The city of Antwerp launched a call for start-ups that could develop innovative digital solutions to the problems of the corona crisis. A jury selected 8 companies that now receive a financial contribution for their initiative, for a total of 250,000 euros. On top of that, 18 participants who surprised the jury with their proposal, receive substantive support to develop it further.

As a smart city, Antwerp wants to focus more on new technologies to develop solutions in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The urban call for innovative digital solutions was a success. After just over a week, 130 companies and organizations had submitted a proposal.

Digital innovation at its best, also after the corona crisis

The jury consisted of experts from the city of Antwerp, Digipolis and BlueHealth Innovation Center. They were pleasantly surprised by the amount of entries and their diversity. For example, solutions for challenges in education, the hospitality industry and related to social distancing were submitted.

Many multidisciplinary teams seized the opportunities that digitization offers in this exceptional situation. The jury saw examples of digital innovation at its best. The City of Antwerp opts for solutions that can be useful even after the crisis.

Fast solutions with short-term impact

A shortlist of 20 initiatives was made from the submissions. The jury chose 8 companies  that receive a financial contribution for their project. They will develop innovative digital solutions that have a short-term impact mostly in healthcare but also, for instance, the music sector: Artists Unlimited (streaming platform for live concerts), Bingli (online triage), Greygin (game-based learning), Health Endeavor (psychosocial prescription), Helpper (volunteering platform), Robovision (AI analysis of CT-scans), Spikes (contamination monitoring) and UZA-FibriCheck (distant cardiac monitoring).

The city has released a total of 250,000 euros for this assignment. Depending on their proposal, the companies are each awarded an amount of between 20,000 and 55,000 euros for their projects. The most important selection criteria were the rapid feasibility, the relevant impact and the added value for residents, companies or students in Antwerp. The city did not impose any themes or restrictions.

Substantive support for promising projects

In addition to the 8 projects that receive financial support, the jury selected a series of valuable projects from all submissions. During a conversation with a few experts, the 18 companies receive customized substantive support. For example, they can get advice to further develop their proposal or they can be brought into contact with one or more interesting partners to realize their solution.