Impact Accelerators in Europe in 2024

Impact_Accelerators_Europe
At first, startup founders have a blank canvas to draw their vision and how to get there. Many hypothesis need to be tested, scenarios must be run, possibilities must be explored, prototypes have to be launched, not an easy task even for the most seasoned entrepreneurs. Luckily, there are Impact Accelerator programs to help you with all that and more.

Launching a startup is a complicated venture, to say the least. According to multiple studies, more than 90% of startups are not successful and there are many reasons for that, such as not being able to find product-market fit, failure in building the MVP, not pricing it right or failure in the execution, to name a few.

startup_vision_mission

Given their dynamic nature and turbulent business environment, they do not only need to do things right, but also execute them quickly. Furthermore – as we saw in previous articles about impact startups funding – it is critical for startups to get the right type and amount of funding that can accelerate their growth and bring them from Seed stage to a Startup stage.

Fortunately, there are multiple Accelerator programs – intended for supporting entrepreneurs in the early stage of their startup development – that are built precisely for this purpose. In fact, such programs are continuously being launched also in the Impact, Sustainability and Climate space.

What is an Accelerator?

Startup accelerators are fixed-term programs of different duration, which provide early-stage companies with the education, resources and mentorship needed to launch their product to market and accelerate their growth.

startup_business_plan

Considering all the educational components that Accelerator programs manage to compress in just a few months, they achieve what otherwise might take startups several years of hard work and struggle. At its end, the programs usually culminate in a public pitch event (a.k.a. Demo Day), where investors have the opportunity to get investment from outside investors.

Accelerator programs can be paid or free. Some of them provide seed-investment, too, although this is not always the case. What makes Startup accelerators even more valuable, however, is that their value extends far beyond the duration of the program, becoming the participants part of the accelerator’s network, connecting them to other founders, investors and potential business partners. 

Participating in a suitable accelerator program can be the catalyst that fuels startup’s growth not only financially but also technically, from product and business development perspective.

Accelerator programs are proliferating in the recent years, becoming increasingly more niche. As consequence, Impact accelerator programs are continuously emerging, both, from organizations focused on impact specifically, as well as from those established players in the accelerator space, that are tapping into the emerging trend of sustainability and impact.

In this article, we are going to highlight the Accelerator programs in Europe – which are currently open (or opening soon) – with the intention to provide a detailed overview of the different options for Sustainability & Climate-tech startups from the region looking to accelerate their growth and impact. 

Impact Accelerator programs in Europe in 2023-2024

Overview

 

G-Force

G-Force Accelerator

What: Pre/seed fund and investment program for climate tech startups accelerating our world to a net zero future. Powered by Founders Factory, this program focuses on five major areas: Decarbonising the grid, Fixing food and agriculture, Electrifying transportation, Cleaning up industry & buildings and Protecting nature & removing carbon.

Who: Startups from all over the world are welcome, although major focus is on Europe

When: On-going

Where: in person (London) or virtually

Terms: Three pilars of support: 250k Eur cash investment, 6 months hands on operational support and Grants support to help achieve equity free additional financing.

 

Sustainable Ventures Accelerator

Sustainable_Ventures

What? Sustainable Accelerator stands out by offering a distinctive combination of equity investment and expert commercialization support. With over 40 investments across six funds to date, and the seventh currently being raised, it solidifies its position as the UK’s most active early-stage climate tech investor.

Who? Start-ups addressing climate change and resource scarcity.

When? On-going

Where? London (UK)

Terms: Investment in the range of 100-250k £, 12 months of hands-on growth support. The program is open for startups based in (or willing to move to) UK, eligible for SEIS & EIS programs. Check out the requirements of the program.

 

Norrsken Accelerator

Norrsken Accelerator

What: Branding itself as the world’s leading accelerator for impact startups, with this program Norrsken (one of the most prominent impact VCs in the continent) has the mission to find and scale the world’s most promising impact startups.

Who: Pre-seed to early-seed startups that leverage technology to create and scale innovative solutions to new and old societal and environmental challenges.

When: Applications open. Program runs from July to September 2024.

Where: in Stockholm

Terms: Program participation is free of charge. Selected companies receive upfront investment of $125k. 

