Boost for young entrepreneurs in Belgian healthcare sector

The Vlerick Healthcare Management Centre and the Caring Entrepreneurship Fund (CEF) are joining forces in their mission to give healthcare start-ups a boost. Vlerick achieves its aim by means of its ‘Accelerating your healthcare start-up’ programme. The CEF encourages entrepreneurship in the healthcare and wellbeing sectors by means of financial support, networking and advice. From now on, there will also be cross-pollination between the two initiatives.

The Caring Entrepreneurship Fund was set up in 2009 by Roch Doliveux, based on his belief that entrepreneurship plays a key role in a flourishing economy and that healthcare and wellbeing are important for the future of the welfare state. The CEF falls under the auspices of the King Baudouin Foundation, an independent foundation of public interest which seeks to change society for the better in various ways.

Anne-Catherine Chevalier, Managing Director of the Caring Entrepreneurship Fund, explains how it works: “To be eligible for support from the CEF, the start-ups in question must either be based in Belgium or trying to gain access to the Belgian market. We organise an application round twice a year. We select six potential companies from all the applications received. After the in-depth discussion of their case by our investment committee, we ultimately select 2 to 3 start-ups to support in each round. The support will either take the form of an interest-free loan or participation in the capital. Start-ups can also turn to us for advice, mentoring and access to networking.”

How will Vlerick be playing a role in this story from now on? “Thanks to our collaboration, we can now also offer one of the six selected teams the opportunity to participate in ‘Accelerating your healthcare start-up.” This programme is just one of the initiatives which Vlerick has introduced to encourage entrepreneurship in the healthcare sector. Participation in the boot camp is free but only six teams can take part in each edition, so interested parties must submit an application. The winners of a coveted entrance ticket are determined during a selection round on 21 June.

But it's a win-win situation for everyone, explains Anne Salenbien, Manager of the Vlerick Healthcare Management Centre: “We always end our ‘Accelerating your healthcare start-up’ with the participating start-ups pitching their idea to a jury. It's a good exercise, which teaches them how to adapt their pitch when they are approaching actual investors for financing once the programme comes to an end. The collaboration with the Caring Entrepreneurship Fund now means they have a representative on our jury panel. Depending on how well they perform during the pitch, a start-up team which is participating in our programme now also has a chance of being awarded a direct wild card that entitles them to have their case evaluated by the CEF's investment committee. The circle is therefore complete.”

Discover our expertise in healthcare and life sciences

Want to know more on what we can offer you on healthcare and life sciences? The Vlerick Healthcare Management Centre brings together leading actors including doctors, hospitals, life science companies, health payers and regulators on finding answers to the big challenges facing the sector.

Related news

  1. Prevention is better than cure

    Date: 18/05/2018
    Category: Programme news
    Tech entrepreneur Jelle Van De Velde and doctor Servaas Bingé got talking more than two years ago when Jelle wanted to walk the 10 Miles and visited Servaas for a preventive sports examination consultation. “The dashboard in your car tells you how things are looking at any given moment. Warning lights indicate problems with the engine, the oil pressure or the tyre pressure and let you know when maintenance is required,” says Jelle. “We wondered whether we could do something similar for the human body.” That was the beginning of their start-up, Emma Health, a digital platform for data-driven, personalised preventive healthcare. Our ‘Accelerating Your Healthcare Start-up’ programme gave their start-up a boost.
  2. Healthcare bootcamp brings self-testing a step closer

    Date: 25/01/2018
    Category: Programme news
    Would you like to test yourself for STDs at home? Monitor your own risk of developing diabetes or heart failure? It might sound like science fiction but if Bart Geers has anything to do with it, it will soon become reality. As the co-founder of Antelope Diagnostics, he attended our ‘Boost your healthcare start-up’ programme. This intensive bootcamp has taken his pitch to a higher level, ready to convince investors to come on board.
All articles