For start-ups with a technological project or idea focusing on sustainability, it is not easy to gain an immediate foothold in a competitive entrepreneurial world. With the interactive pitch competition VITO4STARTERS, VITO links the ambitions of start-ups to recognised VITO technology in various cleantech domains such as sustainable materials, processes and energy. For the first time, start-ups dealing with sustainable digital applications for the construction sector can also enter this interactive pitch competition.

With a support prize worth €25,000, VITO4STARTERS provides young entrepreneurs with a big push forward. We need young companies that contribute to sustainability, and VITO wants to help them with technical knowledge, a proof-of-concept, and/or access to the infrastructure of the knowledge center. This support goes far beyond a one-time commitment because even after the competition, VITO offers various possibilities for further cooperation. With Clean Vision Invest, VITO also has its own investment fund.

This annual pitch competition is aimed at all start-ups established in Flanders that are up to five years old and can present a project, a concept, or an idea that focuses on sustainability. This ranges from initiatives to make materials or processes circular, ideas to reduce CO2 emissions, consume less water, or new systems to use energy intelligently or efficiently to digital applications in the construction sector. Any idea or initiative that facilitates the transition to a sustainable society qualifies.

Candidates can register until June 1 via the VITO4STARTERS website. The selection process consists of two rounds. In the first round, candidates are selected based on a submitted pitch and possibly additional intake interviews. In the second round, the finalists get the opportunity to pitch their proposal at the Love Tomorrow Conference. The jury consists of experts from VITO, KBC start-it, and imec.istart.

MyGrid, the winner of 2022

Last year, MyGrid won from five other finalists. They presented a prototype of the ModuleOne, a powerful power bank that allows the citizen to choose what to do with their (own) energy. This can range from lowering their electricity bill to exchanging energy with friends and family. For Jan Wellens and Kristof Geerts, VITO4STARTERS was a unique opportunity. "There are many things where the knowledge and experience of VITO experts can help us move forward. Things like product testing and certification, particularly in terms of safety. And of course, VITO has a lot of knowledge through EnergyVille about batteries. In the long run, we may want to switch to cells produced in Europe as the current ones come from China. VITO can help with that too."

MyGrid during the pitch at the Love Tomorrow Conference 2022
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