iStart Amongst Top-25 University Business Incubators Worldwide

Ghent – June 25, 2014. iStart, the start-up incubation program from the Flemish digital research center iMinds, has been selected as one of the best 25 University Business Incubators worldwide. The Swedish UBI Index ranks iMinds in 25th position, after screening more than 300 incubation programs from 67 countries.

First-time participation immediately results in 7th place on a European level

Today’s growing focus on entrepreneurship is translating to a sharp increase in the number of programs and organizations that support entrepreneurs. It is often difficult however for entrepreneurs to choose the initiative that best suits their needs. Sweden-based UBI Index has therefore developed an objective methodology for benchmarking incubators that are linked to universities.


The 2014 ranking – which was announced yesterday – comprises more than 300 incubators, including iMinds’ iStart incubation program. iStart gets an excellent score, and ranks amongst the top-25 incubators in the world. Moreover, its first-time participation immediately results in a 7th place on a European level.

Since 2011, the iStart program has been supporting start-ups with advice and guidance, including provision of seed capital and access to various facilities (i.e. business space and access to the iMinds network of partners). Since the program first started, more than 50 start-ups have already been supported – in spite of the strict selection criteria which make that merely 1 in 5 incubation requests actually gets accepted. Together, these start-ups have already resulted in more than 150 full-time jobs – in only 3 years time. Most of iMinds’ start-ups have paying customers, are growing (gradually) and have secured follow-up financing.

Dhruv Bhatli, co-founder of the UBI Index, recognizes the strength of the iStart program: “iMinds has an exceptional incubation program. It performs really well on our global benchmark, especially on access to funds and post-incubation performance indicators. This signifies that iMinds’ clients have better access to funds and a higher survival and growth rate than the global average. iMinds pays a lot of attention to its client companies and engages its ecosystem. It provides exceptional coaching and mentoring services to its clients in a supportive entrepreneurial environment.”

Sven De Cleyn, Incubation Programs Manager at iMinds: “This is great recognition for the work of the whole (entrepreneurship) team at iMinds, but especially shows the hard work and achievements of the entrepreneurs. Our good ranking shows that research institutions that provide support to start-ups, in addition to stimulating entrepreneurship amongst their own researchers, can achieve great results. Moreover, this proves once again that the start-up scene in Flanders starts to get international recognition. We’re doing well, and this should encourage us to do even better in the future.”

The UBI Index also includes sub-categories in their scoring. In two of these categories, the iStart program holds a promising chance of achieving a high ranking as well. These include, 'Top Young' incubators (incubators that have been active for 5 years or less) as well as the 'Top ICT’ incubators. These rankings will be announced later this year.


About iMinds


iMinds – the digital research center of Flanders, Belgium – combines the strength of its 850+ researchers at five Flemish universities to conduct strategic and applied research in areas such as ICT, Media and Health. Together with its research partners (companies, governments and non-profit organizations), iMinds translates digital know-how into concrete products and services. In addition, iMinds supports researchers, young entrepreneurs and start-ups in the successful market introduction of their ideas. More information: www.iminds.be

Contact: Sven De Cleyn, iMinds Incubation Programs Manager - sven.decleyn@iminds.be / +32 474 29 76 94 


About UBI Index

UBI Index is a thought leader in performance analyses of business incubators around the world. They help business incubators become more efficient and competitive through a comprehensive benchmark where more than 300 incubators in 67 countries participate. Based in Stockholm, Sweden, and with an international research team, UBI Index has successfully built the most reliable Global Top 25 ranking of University Business Incubators in the world.

Contact: Dhruv Bhatli, Co-founder, UBI Index - dhruv@ubiindex.com / +33 6 78 03 45 09
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