 

.WAVE

wave Accelerator

What: .wave is a professional accelerator program for start-ups based in the Central-Eastern Europe region aiming to build an eco-sustainable future.

Who: Startups that are environment-conscious & sustainability-focused, have some market validation already, and ideally with B2B focus. Open to startups from the extended Central-Eastern Europe region (Austria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgarian, Croatia, Czechia, Hungary, Montenegro, North-Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ukraine).

When: 2024 Program TBA (2023 Accelerator took place between 02 October and 05 December)

Where: Budapest

Terms: Check in detail the program plan.

 

Ventures Thrive

Ventures_Thrive

What: Venture builder for deeptech climate founders from CEE & Widening Countries with the purpose of building collaboration between startups and large organisations. This is a 8-months long program focusing on following key industries: Health, Agriculture & Waste, Medicine, Marine, Biotechnology, Energy, Veterinary Medicine

Who: Deeptech solutions (BigData, AI, Blockchain, IoT, Bio-Tech) addressing pressing challenges in the above-mentioned focus areas. Product/service and technology that has passed the MVP stage (TRL-6, technology demonstrated in a relevant environment). Based in Central Eastern Europe or in the widening countries.

When: Program runs from March to October 2024. Applications close on 17 January 2024.

Where: Hybrid (Pitch Contest and Demo Day to be attended in person)

Terms: Each accepted startup is eligible for up to €100,000 in cash and services – Equity-free, among many other benefits and perks.

 

EIT Food Accelerator Network

EIT_FAN

What: EIT Food Accelerator Network (EIT FAN) is a 2-3 month, theme-based programme, delivered through five unique innovation hubs in Europe: Food bioprocessing (Helsinki Hub), Next generation of plant sourced solutions (Paris Hub), Sustainable food packaging (Bilbao Hub), Future proof agriculture (Munich Hub) and Food as medicine (Haifa Hub). The programme enables the most promising AgriFoodTech startups to accelerate, further validate their technology and advance their investment and commercial readiness to achieve the ultimate goal: a successful market adoption.

Who: Startups falling within one of the five EIT FAN themes listed above. Minimal traction required is having a prototype or a pilot project in place. EU Startups and those coming from Horizon Europe associated countries are welcome to apply.

When: The programs will take place between May and July 2024. Applications remain open until 19 February 2024.

Where: In person and online

Terms: Selected startups will obtain up to € 50,000 funding + up to € 500,000 direct financial support from EIT Food through a SAFE instrument, among other benefits. For more information, you can check the Full Terms and Conditions document.

 

EIT SCALE – RisingFoodStars

eit_food_risingstars

What: RisingFoodStars identifies the most promising aspiring Agrifood and FoodTech scale-ups and boosts their chances of business success. This scale-up program welcomes technological solutions within one of the 3 missions: Healthy lifestyles, Net Zero and Fair and resilient supply chain.

Who: Small sized companies (from the EU or Horizon Europe associated country) generating a minimum of €100k annual revenue, with a minimum of 10 FTEs and aiming to raise a Series A within the next 6-12 months.

When: Program start expected in July 2024. Application deadline: 19th February 2024.

Where: In person and online

Terms: Participation/membership fees for candidates onboarded in July 2024 will be 2,250 euros. They will be entitled to variety of support grants and opportunities to get funding. For more information, you can check the Full Terms and Conditions document.

 

SynergistEIC

SynergistEIC

What: SynergistEIC is a EU funded program providing tailored, specific and hands-on support to European impact-driven startups, notably in the sectors of climate-tech, clean-tech, circular economy and agri-food to become more competitive and increase their readiness to be successful in the EIC Accelerator.

Who: Startups developing innovative solutions addressing Climate-Tech, Clean-Tech, Circular economy and Agri-food challenges. Two separate tracks, for startups with track record in EIC Accelerator (EIC) and those with the potential for success in it (Non-EIC). 15 startups will be selected in total. The programme will be split between those with (x5) and without (x10) experience of the EIC Accelerator application. Check the program’s full eligibility criteria.

When: Program will take place between June and November 2024. Open call: January-March 2024.

