When does technology become a product?
The incubation of a project is a fundamental stage in the value chain when forming a technology enterprise. It makes it possible to identify potential applications of the technology, to get to know target market(s), to manage R&D whilst taking market needs into consideration, and to carry out a technical and commercial proof of concept, etc. with a vew to confirming the business model and devising the business plan. This incubation phase is also an ideal time to put together or complete the team who will be in charge of implementing the business plan and to appoint an experienced board of directors.
UCL gave Sopartec the responsibility of accompanying the project initiator during the incubation process leading to the formation of a spin-off enterprise. At the outset of the project an accompanying committee is created consisting of the project initiators (researcher(s), laboratory directors), business mentors and a representative of the Incubation Cell of Sopartec/ADRE. The project leader convenes the accompanying committee at regular intervals and sends out an agenda prior to each meeting. After each meeting he writes up a report which is circulated to the committee members. The accompanying procedure for projects involving the formation of spin-off companies is thus based on the workings of a company board.
Correct incubation of a project to form a technology enterprise requires financial resources. Now, it is not easy to find financing which makes it possible to bridge the gap between university research finance and forming a company. Sopartec cooperates with ADRE in helping the project initiator to identify the sources of finance available that are best adapted to this stage of advancing the project.
Support programmes for the creation of spin-off companies
The Walloon Region (First Spin-off) and the Brussels Region (Spin Off in Brussels) have introduced a financial support programme for researchers who wish to study the technical and economic feasibility of promoting their research results by creating a spin-off company. The support covers the salary of one person for 2 years (with the possibility of renewal), expenses for running the university laboratory as well as consultancy and training expenses. Each year the request forms for support are issued by ADRE to the academic community. ADRE co-manages these files with public Institutions. For more information about these programmes, please contact us or follow the link to:
- Programme First Spin-Off de la Région wallonne
- Programme Spin-Off in Brussels de la Région bruxelloise
Proof of concept funds
The Walloon Region specifically finances the carrying out of proof of concept. Managed by UCL, this fund may be used to cover certain expenses related to the preparation of a prototype, trials for validation, technical expertise, etc. for projects that are sufficiently advanced in the incubation phase and which follow on from research projects already financed by the Walloon Region. To find out more about the eligibility criteria and the terms for application for proof of concept funds, please contact ADRE.
The Walloon Region supports young entrepreneurs in their enterprise creation projects by allocating a pre-start-up grant. This grant of € 12,500 allows them to finance the costs linked to a feasibility study for the project, consultancy and set-up (study and set-up of the project, consultancy, intellectual property, documentation, equipment needed to set up the project, etc.)
Sopartec is authorised by the Walloon Region to supervise the project initiators in drafting the application and developing the project. For more information on pre-start-up grants please contact us or follow the link: