VITO places great importance on the valorisation of new technologies that can accelerate the transition to a more sustainable world. Young companies focusing on sustainability in their concepts often need support to develop and launch their ideas. With the annual VITO4STARTERS pitch competition, VITO aims to give these young start-ups a push in the right direction. The winner of the interactive competition will receive a support package worth 25,000 euros, including technological support, a proof-of-concept, and access to VITO's expertise, state-of-the-art infrastructure, and network. The 2024 competition aligns the ambitions of start-ups with VITO technologies in the field of circularity, energy, food, and mobility. Registration is open until 19 January 2024.

The VITO4STARTERS competition supports young entrepreneurs with sustainable projects. The final of this interactive pitch competition will take place during the Flanders Technology & Innovation Festival on 19 March 2024, in Hasselt. The winning start-up will receive substantial support from VITO worth 25,000 euros. Moreover, even after the competition, there are various opportunities for further collaboration. For example, VITO has several technologies with great potential and its own investment fund – the Clean Vision Invest fund. The winner of VITO4STARTERS will undergo an individual coaching programme with a project plan and timeline tailored to the start-up's needs.

Who can apply for VITO4STARTERS?

The annual pitch competition VITO4STARTERS is open to all start-ups with a project or concept focusing on sustainability. This includes initiatives to make materials or processes circular, ideas to reduce CO2 emissions or water consumption, and new systems for intelligent or efficient energy use. This year's focus themes are food, mobility, and urban culture, but any idea or initiative facilitating the transition to a sustainable society is eligible.

Candidates can apply until 19 January through the website. The selection process consists of two rounds. In the first round, start-ups are selected based on their submitted pitch (i.e., video and pitch deck) and possibly additional online intake interviews. In the second round, the finalists pitch live at the Flanders Technology & Innovation Festival on 19 March in Hasselt. A professional jury will assess the ten best participants, and the winner will be announced at the event.

Uze, the 2023 winner

The VITO4STARTERS prize for 2023 went to the Antwerp-based Uze. This sustainable start-up conceived and developed a flexible and mobile fast-charging service for electric vehicles in urban environments. 'With the additional support from VITO, we want to further increase the charging speed of our mobile fast chargers, but also reduce the weight and size of the batteries. VITO's battery testing lab has a wealth of knowledge, not only in battery technology but also in certification, safety requirements, and other regulations.'