Where: TBA

Terms: 3 month acceleration programme to increase scalability, with access to up to €50,000 grant funding.

 

Deep Rising by Nordic Startup Ventures

Deep Rising

What: Dynamic 6-month hybrid accelerator explicitly designed to empower early-stage deep-tech startups and research-to-business projects. Its purpose is to get founders on the right path to product-market fit and fundability. While not entirely focused on climate, projects in this domain are highly regarded.

Who: Founders representing a university, research lab, or a company R&D spinoff.

When: On-going applications, as they run programs all around the year.

Where: Hybrid (Tampere/Helsinki and online)

Terms: €10k for the program fee. For more information on the requirements and conditions, visit their website.

 

TotalEnergies On

total-energies-on-accelerator-program

What: Run by the global multi-energy company, TotalEnergies, this Corporate Accelerator Program is aimed to support the development of new companies in the electricity and renewable energy sector. This 6 months program is aimed at start-ups offering innovative solutions, particularly digital ones, across the entire electricity value chain

Who: Innovative digital start-ups in the following six areas: Renewable electricity generation, Energy storage, Distributed energy management, Electricity trading, Power retail, Electric mobility. Check the program’s full eligibility criteria.

When: Program will take place between April and October 2024. Deadline for applications: 26 January

Where: Not specified

Terms: 4 NOs: No relocation (no need to move team to Paris), No cash (participation free of charge), No equity (no equity exchange for participation), No exclusivity (startups can work with other customers and partners, too).

 

Amazon Sustainability Accelerator

Amazon Sustainability Accelerator

What: The Amazon Sustainability Accelerator is a 3-month programme that is designed to support entrepreneurs who are in the early stages of building sustainability focused businesses and includes exclusive workshops, mentorship and access to Amazon’s network.

Who: Early-stage start-ups that are building consumer products or recycling technologies that have a positive impact on the environment! To maximise start-up learning, there will be separate tracks tailored for the two cohorts.

When: TBA (next call for applicants expected by Feb-2024)

Where: Hybrid (Berlin and London)

Terms: Selected startups will receive £10,000 Cash grant, $25,000 AWS Credits and many other benefits and perks.

 

AWS Climate Tech Accelerator

AWS-ClimateTech

What: Powered by AWS Startup Loft Accelerator and Vestbee, this is a virtual, non-equity 10-week program supporting pre-seed and seed Climate Tech startups with product development, go-to-market, and investment readiness.

Who: Startups developing their projects across the EMEA region in the following domains: Digital solutions for sustainability, Clean & affordable energy, Sustainable cities & communities, Clean water & sanitation, Green transportation, Life on land & below water, Food & Agriculture, Circular economy and Green industry.

When: TBA (2023 edition took place between October and December)

Where: Online

Terms: Up To $25K in AWS Activate Credits, Partner offers & special discounts, Access to AWS Global Network and lots of other associated benefits.

 

Decelera Ventures Deceleration program

Decelera

What: Branding itself as the “World’s First Startup Decelerator” is dedicated towards helping startups to find the best performing model to grow in a sustainable way and contribute towards a better future. It consists of an intensive 10-day startup program on the island of Menorca including 1:1 and group experiences with a selected group of international investors, mentors, and connectors.

Who: While sector agnostic, Decelera’s only mandate is that the startups use technology to have a positive impact on the planet.

When: Program dates: May 24 to June 3 2024. Join the waitlist.

Where: Menorca

Terms: The program is free of charge, while the selected startups are eligible for a €150K convertible note. Check the program’s FAQs for eligibility criteria and terms.

 

Blue Bio Value Acceleration

BBV-Acceleration

What: This is a 10-week acceleration programme, dedicated exclusively to the marine bioeconomy and open for biotechnology-based projects that tackle one of the following challenges: Feeding a growing population & ensuring sustainable food systems, Enhancing health & well-being, Mitigation and adaptation to climate change, Addressing resource scarcity & preserving natural ecosystems and biodiversity, Empowering a circular bioeconomy growth model, Reducing plastic production & pollution.

Who: Early-stage impact ventures from around the world. Projects from TRL 5 or superior stage.

