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With thousands of accelerators out there, we want to know what’s working and what’s missing from European innovation and tech ecosystems to CONNECT, effectively COLLAB and ultimately GROW, together.

Wait a minute, why DeepTech?

DeepTech innovation is rooted in cutting edge science, technology and engineering, with a lot of potential to deliver transformative solutions in the face of global challenges. Artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain, virtual reality and molecular imaging are some of the examples of the tech deep dive.

But, who creates DeepTech?

DeepTech innovations are emerging from EU startups ready to disrupt business-as-usual and propel innovation for robust and thriving economies. Our goal is to identify and connect, so they can learn from each other, cooperate and grow faster together.

So, how do we connect?

We start by mapping tech and innovation ecosystems across Europe to understand where opportunity and diversity are strongest and which regions deserve a spotlight.

What’s an ecosystem anyway?

Good question! Ecosystems are several different (natural) systems which come together to create a healthy “mega-system” that allows for sustainable resource use and growth. Different ecosystems will contain different players and focal points.

Everyone uses the word “collaboration”... We know. And if we don’t start collaborating in a cohesive and strategic way, we will never reach a Europe that is tightly connected from one end to the other, ensuring that business opportunities, innovation practices and ideation and equality are streamlined.

Our starting point

Our research covers three key dimensions within accelerators to ensure that we start with a clear picture of the problem areas to then design a Pan-European Startup Exchange Programme that provides the best solutions and can eventually scale:


Mentoring, networks, finance, gender inclusivity

Operational Capacity

Strategy and leadership, ecosystem presence

Brand Visibility

Communication strategy, financial resources

What have we found?

We’re delighted to share with you the core results of our research covering a mixed qualitative and quantitative approach with the development of a benchmarking tool – through surveys and interviews with accelerators – to understand your biggest pain points as we make our way to necessary solutions for a strong, connected DeepTech and innovation landscape!

Our benchmarking tool works in two ways:

👉 Ideal case comparison - Comparing an accelerator’s actual score (out of 100 points) against the ideal case
👉 Inter-accelerator comparison – Comparing an accelerator’s actual score (out of 100 points) against a “best case” case existing accelerator.

Major challenges are:

👉 Operational Capacity – Accelerators are often sector agnostic and despite being more open, struggle to onboard promising startups and need more EU-level collaboration and strategic partnerships, as well as financial support, to ensure sustainability.

👉 Communication – A strong communication and marketing strategy is essential for any entity, yet many accelerators do not recognise this. It is possible that several common challenges faced, from low number of quality startups to difficulty in retaining alumni and attracting mentors, could be attributed to weak communication effort and planning.

👉 Gender – Challenges faced by women entrepreneurs in tech (and beyond) are not well understood at the micro-level and inclusivity remains a large-scale problem that cannot be addressed by accelerators alone. System-level reform may be necessary before accelerators are able to tailor design programmes to fit women’s needs and eventually see a significant boost in female-led startups and accelerators.

👉 Community – Developing a sense of community is essential in any programme or institution and accelerators are no different. The participation of alumni and remaining connected in the long-term has contributed to startup success. Continued efforts in promoting and providing networking activities are also key.


The Pan-EU Networked Acceleration Programme (EU-NAP) is a tailor-made and solutions-oriented programme that will provide training and support to accelerators and incubators seeking to become key DeepTech players in the EU.

We understand that many programme managers, as well as entrepreneurs, innovation agencies, investors and policymakers, face myriad challenges when it comes to meeting market demands and harnessing opportunities. This is especially true for those based in emerging innovator countries.

The EU-NAP will offer a range of resources and tools to support DeepTech ecosystem players, such as community forums, learning modules, verified and open access resources, networking mechanisms and practical cases studies built from research conducted within AccelerAction and our series of Round Tables involving key stakeholders and experts to talk solutions.

Follow us as we develop this exciting programme and give you the solutions you need to grow and connect for “wow” impact!

Do you have something to say?
We’d love to hear from you!

We’ve designed an online questionnaire to understand gaps, challenges and needs for tech accelerations in the EU. Stay tuned as we prepare to publish our findings.

We will be conducting one-on-one interviews with accelerators in each Member State to get an in-depth understanding to further explore challenges together and come up with best practices.

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