Antwerp start-ups with smart health ideas grow in Medical Solutions Accelerator

Medical Solutions Accelerator

As we speak, the second edition of the Medical Solutions Accelerator is taking place. This accelerator supports medical innovation in products and services. It’s a guidance program for seven ambitious entrepreneurs who are coached in five workshops to define a winning product. The entrepreneurs learn to pitch better, to draft a business plan and to achieve a strong proof of concept. Antwerp-based start-ups AYES and A-Sense Lab can attest to that.

Mobile app that helps visually impaired walk independently

AYES is an Antwerp-based start-up that built a hands-free solution that helps visually impaired people with all outdoor navigation challenges. OKO, their smartphone application, uses computer vision to help them navigate safely from A to B.

It all started with a visually impaired family friend who told me how he missed going out for a walk. We started this project after a first market research didn't bring up any solution that met our requirements. So we decided to build one ourselves. The Medical Solutions Accelerator made sure we didn't forget about the user. There were many exercises that made us think about what the users want, what their journey is and how our product can fit in that journey.

Vincent Janssen

New technology for cancer detection

A-Sense Lab, of Prof. Karolien De Wael, introduces fundamental innovation in sensing and detection in a wide area of applications. Together with their partners, they bridge the gap between the academic world, industry and society. One of their biggest challenges is the introduction of electrochemistry, a new technology, in the field of cancer research.

Even though we are still in an early research stage of our project, the coaching program of the Medical Solutions Accelerator was very challenging, stimulating and inspiring. Thanks to the support of experts, we can develop our new technology for cancer detection in the most optimal way with great attention to the needs of pathologists and cancer patients.

Sara Melis, Project Manager of Enviromics (UAntwerp).

“Sara (in the middle) together with her colleagues Elise (left) and Simone (right) during the Medical Solutions Accelerator."

Vibrant ecosystem

Thanks to the presence of 28 hospital campuses and top research institutions like the renowned Institute of Tropical Medicine Antwerp and the University of Antwerp, e-health is a meaningful innovation cluster in Antwerp. The recent built of Vaccinopolis, where tests regarding Controlled Human Infection Models are carried out, is also proof of that. In 2021, more than 50 Antwerp start-ups are engaged in the field of health and that’s an increase of more than 100% compared to 2015. This ecosystem of start-ups, businesses, public institutions and investors is a catalyst for innovation in health care. One thing is clear: if companies want to innovate in e-health, there’s no better breeding ground than Antwerp.