When: TBA (2023 edition took place between September and December)

Where: Hybrid (including up to 3 weeks in Portugal at the end to participate in field trips to key local ecosystem players, in-person workshops, and culminating in the Final Pitch Event)

Terms: Possibility of winning a prize of up to 45 K€ to be spend in services, pus a lot of benefits. For more information on the program and its benefits, check their website.

 

Big Idea Ventures Accelerator

Big Idea Ventures Accelerator Paris

What: Five-months accelerator program aiming for companies building the sustainable food system, falling within one of the following categories: Plant-based Product, Precision Fermentation, Cellular Agriculture, Ingredient Creator and Tech Enabler.

Who: Early stage companies with initial product created, market validated through early sales and ready to scale, with big idea and unique IP.

When: Rolling admissions, while the program runs twice per year.

Where: Option to participate in the program remotely or in-person in Paris (or in one of the other offices: Singapore and New York)

Terms: USD$125K Cash Investment and USD$75K In-kind Investment. In addition, they invest up to USD$3.5M + follow on funding for our top performing companies. You will also receive 5 months office space in Paris and access to a Test Kitchen facility to refine and adjust your product.

 

The Partner in Crime Climate Accelerator (4WARD.VC)

The Partner in Crime Climate Accelerator (4ward.vc)

What: This is a different type of Accelerator program, brought by 4WARD.VC, the same organization that stands behind The Startup Tank Climate Investor Pitch Show. Lead by Matt Ward, serial entrepreneur and climate-tech startups startups advisor and investor, the Accelerator is structured in an intense 12 week program.

Who: Climate-tech pre-seed and seed stage startups with big global ambitions.

When: The program runs continuously. You can apply any time. Only 1-2 companies are accepted per month.

Where: Online

Terms: Program is free of charge, although 1.5% Advisor Shares to be given for participation in the program. 4WARD is entitled to an optional $50-150k SAFE at 25% discount.

 

Plug And Play

Plug_and_Play_Accelerator

What? Global startup accelerator, running thematic programs with focus on different sectors such as: AgTech, Energy, Food & Beverage, Health, Mobility and Sustainability.

Who? Start-ups and scale-ups in different stage of development (from seed to Series C) 

When? Different starting dates, depending on the program

Where? Multiple locations across the world

Terms: Check out the requirements of each individual program.

 

Founder Institute Core Program

Founder_Institute

What? The world’s largest pre-seed startup accelerator. Its core program lasts 4-month and is split into tracks with unique milestones and sprints.

Who? Founders at pre-seed stage; both – solo founders or small teams – are welcome. Even though it is not Impact specific, impact-driven businesses are among the most encouraged to participate in the program.

When? Different starting dates, depending on the program

Where? Multiple locations (celebrated virtually)

Terms: Different application deadlines, depending on location (check among the 100+ locations available in 2024). Check their FAQ section for more information about terms, conditions and fees.

 

G-Accelerator

G-Accelerator

What: The G-Accelerator Program is a 6-months program looking for next generation entrepreneurs with innovative and disruptive ideas that are intent on launching a business with Triple impact. The current Program Verticals are: Sustainable Businesses, Circular And Proximity Economy, Sustainable Cities And Communities, Health And Wellbeing, Responsible Production And Consumption and Quality Education.

Who: Founders who care about improving the world and society through sustainable business models that are socially, economically and environmentally responsible.

When: 2024 Program TBA (2023 program started in June)

Where: Hybrid (Bootcamp, Opening and Demo-Day in Barcelona)

Terms: The program offers 230h of Training, 240h of Mentoring, Networking and Financial support (3,000 Eur for additional mentoring).

 

EIC Accelerator

EIC Accelerator

What? Launched by European Innovation Council (EIC) – EU’s flagship innovation programme – EIC Accelerator supports individual SMEs, in particular Startups and spinout companies to develop and scaleup game-changing innovations. Acting more like a funding program, EIC selected companies receive coaching, mentoring, access to investors and corporates, and many other opportunities as part of the EIC community.

Who? The EIC welcomes applications from innovators in all EU Member States and countries associated to the Horizon Europe programme. It particularly welcomes applications from startups and SMEs with female CEOs. Impact is a huge component of the EIC program. Among others, the program is aimed at startups tackling several impact challenges: Biomarkers for cancer, Decontamination for pandemic management, Energy storage, New European Bauhaus, Resilient agriculture.

