Every year, the Innovative Starters Awards (ISA) by Innoviris encourage game-changers and entrepreneurs who offer added value with their strategic R&D projects. Double added value: firstly to their company, and secondly to the future of the Brussels region.  The ISA winners each receive 500,000 EUR in financial support to realise their innovative project.

For this 10th edition, Innoviris is awarding the coveted Innovative Starters Awards to the most innovative entrepreneurs in the Brussels Region: Noosa (sustainable textiles), Rockestate (data science) and uWare Technologies (underwater robotics).




The winners of the ISA sum up the impact of these awards for their project in a number of benefits:

  • the chance to invest more in R&D and to build up expertise;
  • the acceleration of the project as a whole, including the recruitment of new talent;
  • and finally the opportunity to develop the market-ready product to sell.

Daredevils and doers

While the world groaned under an unprecedented pandemic, these ISA winners dared to develop their project with vision for the next 2 to 3 years,

Three passionate entrepreneurs are winning their well-earned award today for their remarkable projects that have an impact on strategic key areas such as digital economy, ecology and health of the Brussels Regional Innovation Plan. 

Data science and ecological impact play key roles in achieving effective valorisation this year, according to the jury's decisions. We briefly introduce the winners:


Since its inception, Noosa has been marketing maize fibres and yarn for the clothing sector. Quality, vegetable origin and biodegradability are the common threads in their story, in addition to the cradle-to-cradle approach that also integrates recycling. The paradigm shift that Noosa wants to bring about in the textile world and the ecological impact of the project convinced the jury. With bundled technical and commercial competencies, the start-up demonstrated a balanced business plan with the potential to integrate step by step in the existing value chains  in the future. 


Rockestate helps banks and insurers evaluate their customers' homes, in real time and remotely. By combining open geodata such as land registry, aerial photos, LiDAR and AI, Rockestate calculates a 3D model, a valuation, and numerous other properties for every possible building. This considerably simplifies and accelerates the sales process of a home loan or insurance, without making concessions in terms of risk management. The jury underlines the concrete opportunities of their growth plan based on the successful technical and commercial results achieved so far. 


uWare Robotics' underwater robot can be deployed broadly for underwater tasks, in everything from infrastructure inspection to ecology conservation and seabed mapping. The project includes a multitude of technical challenges such as Lifi communication and imaging at limited visibility, which are specific to the environment in which the underwater drone will operate. The jury appreciated several diversifying elements that clearly optimise existing solutions.

In a video message they outline their core business and what the ISA award means to their project.

Brussels Secretary of State Barbara Trachte who supports these projects comments:

For 10 years, the Innovative Starters Award has been an important award presented annually by Innoviris. They highlight innovative start-ups and breakthroughs from Brussels that are keen to expand and increase their impact. I am pleased to see that the business models of the 3 finalists cover very diverse areas with great potential and opportunities, such as circular economy, underwater research and building mapping. I wish the teams the best of luck and hope they will spread the innovative Brussels ecosystem far beyond its borders.

Decade of innovation and opportunities

Ten years after the launch of ISA in 2010, we are keen to look back at all the ISA-funded projects and enterprises that may be more or also less familiar. Players such as Collibra, Woorank, NVISO, Urbantz and Citizenlab have had an important impact on our regional economy, for our international visibility and as an inspiration for local talent.

Project Manager Innoviris François Billen:

We love hearing unusual and surprising stories from Brussels-based entrepreneurs who are pushing boundaries, about their challenges and vision. These awards are an excellent opportunity to also effectively support unknown innovators to build their reputation with existing or potential customers.

No festive ceremony this year, but a good moment to create a new concept. This anniversary year, we will be introducing a - for the time being digital - 'Walk of Innovators' in which all ISA winners are invited to tell their innovation story or walk of innovation. From their 'Aha' moment, over milestones to illuminating perspectives on the future. Follow Innoviris for more updates on the Walk of Innovators !

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