Cleantech start-up? Join Climate-KIC Accelerator!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Climate-KIC Accelerator?

Climate-KIC Accelerator is the world’s first real-life business school for promising cleantech entrepreneurs. In three stages the 18-month program works with start-ups to get them funded and ready to launch their products worldwide. We support start-ups that address climate change and shape the world’s next economy. Learn more about Accelerator.

Why should I enter Climate-KIC Accelerator? What is in it for me?

We are dedicated to accelerating your cleantech business. More than any other organization, we understand the complexities of innovations with a deep technology base. Along with intensive training and active coaching and you’ll receive a grant. In short: we help you commercialize your ideas and reduce the risk of failure.

What does Accelerator expect from me?

First of all, you need to have a breakthrough idea with a substantial impact on climate change. And of course you’re extremely motivated to achieve global success. We expect you to be committed to the program and invest substantial time in your start-up and the work you need to do.

When is the next Accelerator planned?

Contact us for the planning of the next Climate-KIC Accelerator in the Netherlands.

What is the deadline for submitting my idea?

Contact us for the next submission deadlines this year.

Do I need to apply for all 3 stages separately?

Every stage has its own acceptance criteria and a separate application round. Stage 1 is one of the prerequisites for entry into Stage 2, although it is not the only one. To enter Stage 2, you need to convince the Review Board once again that your venture needs to join the program.

Can I apply for stages 2 or 3 straight away?

No, we only accept applications for stage 1.

What if I don’t live in the Netherlands?

If you live outside of the Netherlands, you may need to move to the Netherlands for the duration of the stage and/or travel back and forth. This requires a major investment of your time, as we believe it is the only way for your company to accelerate quickly. And travel costs are not refunded. You may consider joining Accelerator in another country, like France, Germany, Switzerland or the UK.

Who can enter Accelerator?

Anyone who has the ambition to build a global company addressing climate change can enter. Whether you just have a solid business idea or you have already started: everyone with an impactful climate innovation is very welcome. Even if you think you know everything there is to know, we’d love to set you new challenges.

Am I the kind of entrepreneur you are looking for?

If you are into cleantech and want to build a fast-growing business with an impact on climate change, then yes, you might be who we’re looking for. Bear in mind though that however cool it is to have a start-up, we are not looking for lifestyle start-ups. Building a new business is hard and challenging work. We want you to be prepared for that.

How does Climate-KIC define cleantech?

There are many definitions of cleantech going around. So don’t worry too much about that, we do not intend to add our own. Just convince us that your proposal has a significant impact on climate change and has business potential.

My idea is basically still in the ‘on the back of a beermat’ stage, can I apply?

Take an honest look at our entry form. If you feel you need more time, join our next Accelerator round in a few months’ time. Or enter our Business Idea Competition first: www.cleanlaunchpad.eu.

I have already started a business with my idea, can I still enter Accelerator?

Yes, you certainly can. We are looking for cleantech entrepreneurs who are ready to accelerate their business. Startups with a Legal Entity must be established no longer than 2 years ago. However, if your turnover is over € 2 million, you will not be eligible for grants. All other benefits, however, will be open to you. And we expect you to have a dedicated team working fulltime on your idea.

I am also enrolled in another program and/or incentive scheme. Can I still join Accelerator?

Not all programs are alike and some may be combined with Accelerator. We do not encourage joining more than one program, however. Because we think that one single methodological set and your full dedication to one program is most beneficial.

What are the judging criteria?

We consider many different aspects of your business proposal. The main criteria, however, are:
International business potential and climate impact as well as personality & entrepreneurial talent.
You must have a co-founder in your team.
Startups with a Legal Entity must be established no longer than 2 years ago.

What happens to my idea when I apply, will it still be mine?

Your idea remains very much your own, no question about it. You retain full and exclusive ownership of and intellectual property rights to your innovation. Any idea you send in will only be used for the purpose of evaluating your application to Accelerator.

Will Climate-KIC demand a share in my business?

Although we are committed to your success, your business stays firmly in your hands. We do not expect shares in exchange for the training course and intensive coaching you receive. The 5,000-euro contribution in Stage 1 is a grant, as is the 15,000-euro support in Stage 2. Convertible note in Stage 3, details upon request.

How can I apply?

You can apply by filling out the application form. We want to learn a lot about your business ideas – yet realize that not everybody has a robust business plan yet. Here is a sneak preview of the entry requirements.

How will my application be handled?

Our Entrepreneurship Team assesses all applications. Shortlisted applicants present their ideas to the Review Board in the weeks thereafter after which you be informed whether you have been selected to join Climate-KIC Accelerator.

What is Climate-KIC?

Climate-KIC is a European collaboration between over 200 organizations: small and large companies, research institutions and universities. We have an extensive international network. Climate-KIC is funded through the European Institute of Innovation and Technology, an initiative of the EU.

How does Climate-KIC’s international network help me?

Climate-KIC Accelerator is one of the very few truly international Accelerators with a presence in many European countries and a relevant global network. This will help you to meet potential customers as well as potential investors and make your business grow quickly.

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