When? Apply anytime

Where? N.A.

Terms: The European Innovation Council work programme 2024 opens funding opportunities worth over €1.2 billion. It provides blended finance, composed of direct equity or convertible loans and a grant component. The majority is dedicated to SMEs and start-ups to develop and scale up “deep tech” innovations in critical fields. You can apply for EIC Accelerator funding at any time through the EIC platform. Check out their web for more information.

 

Maze X

Maze_X_Accelerator

What: Previously an Accelerator, Maze X is reborn as a new investment programme designed to support newly founded teams to multiply their execution capacity by 3x ahead of their first round of funding. This is a 3-months program of customised support, delivered in a sprint methodology, covering Go-to-market strategy, Business development, Fundraising, Growth levers, Impact measurement.

Who: Very early stage European impact ventures falling within following three broad categories: Healthcare and wellbeing, Future of learning and work, Sustainable production and consumption.

When: Apply anytime 

Where: Lisbon

Terms: €100k through a SAFE (20% discount and €5m cap) investment to accelerate your product development, increase sales, and hire your first team members.

 

WorldStartup Support program

WorldStartup Support program

What? WorldStartup is a global entrepreneurship platform offering support programmes and unlocking resources for changemakers to grow their business and foster a positive impact on society and nature.

Who? Purpose driven and ambitious impact founders.

When? Different starting dates, depending on the program

Where? Remote and in-person (The Hague, the Netherlands)

Terms: They run different programs throughout the year, focused on accelerating and scaling impact startups. Check their on-going programs.

 

Rubik Garage

Rubik Garage Accelerator

What: Equity-free Accelerator for Early-stage startups in CEE & SE. While not entirely focused on impact, most of the verticals are related to impact and sustainability themes, such as: MedTech, EdTech, Climate, Impact and Smart Cities. Program is divided into three parts: Bootcamp, Acceleration, Demo Day & Mentors Retreat, while the most advanced startups can continue with an Investment Readiness program.

Who: MVP stage tech startups based in Central Eastern Europe (CEE) or Southern Europe (SE).

When: Apply to join the next cohort here.

Where: Hybrid

Terms: Programs are free of charge, providing access to Perks & Benefits worth of €150,000+.

 

ClimAccelerator

ClimAccelerator 2023

What? ClimAccelerator is a global programme giving start-ups access to innovate, catalyse and scale the potential of their climate solutions. Partnering with local organizations, they run both – theme-based and place-based acceleration programs.

Who? Environmental impact-driven, ambitious and scalable startups. Each program has different thematic focus and usually welcomes companies in three different development stages: Early Stage, MVP and Growth.

When? Different starting dates, depending on the program

Where? Europe and Globally

Terms: Each program provides grants funding. Check their website for more information on available programs in your country and the application terms.

 

Challenger Accelerator

Challenger Accelerator

What: Co-organized by CIVITTA, Challenger is a non-equity startup accelerator, helping startups find their product-market fit, paying customers, and raise funding to scale their operations. They run several different programs, including Challenger Green & Digital, looking for tech companies solving challenges in digitalization, cleantech, mobility, agritech, e-commerce, and manufacturing.

Who: Overall, the programs target start-ups in the early stage but already with at least MVP and some traction. Geographic focus: CEE.

When: 2024 program TBA

Where: Depending on program (to this date, most of the programs run in Estonia, Slovakia and Ukraine)

Terms: Equity free, providing up to 20k EUR grant or convertible loan. Check in their website for more information about the available programs.

 

Startupbootcamp

Startupbootcamp

What: Startupbootcamp is “the largest industry specific” bootcamp accelerator in the world. Since 2010, SBC has run over 150 accelerators in 20+ counties. They support early-stage tech founders to rapidly scale their companies by providing direct access to an international network of the most relevant mentors, partners, and investors in their industry.

Who: Early stage tech founders from a variety of industries including Food-tech, Renewable Energy, Mobility, Sustainability, among many others.

When: Different starting dates depending on the program.

