Fit 4 Start Is Looking For ICT And Space Startups

Photo par Marion Dessard

Luxinnovation launches a call for applications until 15 April dedicated to innovative ICT and space startups. 15 startups will be selected for the next edition of the startup acceleration program starting mid-June 2021.

Fit 4 Start, the Ministry of the Economy’s startup acceleration program, managed by Luxinnovation, launched its 11th call for applications on 15 March. The application deadline is 15 April 2021 5pm.

“In general, we are targeting innovative, tech and data-driven startups and early scaleups operating in Luxembourg’s strategic priority fields. This edition is open to local and international startups in the ICT and space technology sectors,” explains Stéphanie Silvestri, Senior Advisor – Start-up Acceleration at Luxinnovation, Luxembourg’s national innovation agency.

15 startups will be selected for this edition: 10 in ICT and 5 in space.

The announcement of pre-selected startups is scheduled for the 26 April. “Pre-selected startups will pitch online during the week of 17 May,” details Sven Baltes, Advisor – Startup Acceleration at Luxinnovation. “The names of the winners will be announced around 27 May”. The program will start in mid-June.

Regarding the composition of the jury, Stéphanie Silvestri says: “We still have a few vacant positions. There will be a mix of different people from the investor and VC spheres, entrepreneurs including successful Fit 4 Start alumni, as well as industry experts. We put a lot of emphasis on the diversity of backgrounds and experience.”

“The startups that participated in the first 10 editions have raised more than €15.6 million from private investors.”

Tailormade coaching

The selected startups will benefit from a 20-week program, including group as well as one-to-one coaching sessions. “Prior to coaching, we will dedicate time to determine each participant’s needs in order to provide a more tailor-made approach,” explains Sven Baltes. “During the program, the startups also receive soft-landing support to help them explore the Luxembourg ecosystem and guidance in their incorporation process in Luxembourg.”

Because of COVID-19, coaching will be remote until further notice from the government. “We truly hope that we can switch to in-person coaching at some point during the program,” Stéphanie Silvestri says.

Startups can choose to be hosted for free during the duration of the program in Fit 4 Start’s partner incubators Technoport or Luxembourg-City incubator. They will also receive a grant up to €150,000 by the Ministry of the Economy.

Moreover, Luxinnovation will offer tailored support to innovative ventures. It will help startups define their business model, business plan and pitch deck, and identify suitable state-aid instruments in line with their individual needs and will accelerate high potential ventures via the flagship accelerator Fit 4 Start.

To apply for Fit 4 Start, startups must have an innovation-oriented project, be younger than five years, and have a team of two people minimum (no nationality constraint), with at least one being dedicated full time when participating in Fit 4 Start.

Launched in 2015 by the Ministry of the Economy and managed by Luxinnovation with the support of Technoport and the Luxembourg-City Incubator, Fit 4 Start has since then registered 1,800 applications.

During the 10th edition, 476 startups from 60 countries responded to a call for applications. Over the 10 editions, 98 startups have participated in the program and 56 have graduated so far.

The startups that participated in the first 10 editions have raised more than €15.6 million from private investors.

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