandatory for application?
A: No, this is not necessary.
- Q: Do you also help in finding co-founders or technical counterparts?
A: This usually happens organically. Be present in the hubs, attend our workshops or events and talk to the other entrepreneurs and then sometimes the magic happens...
- Q: I am from India (Belarus, Spain, Nigeria, the US, ...). I am eligible for the programme?
A: Since our programme is fully digital (at the moment) there is no reason why you would not be eligible.
Note however that our expertise is in business law and conditions in Belgium and other nearby (EU) markets. We might not know the best terms for e.g. fundraising, hiring staff, cultural selling techniques for your country and market.
- Q: Is there any technical support ? Concretely if we need back-end developer for a specific issue, do you have in-house this kind of support ?
A: We don't have any in-house support for this but we will surely be able to find you someone in our network (partners, mentors, broader network,...) to help you with your issues.
- Q: Once in the programme: is there any “gating”: needing to achieve a certain result in order to stay in the program? Or in = in?
A: On 3 fixed moments in the programme, we will ask you to give us an official update on your business. If we see that you are not making any progress despite our (or your mentor's) advice or that you are not at all engaged in the programme (missing workshops, missing appointments with your business coach,...), we might stop the collaboration.
- Q: What is the difference between Start it @KBC and other accelerators in Belgium?
A: We're the only no-strings-attached startup accelerator on the Belgian market. Startups pay us no money or equity. Nothing. But: we will expect you to pay it forward, to be dedicated, to learn and to show an open mind.
- Q: What are your funding possibilities?
A: Being the only no-strings-attached startup accelerator on the Belgian market also means that we don't invest in 'our' startups ourselves. We will however show you how to get funding and how to get the right fin mix for your specific needs.
- Q: What about confidentiality if we share our business idea?
A: The Start it @KBC team, our partners, our mentors and everybody present in a jury or board room, has signed an NDA. Your secrets are safe with us!
- Q: I still have a full-time job. Is it possible to combine this with the programme. Or what is your advice?
A: It is possible but know that it is going to be difficult. We want you to be committed to your startup 200% and at the first official update, we will expect you to have reached a certain level. And then you will have to jump...
- Q: Do you propose an accountant when we launch the project? Do you offer legal advise?
A: We have a lot of partners that we can refer you to for all your questions (accounting, legal, financial,...). Check out the partner page on our website for more info. Important: it is not obligatory to become a client/customer of one of our partners.
- Q: What do you mean with INNOVATIVE?
A: Innovative for us means that there is something that will give you a cutting edge. This something can be a design, business model, technology, or other business asset that is not used in Belgium for that specific market, audience, problem, solution.
- It can be an innovation in context of product, technology, business model
- A development of products, services, (production) processes, new to your market;
- A new technology or methodology first applied in your market.
- A new business model as the first to be applied in your market.
It has to be new enough to have the potential to kill competition if played right, or at least conquer a chunk of the market. The startup may have to apply an iterative process of validation, building, testing.
- Q: If I get selected, how much time do I get to pitch?
A: You get 3 minutes for your presentation, which is then followed by a 10 minute question round from the jury.
- Q: Can I use slides during my pitch?
A: No, you can't. We want to get to know your company, but we also want to get to know the person behind the company, to feel your energy, your enthusiasm, your drive,... We can't get that from slides. Plus, looking at aprox. 200 pitch decks gets a bit boring after a while, to be honest...
- Q: When will I know whether or not I am selected for your Pitchdays?
A: Deadline for applications is September 20th at midnight. From the 21st of September a review team will start reading all the files and scoring them on 'our' criteria (completeness of file, innovation, scaleability, "programme fit", team,...). The review team will select a maximum of 200 people to be invited for Pitchday. In the week of October 1st, you can expect an invitation or a feedback mail from us.
If you have any questions not answered here, you can bring them to the Info Sessions or email us via firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also ask us via this email address if you would like to be notified when the next application round is open.