Where: Italy, Netherlands, among others

Terms: Tailored 3-month accelerator programs. Check more in detail about each particular program.

 

EIT RawMaterials Accelerator

EIT RawMaterials Accelerator

What: The programme facilitates introductions to customers in the EIT RawMaterials partner network who are willing to adopt innovations. EIT RawMaterials connects local and national ecosystems to the pan-European network of pilot and test infrastructure facilities as well as to potential customers. The programme comprises three phases – Explore, Build and Grow.

Who: EIT RawMaterials Accelerator supports new businesses sharing the vision to develop raw materials into a major strength for Europe. The thematic scope targets companies with innovations in recycling, substitution, processing, mining, and exploration, as well as in the circular economy space.

When: 2024 Program TBA (In 2023 they ran two cohorts).

Where: 5 regional hubs covering the wider European region.

Terms: Funding amount for Phase 1 is EUR 10 000, while for Phase 2 and Phase 3 will be a combined amount of EUR 80 000. Check more information about the program and apply here.

 

Rockstart

Rockstart

What? Rockstart is a startup accelerator founded in 2011 that empowers founders from 3 sectors: AgriFood, Energy and Emerging Tech.

Who? Ambitious founders with groundbreaking visions for a regenerative and sustainable future.

When? Different starting dates, depending on the program (For AgriTech and Emerging Tech Applications open usually between February-April, while for Energy by August).

Where? Denmark, The Netherlands and Colombia (balance between in person and remote)

Terms: Each one of programs has different requirements. The accelerator program fee is €65k. Startups accepted to Rockstart receive an initial investment with a SAFE. Rockstart also continues to invest in its portfolio companies, co-investing with a lead investor, which can continue up to Series B.

 

RootCamp

RootCamp Accelerator

What? This is a 3-month acceleration programme for B2B agrifood startups with access to the ecosystem, learning resources, and investment readiness support.

Who? Early-stage and later-stage technology-oriented startups with innovative ideas to disrupt the agtech sector. International startups from all around the world are welcome to apply.

When? Next Acceleration Program starts on 01 August 2024. Deadline to apply: 23 April 2024.

Where? The program is hybrid (3 out of 12 weeks are in presence in Hannover, Germany).

Terms: The program is divided in two phases: Acceleration program (3 months with a grant of up to 6k €) and Pilot project (optional) (up to 12 months and funding of up to 40k €). RootCamp takes no equity and participation is cost-free. For more information on the requirements and program structure, check their website.

 

Tech For Good Programme (Bethnal Green Ventures)

Tech-For-Good-Programme-Bethnal-Green-Ventures

What? Early-stage Accelerator on-site program of intensive learning – happening twice per year (one in Spring and one in Autumn) – divided into 6 weeks of intensive learning followed by 6 weeks of coaching tailored to your needs.

Who? Open for tech-empowered scalable businesses with the intention to drive positive social and environmental outcomes.

When? TBA. You can pre-register interest here

Where? London (UK)

Terms: £60k investment for 7% equity. Check on their website for application terms.

 

EIT Urban Mobility Accelerator

eit-urban-mobility-accelerator

What? The EIT Urban Mobility Market Readiness Accelerator consists of seven thematic EU-funded programmes implemented through partners to take early-stage mobility startups to the next level. The themes are: City logistics, E+ mobility, Energy & Public realm, Future Mobility, Inclusive Mobility, Smart Mobility and Urban Air Mobility. Program duration: 6 months.

Who? Early-stage startup-teams with business ideas that reduce congestion and increase efficiency in the transport system, aiming to accelerate the transition to low- or zero-emission forms of transport – and with all other possible ideas that help to solve mobility-related problems.

When? TBA (next call for applicants expected by early-2024). Program duration: 6 months.

Where? Different locations for each program

Terms: 30k Eur worth of support services. For more information, check each one of the programs.


 

We will keep providing you up-to-date information on Accelerator programs in the areas of Impact, Sustainability and Climate. Keep checking back for regular updates, so you won’t miss any valuable opportunities to accelerate your startup journey.

 

Finally, make sure to explore our Investor Readiness Guide for valuable insights, complementing your journey through accelerator programs to elevate your investor readiness.

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