imec: New programme to kick-start US and Asian scale-ups in Europe


Imec, a renowned research and innovation hub in nanoelectronics and digital technologies, joins forces with, a dynamic global ecosystem aimed at boosting scale-ups’ growth for a new programme to help international scale-ups break into the European market, also with the support of Flanders Investment & Trade (FIT).

US and Asian scale-ups often struggle to enter the European market because they do not have access to a local network, lack market knowledge, or are unfamiliar with EU business culture and legal requirements. Imec.scale-ups addresses these common pitfalls with an intensive 8-week programme including mentoring, coaching, workshops, networking opportunities, practical support, etc. The aim of the programme is to help foreign scale-ups find their way in the local ecosystem, e.g. by offering specialised workshops on EU business culture, tax and legal requirements, privacy regulations, local funding opportunities, etc.

Sven De Cleyn (imec.istart programme manager): “The programme builds on our expertise with imec.istart, our start-up business accelerator, and by collaborating with the support of FIT we can offer a programme that is really tailored to the needs of scale-ups interested in expanding into Europe. One of the hardest aspects of internationalising your company is building your network abroad. By participating in this programme, the scale-ups become part of imec’s ecosystem and get easy access to a wide network of potential partners, investors, or clients. We also have valuable in-house tech expertise in a variety of fields, from chip miniaturisation, security technologies, artificial intelligence, to blockchain algorithms. If there is a match between the scale-up’s needs and imec’s technological expertise, we can also help them to further enhance their competitive edge.”

Jurgen Ingels (founder of “By combining the technical expertise of imec and the knowledge we’ve amassed & scale-up network we are building that is now 45 scale-ups strong just after 9 months of establishment, this partnership is a tangible example of the collaboration we need to orchestrate to put Europe on the map as a scale-up epicenter. Welcoming international scale-ups to Europe will not only make it easy for these companies to scale, it also enriches the European scale-up network. We are looking forward to starting this programme.”

Though the programme is located in Flanders, its scope is much broader with Flanders as an initial test market and gateway to the rest of Europe. Claire Tillekaerts, CEO Flanders Investment & Trade (FIT): “Flanders is a small region, but it has strategic advantages that make it an excellent home base to break into the European market. Attracting international tech scale-ups – the main objective of this programme – is important as it enriches our region with new ideas, technologies, mentality and talent. FIT plays a crucial role in attracting and assisting these foreign investors. Thanks to our strong local network in the 5 Flemish provinces and in 100 offices across 70 main economic centres worldwide FIT can actively support this program by sharing knowledge and contacts.”

Imec.scale-ups welcomes ambitious tech scale-ups from across the world who have already gained sufficient traction in their home market and are ready to tackle the European market. The first cohort of the programme will be launched in the spring of 2019.

Caption: imec wants to facilitate expansion into Europe for companies from American and Asia (photo: imec)

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