Acceleration: From Innovative Ideas to Market Ready

Wondering what makes an ICT hotspot? While much of the EU still struggles after the financial crash, digital technologies thrive in some regions. Take a look at Munich, London, Paris or smaller cities such as Darmstadt. Europe’s ICT activity spans 34 regions across 12 countries. People, companies and money are pouring into them like never before.

During this session we will zoom in on exactly those 3 elements people, companies and money and explore the ingredients to build successful ICT hotspots

  • we will share existing cases of innovation eco-systems, creative hubs, industry clusters, use cases of private public partnerships that connect people, mobilize tech entrepreneurs and encourage entrepreneurship and innovation
  • we will discuss how to incubate, support and accelerate new businesses in Europe, how to support them to flourish in the EU and to achieve market success worldwide. We will share best practices for incubation and acceleration and we will talk about the landscape of accelerators in Europe
  • last but not least we will bring concrete ideas on how to impact the willingness to invest in Europe and how to overcome the short supply of venture capital in Europe.

This session aims to formulate answers to the following questions

  • What are the key ingredients and values for Europe to become a global leader in technology?
  • What are the real drivers for digital success: willingness to invest, an open mindset for innovation, good planning, an eye for talent, or something else?
  • How can we mobilise young entrepreneurs and innovators?
  • How should we create innovation ecosystems in Europe?
  • How can we generate new businesses and support them to flourish in the EU and globally?
  • What is the ideal mix of academic institutions, creative cultural environments and business finance for innovation and ICT hotspots to be consistently successful?

Detailed Workshop Outline

14:00 – 14:05 Setting the Scene (Ingrid Willems)

14:05 – 14:40 Part I – CONNECT PEOPLE

Session 1 – Smart Urban Development
Veera Mustonen (Forum Virium) will present Fiksu Kalasatama, a smart urban development project in Helsinki that brings together research, development and innovation activities of businesses in building innovative city service. Fiksu Kalasatama is an excellent show case of how ideas are developed, tested and launched together with the inhabitants and those working in the area.

Session 2 – Building (startup) ecosystems
Omar Mohout (Sirris) will present concrete tactics and best practices of developing vibrant startup ecosystems. He will share initatives that have proven succes on a local city level as well as the story of #BeTech and how the Belgian startup community has solidified in the past 18 months.

14:40 – 14:45 Intro Part II (Ingrid Willems)


Session 1 – Corporate Innovation
Giuseppe Viglialoro (Cisco Systems) will demonstrate the implementation of ICT innovation in new markets, using the FP7 Grid4EU project as an example. He will share how this experience has revolutionized both people and things within Cisco and how this ICT innovation blueprint can accelerate ICT development in Europe.

Session 2 – Accelerator landscape in Europe
Alex Farcet (Startupbootcamp) will share best practices for incubation and acceleration, how to help startups thrive in Europe and gain traction globally. He will especially elaborate on the importance of access to an international network of the industry partners, investors and mentors.

15:20 – 15:25 Intro Part II (Ingrid Willems)

15:25 – 15:40 Part II – WILLINGNESS TO INVEST

Wim DeWaele (iMinds) will present his analysis on entrepreneurship in Europe, the success factors of the world’s top 25 startup ecosystems, his thoughts on the attractiveness of Europe for investors and venture capitalists. Wim De Waele will end this session on acceleration with a strong statement on the rationale behind lack of capital supply to European startups, some concrete recommendations towards the tech entrepreneur & a call to action to investors to invest in European startups!

15:40 – 15:55 Pannel Discussion / Q&A

15:55 – 16:00 Wrap up

Session speakers

Ingrid Willems
Ingrid WillemsEntrepeneur in Residence at iMinds
Ingrid’s main responsibility is the FIWARE acceleration program, in which she enables business & technology innovation for starters and SMEs.

Ingrid holds a Master in Industrial Sciences and she obtained an MBA from the University of Augsburg (Germany) in collaboration with the Katz Business School.

She started her professional career at Siemens in Munich, as a Software Engineer. Ingrid developed a passion for building & developing online businesses as CMO at Wolters Kluwer Transport Services and later on as COO of Immoweb. In 2012, Ingrid founded her own marketing consultancy company and launched DataScouts in 2014.

Ingrid joined iMinds in 2014 as Entrepreneur in Residence. She is in charge of the FIWARE acceleration program in which she enables business & technology innovation for starters and SMEs. She maintains relationships with the European consortium partners as well as the European Commission. Ingrid and the FIWARE team are responsible for building and maintaining relationships with organizations providing business support to SMEs in Belgium.

