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Innovation and Technology Lab : Start-up Award and Incubator Corridor

During the 4th conference of the International Network of Michelin Cities took place the Innovation and Technology Lab, wich was a great success. It included a competition for innovative start-up, followed by the signing of an Incubator Corridor that will enable start-ups from Michelin Cities to develop internationally.

First meeting at the Unique Summit in Ostrava (CZ)

Magog, Clermont-Ferrand, Anderson and Braga first met at the Unique Summit (It’s a platform that connects start-ups to foster innovation and international collaboration) in Ostrava, Czech Republic, where they agreed on a charter for the Incubator Corridor. This will enable soft-landing between INMC cities and start-ups originating from the network. The project will be led by Magog, which has acquired considerable expertise in this field through its incubator corridor with the Belgian city of Tournai.During the summit, the cities have also decided to organise the first start-up award during the 4th INMC Conference in Anderson, to be run by Clermont Auvergne Innovation.

The INMC 2024 Start-Up Award

The innovative start-up competition kick off in early January with a call for application from the INMC cities. Following this, each city had to select a maximum of 5 companies to invite to the Anderson meeting, although only 3 were allowed to take part in the final competition. In Clermont Ferrand, for example, 21 companies applied for the local competition, and 4 of them were selected to go to the INMC congress: CIDECO , Clinic’n’Cell, Synegram and Wallace technologies.

To take part in the competition, companies had to meet a number of criteria and conditions: they had to be less than 8 years old, be innovative in their technology, have a POC (Proof of Concept) or MVP (Minimal Viable Product) and have a solid financial structure to secure their international ambitions.
As a result , 14 start-ups from 8 INMC cities were selected to take part in the grand final. Each company presented a 3-minute pitch to convince an international jury comprising Carole Force (Public Affairs Headquarters at Michelin France), Terence Roberts (Mayor of Anderson), Henri Gisselbrecht (Vice-president in charge of development and economic attractiveness at the Clermont Auvergne metropolis), Chad Navis (Professor of Entrepreneurial Leadership at the University of Clemson) and Alexander Rupprecht (CEO TechBase Regensburg).

At the end of the competition, Health Evolve Technologie took first prize (trophy designed by Laurent Sarpedon, 5,000 usd and 5,000 usd marketing package). This Anderson-based start-up has developed a platform called “Lauren” that enables pregnant women to have individualized monitoring based on the health risks that pregnancy can bring, such as hypertension. Users can also be in direct contact with their health-care team, as well as with selected family members. The second prize (2000 usd) was won by CIDECO. This Clermont-Ferrand-based start-up aims to increase the lifespan of structures such as bridges, while reducing costs over their entire lifecycle, by implementing a sensor-based monitoring system to detect damage at an earlier stage.

Here’s the link to watch the 3-minutes pitch of each start-up

The Incubator Corridor

The aim of this Lab, piloted by Magog, is to establish a partnership between INMC cities to host innovative start-ups in partner cities and give them the opportunity to expand internationally. At the end of the workshop, three cities present in Ostrava, Magog, Clermont-Ferrand and Brega, signed the incubator corridor charter. Bridgewater, Pirot, Regensburg and Vitoria-Gasteiz agreed to take part. An amendment was signed to include theses four cities in the Incubator Corridor.

Next Steps

In June 2024, Regensburg is due to present a draft to be completed by the signatory cities, describing their region and how it would be attractive to start-up wishing to set up internationally. It has also been agreed that the international network of Michelin cities will fund a business concierge to support the cities hosting the start-ups. The network will also be responsible for gathering and organizing contacts between partners and start-ups.

The 7 cities in the Incubator Corridor plan to meet in October 2024 in Montreal during Les Entretiens Jacques Cartier and the Salon MTL Connect to discuss the draft proposed by Regensburg and be able to set up the partnerships.

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