With the Innovative Starters Award (ISA) programme, Innoviris annually supports ambitious start-ups & scale-ups that are striving for an effective strategic breakthrough. Laureates know how to combine creative 'out-of-the-box' thinking and in-depth research with a realistic economic approach. New for this edition are the criteria concerning social and ecological impact on the Brussels region, important dimensions in the framework of the new Regional Innovation Plan 2021-2027.

Barbara Trachte, State Secretary for Economic Transition and Scientific Research, stated:

"The Innovative Starters Awards is a spearhead programme of Innoviris to spotlight and financially support start-ups and scale-ups to further develop their innovative ambitions. I am pleased that ecological and social criteria were used this year. After all, Brussels-based companies have many ideas for acting positively towards the planet and its inhabitants. Congratulations to the winners! »

The Brussels Region is funding two driven companies that excel with their ambitious project: laureates Axiles Bionics and Tapio will each receive €500,000 in funding to further realise their strategic innovation plan over the next 3 years.


Meet the ISA 2021 winners

Let us introduce the winners' proposed projects followed by a brief comment:


Axiles Bionics

With its ISA project, Axiles Bionics aims to develop an innovative technical solution that can be applied to any medical device that would benefit from patient-specific self-learning capabilities, such as prostheses, orthoses and wheelchairs, among others. The bionic foot, developed as part of the Talaris project previously co-funded by Innoviris, and the company's first flagship product, will obviously serve as its first application.

"As a spin-off of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, specialising in robotics, artificial intelligence and human biomechanics, the Innovative Starters Awards give us the opportunity to push the boundaries of Artificial Intelligence in bionic prostheses. This will not only significantly improve comfort and usability for users, but also help make Axiles Bionics a centre of excellence in intelligent bionic technologies. We are very grateful for the continued trust and support of both Innoviris, in our team and in our vision," responds Dr. Pierre Cherelle, CEO



Tapio helps companies that want to integrate the climate issue into their development strategy. Many companies want to take action, but often do not know where to start.  They are faced with numerous questions, on the one hand about market expectations, regulations and about relevant data. On the other hand, about the carbon assessment itself, about the potential reduction of their emissions and about communicating this.

With the help of its carbon experts, data engineers and developers, Tapio has designed a solution that enables companies to manage their climate strategy, from measuring their emissions to implementing concrete solutions to reduce them. Emphasising the importance of integrating its business partners, who on average account for more than 80% of emissions, to make the entire supply chain and ecosystem carbon-free. In this way, the company multiplies its impact on the climate and creates a virtual network of sustainable companies.

Every company can play its part in the ecological transition with the Tapio solution.

Within the ISA project, Tapio aims to automate the creation of impact networks and the resulting recommendations, using AI and Machine Learning technology and climate data as key levers.

"We believe that the solution to climate change must come from businesses. We want every company to be able to play its part and we are making it possible by using technology. Thanks to Innoviris and their ISA programme, we will be able to significantly accelerate the development of our tools by using AI for good. This is a great opportunity and our team is very excited to deliver it," says Louis Collinet, Co-Founder, CEO


The Brussels Innovative Starters Awards are awarded annually to start-ups and scale-ups that want to realise ground-breaking ambitions in their field.  With this financing programme, Innoviris targets starting and growing entrepreneurs in the Brussels region who have been active for a maximum of 5 years. 

"Brussels entrepreneurs can, thanks to the ISA and other funding programmes for innovation, make effective progress with their projects. In addition to attracting much-needed expertise, they can deploy scientific research, further refine their business model to develop and commercialise top-notch technological solutions. Since the launch of the Innovative Starters Awards in 2010, each of the laureates has had a successful track record, adding value to the Brussels region in terms of innovative strength, job creation, knowledge development and also international outreach. We are particularly proud of this,” confirms Stefaan Sonck Thiebaut, General Director Innoviris.

In April, Innoviris will launch the new call 2022 and interested entrepreneurs can once again apply for a coveted Innovative Starter Award worth EUR 500 000.


Background information and contacts

About Axiles Bionics

Axiles Bionics, founded in January 2019, is a spin-off of Brubotics (Vrije Universiteit Brussel) with the mission to improve the quality of life of people me smart assistive robotics and with the ambition to build an innovation centre of excellence in new bionic technologies in Brussels.

Pierre Cherelle, Founder CEO, pierre@axilesbionics.com, +32 476 37 82


About Tapio

We aim for a world where every company is able to tackle its CO2 emissions. Our mission is to provide the software that enables businesses to act and commit to global carbon neutrality. Our tools guide your organisation every step of the way towards sustainability, enabling a global transition.

Louis Collinet, Co-Founder, CEO , louis@tapioview.com, +32 478 62 97 05



Apply for the next edition of the Innovative Starters Award competition, and become Brussels next success story !

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