The EIT Health Headstart Programme accelerates the market launch of selected healthcare start-ups through grants as well as support with networking and developing a project plan.


Headstart awards companies up to €50,000 to:

  • support start-ups in realising next steps for market launch;
  • verify the need/benefit of the product/service;
  • increase the possibility of attracting private investment.

This year, Headstart is supplemented by two special programmes, COVID-19 and NAM.

COVID-19 Solutions

Through Headstart, EIT Health will award up to €50,000 to companies with the potential to enable the community and health systems to fill in the gap until COVID-19 vaccines are ready. We are looking for products or services with technology readiness level eight. Entries are now closed and winners are expected to be announced in June.

NAM Healthy Longevity Global Competition

This year, Headstart offers an added opportunity for ventures with a focus on physical, mental, and social well-being for people as they age, joining the U.S. NAM Healthy Longevity Global Competition. The Competition includes a three-tiered structure of awards: a first phase of Catalyst Awards, a second phase of Accelerator Award, and a third Grand Prize phase. Through Headstart, EIT Health holds a Catalyst Award competition, participating in the first phase of the Global Competition.

Is it for me?

Headstart is most suitable for micro and small enterprises, spin-offs and start-ups that have a well-developed prototype and are aiming to launch a product. Companies must be incorporated on selection and should have an estimated valuation of less than €1 million.

Companies should be seeking to develop projects that fit the overall EIT Health objectives:

  • Strengthening healthcare systems in Europe
  • Promoting better health of citizens
  • Contributing to a sustainable health economy in Europe

Applications for Headstart grants submitted by start-ups from Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Israel are being accepted until 14 September 2020 via the EIT Health Optimy Platform.

  • Start-ups that applied for the first cut-off date cannot apply for the second submission cut-off date.
  • See the Headstart Guide for details on the eligibility requirements.
  • Contact an EIT Health Business Creation Manager in your region for guidance before applying. Upon assessment, they will provide you with a letter that you will need to apply.

Download guidelines