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KBC wants to make Belgium a 'Mecca for govtech'

22:02 02/08/2018

Start it @KBC, the start-up incubator based in Antwerp, has launched an international call for govtech start-ups. The group wants to make Belgium the Mecca for this fairly young discipline.

Govtech refers to businesses that guide various governmental bodies into the digital age. In the US, there are several govtech start-ups, but it is still largely undeveloped territory in Europe.

“Rapid technological progress presents governments – locally, national and international – with enormous challenges,” says Lode Uytterschaut, founder and CEO of Start it @KBC. “But their size and structure often stand in the way of innovation; they are not agile enough to respond to the evolution that society is undergoing around them.”

Start-ups, he continues, can play an important role in supporting these governments. “Think about CitizenLab here, a start-up from one of the very first Start it @KBC pitch waves; it is already helping dozens of municipalities to increase the involvement of their citizens through digital channels.”

Start it @KBC launched four years ago and has become Belgium’s largest start-up accelerator, providing mentorship to new entrepreneurs by helping them create business models, acquire funding and develop technologies.

The international call for govtech applicants is being launched through, among other outlets, the Global Accelerator Network, the world’s largest network of business incubators, of which Start it @KBC is a member.

“London is known worldwide for fintech and mediatech, Israel for hardware, Boston for medtech,” says the group’s managing director Anna Thomlinson. “Belgium has everything it takes to become the place to be for govtech.”

Start-ups interested in applying for a spot in Start it @KBC’s govtech programme apply via the website like any other start-up. The deadline for the next round of entries is 18 September.

Photo: Getty Images

Written by Flanders Today