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ACCELERACE NEWS

2019-02-20
Elia, Accelerace

Two European Energy Giants join forces to go from conservative to change-ready

Together with Accelerace, the electricity transmission operators Elia and 50Hertz call for startups from all over the world to compete in the third Open Innovation Challenge. They are especially seeking international startups from outside the traditional sectors which provide them with unique solutions and different approaches to their daily challenges on the field. 

Two of the largest transmission system operators in Europe, Elia in Belgium and 50Hertz in Germany, are facing headfirst disruption by joining forces and organizing the Open Innovation Challenge for the third consecutive year. This year, the competition aims to develop solutions for improving the day-to-day activities of the workforce in the scope of asset management and maintenance. Elia Group is already testing blockchain, the use of drones for inspections and artificial intelligence but always welcomes startups that leverage the benefits of new digital technology. 

Also in other areas of the companies, digitalization and innovation can contribute to the overall wellbeing of the employees and reduce safety risks. Examples include machine learning to detect wrong input data and connected clothes to monitor the health of workers. The possibilities are limitless.

Creating strong ecosystems

“As a top-5 player in Europe, Elia Group is constantly on the lookout for new innovative ideas to improve our day-to-day business. To achieve this, we need to join forces and create strong common ecosystems. Companies from different sectors can help us with new solutions and different approaches to our daily challenges on the field” says Johan Maricq, Innovation Project Leader at Elia Group. “This is why we reach out to innovative startups and SMEs. For them, it is a great opportunity to have an incredible experience at the center of the European power system.” 

Startups and SMEs from all over the world can apply for the competition, but only the best solutions will have the opportunity to pitch in front of the senior executives and jury of Elia Group during the final selection day in Berlin. The Elia Group has teamed up with Accelerace to make sure that the right fit between startup and corporate will be found.

Easy access to corporate players

“We have had the pleasure of working with forward-thinking Elia for a few years, and the Open Innovation Challenge is an excellent opportunity for startups to break through the doors of a large energy company. The winning startup will meet a paved road where senior executives and industry experts will be welcoming and supportive to ensure a successful paid pilot and help to convert it into a long-term collaboration” says Jes Nordentoft, Business Accelerator and Investment Manager at Accelerace.

Accelerace and the Elia Group are looking for startups that leverage new technologies like AI, VR, AR, and IoT to help improve the day-to-day operations, reduce workforce errors, and support asset managers to gain insights. The winner will not only receive the honor and €20’000 but also gets the opportunity to make a Proof of Concept with Elia and 50Hertz which will hopefully result in the implementation of the solution. Not a bad opportunity since Elia and 50Hertz together are the 4th largest transmission system operators in Europe.

Interested companies can apply to the Open Innovation Challenge here: https://innovationchallenge.eliagroup.eu/