Alex Farcet
Alex FarcetStartup Institute
Alex is the co-founder and Managing Director of Startupbootcamp, a global startup accelerator with programs in Amsterdam, Berlin, Copenhagen, Eindhoven, London, Istanbul, Tel Aviv and San Francisco.

Alex obtained his MBA in Operations Research & International Business from the Tulane University, A.B. Freeman School of Business.

He began his professional career as a marketing intern at DHL & Deutsche Post and continued to ascend the ranks to Head of Operations. During his 13 years at the company, he was placed in offices across Europe and Asia.

After some major life event, Alex decided that he should do what he loves: be an entrepreneur and work with startups. In 2009 Startupbootcamp was born.

Through Startupbootcamp Alex works closely with startups to encourage growth and success. He introduces these startups to partners, investors and mentors in addition to providing funding, business model validation and co-working spaces. In five years his company has grown to become the largest startup accelerator in Europe.

Omar Mohout
Omar MohoutGrowth Engineer at Sirris
Omar is the Growth Engineer for Sirris, a non-profit organization that helps companies increase their competitiveness through technological innovation.

Omar began his professional career as Director of Global Customer Service & SMS at Orbit. He has since migrated from the corporate world to the startup scene.

As a well-known and well-respected member of the Belgian startup community, Omar serves as a mentor for top-notch accelerators such as IdeaLabs and Startatholon, a juror for multiple programs including iMinds/iStart, EU FIWARE and Startup Weekend, Co-founder of Leuven Startup Community, #BeTech Community and Circle of Growth, Board Member at, and the Belgian Ambassador for World Startup Report. In addition to these roles, Omar speaks frequently at conferences across Europe and publishes articles featuring the tech and startup communities in Belgium.

Wim De Waele
Wim De WaeleCEO iMinds
Wim De Waele obtained his master degrees in Economic Sciences and Computer Sciences at the University of Ghent in 1987. He started his career as scientific researcher at the university in the area of artificial intelligence in industrial applications. He continued this work at Siemens R&D in Belgium and München.

After that, he built the European consulting organization of the Canadian software company Numetrix, specialized in planning software for the consumer packaged goods and process industry. In 1994 Wim joined i2 Technologies as Services Director for Europe, where he also built the European organization from zero. He then was promoted to vice-president of consumer goods and retail, and moved to i2 headquarters in Dallas. Upon his return to Europe in 2001, he became Chief Technology Officer of the distressed Real Software Group. After the sale of the company to a private equity group, he left Real Software for iMinds on august 1st, 2004.

Wim De Waele is also involved in public initiatives such as the new media center De Krook in Ghent, and is on the board of various start-up companies. He is a member of the investment committee of the early-stage fund SOFI and is active as a business angel. He lives in his town of birth, Ghent, in Belgium. In his spare time he enjoys music, travel and culinary experiments that he carries out himself.

Veera Mustonen
Veera MustonenHead of Smart Kalasatama at Forum Virium Helsinki
Ms. Mustonen leads Helsinki’s Kalasatama smart district innovation programme. She has 18 years work background in expert and leadership roles of which 15 years in the ICT industry. Particularly well she knows telecom industry and mobility having worked 10 years in Nokia, latest as a senior manager of the smartphones portfolio planning. Ms. Mustonen has also wide experience in user-centered innovation and business development, which she now applies in the Smart City context.
Giuseppe Viglialoro
Giuseppe ViglialoroGlobal Manager in IoE Connected Industry Energy Group
Giuseppe holds a degree in Electronics and Telecommunications Engineering from University “La Sapienza” of Rome and a Master in Technology Innovation from Milan Polytechnic.

After serving in the Italian Navy as Radar Officer, he worked for FIAR (a Finmeccanica Company) as Program Manager of several projects in Avionics, when he also experienced a long expatriate stay in Singapore.

Then, he held Program Manager position in Marconi Communications, managing Telecommunication projects for the Italian national backbone.

Giuseppe joined Cisco Systems in 2000 and since then he has always been in Advanced Services: Giuseppe is currently Global Manager in IoE Connected Industry Energy Group.

In the last four years, Giuseppe has also been Cisco Authorised Responsible (LEAR) for Grid4EU, an FP7 project within Energy Call.

He is a passionate triathlete.