HighTechXL is pleased to announce our partnership in a new cross-border startup initiative.
EMR START-UP Project is a new regional innovation effort powered by Interreg EMR. EMR stands for Euregio Meuse–Rhine, and Interreg EMR will create a foundation for innovators in the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium to collaborate across borders.
EMR START-UP Project is about “broadening your horizons,” said Bjorn Koopmans, the Belgium-based project leader and lead partner of accelerator Greenville, based in Houthalen-Helchteren near Hasselt, Belgium.
“Too often we think the horizon stops at the border. In fact, the world is beginning just across that border.”
The EMR START-UP Project, which began in March, brings together eight organizations – startup incubators, accelerators and business support organizations – from the region where Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany come together.
(Meuse-Rhine Euregio is one of the oldest Euroregions in the European Union, an alliance between three countries and five partner regions dating back to 1976.)
The goal of the new project is cross-pollination – to create a regional startup program that ultimately will link as many as 200 startups from the three countries, said Koopmans.
Being part of a network of incubators will enable HighTechXL to participate in the effort to align and professionalize startup programs to foster an innovative Euregional ecosystem.
“The incubators have the startups. What we’re trying to do is build a network to give more support ... a network you can leverage to create this cross-border cooperation" said Christina Cordova de Kok, HighTechXL corporate program manager.
The pilot phase starts at end of this year. The official program launches in January 2019.
By the end of 2019, at least 150 international startups are projected to participate in a joint program
One of the main goals is to enlarge the partnerships. “The more incubators we have, the more critical mass we have,” Koopsmans said. “The more critical mass, the more we can offer startups … more possibilities, business opportunities, more customers, more investors.”
• starting a business
• doing business with other startups
• reaching out to consumers
• attracting investors across borders
The project has received funding of € 3,53 million, of which € 1.62 million is co-financed by Interreg EMR, which in turn is funded by the European Union.
At this foundational stage, the focus is on exchanging talent and expertise, Koopmans said. The goal is for the other incubators to learn from HTXL and the established accelerators to establish and organize programs.
EMR Startup START-UP Project will bring together ideas on how to increase innovation, business and investor activity. It will also give startups new practical resources, contacts and options across the region.
“If I in Belgium have a customer in Germany, it would be nice to have a German partner to help us discover that market,” Koopmans said. “Maybe your biggest client is in Germany. You can go to the incubator in Germany, have a place to work."
The Interreg EMR project START-UP Program runs from Feb. 2018 to Jan. 2021. By that time, the startup program should have a blueprint implemented in a self-sustaining model.
Greenville (Lead partner)