BESIX Group is well aware that innovation, especially open innovation, is now a strategic issue. By creating its Accelerator, the Belgian Group has taken a new step towards greater openness and diversification, both upstream and downstream of the construction process itself.
The Accelerator began life as the internal innovation programme ‘Unleash’. With the all-round enthusiasm this ‘unleashed’, and the quality of ideas fed back from employees on the ground, BESIX teams decided to come up with an offer that better matches its own ecosystem.
“BESIX Start-Ups Accelerator is a global accelerator aimed mainly at mature start-ups in the ‘Construction Technology’ (ConTech) and ‘Property Technology’ (PropTech) industries seeking sales opportunities and faster growth”, explains Jérôme Constant, Start-Ups Accelerator Manager. “They may operate in a variety of sectors such as the circular economy and sustainability, construction 4.0, Digital Transformation, energy and treatment (air, waste, water), mobility and infrastructure, new construction materials, real estate, spatial planning, and well-being & safety at work.”
Being aimed at both the ConTech and PropTech industries, the BESIX Start-Ups Accelerator is the first of its kind in Belgium, one of only a handful in the rest of the world.
BESIX Group will choose around ten mature start-ups each year: each will receive a tailored programme to help to boost their growth. BESIX will provide both its own and external industry experts to assess the feasibility of their projects. BESIX will also share its own address book of clients and partners. Financial support will potentially be available, where this is in their mutual interest. Due to its wide industry and geographic reach, BESIX can also set up field tests quickly: this is often a realistic scale of testing for start-ups.
Rik Vandenberghe, CEO of BESIX Group, sums it all up: “People often believe our sector is slow to innovate, and works the same way it did fifty years ago. That's just not true! Our start-up accelerator aims to make BESIX’s knowledge and experience available to mature start-ups, and provide them with practical assistance for testing or finalising their concept. In time, they may become reliable economic partners of ours. If we work together, we can reinvent the construction industry ecosystem and excel in creating sustainable solutions for a better world.”
Mature start-ups based in the whole Europe or in any of the 22 countries where BESIX Group operates can sign up for the accelerator at any time at innovation.besix.com. The support programme can last for up to 12 months. It is entirely free of charge and totally tailor made. The first set of selected start-ups will meet in Brussels, Belgium in November 2018.