Elia Group’s third Open Innovation Challenge:

Improving day-to-day activities by using innovative technology in the field of Asset Management and Maintenance.

Win a €20,000 pilot project and help the asset management and maintenance departments of Elia Group to improve the day-to-day operations of its workforce with new technology!

Elia Group, composed of Elia, Belgium’s transmission system operator, and 50Hertz, one of the 4 German transmission system operators, is tasked with maintaining grid balance and guaranteeing security of supply 24 hours a day.

To transmit high voltages power, an optimal maintenance policy, regular line monitoring and daily inspections of our assets are a must to ensure a reliable, sustainable and affordable grid for the society. The energy transition brings with it many challenges: variable production, distributed energy resources, increased interconnection… it complexifies the way we operate the system and maintain the grid. 

In such context, working on electricity assets is innately a dangerous activity that requires a permanent focus to avoid errors that can be catastrophic. Humans will need support to process all these data, derive their impact to take the right decisions.

Elia Group seeks solutions or new technologies to assist asset management and maintenance teams in their daily activities aiming to maintain the current quality, efficiency, reliability and safety, the top priority of both group companies. 

Can your company support Elia Group in one of its core activities? 

”Building a safer organisation and effectively managing our risks constitute key elements of our safety strategy. Our goal is to make certain that all our employees and contractors work in a safe environment while also protecting all third parties from accidents in our installations. However, reaching our goal requires more than just procedures and guidelines: we actively work towards a safety culture, in which everyone is personally involved to ensure their own safety as well as that of all colleagues.”

Head of Safety & Health – Stéphane Otto (Elia / Belgium) and Torsten Schröder (50Hertz / Germany)

We are looking for great ideas, projects and start-ups that leverage new digital technology to build a proof of concept with us, designed to improve how we operate our teams in order to guarantee safety, but also to be efficient and reduce errors.

Apply on this page to become one of the selected five start-ups that will pitch their project in front of senior executives of Elia Group from Belgium and Germany. The top 5 start-ups will receive exclusive pitch training from Accelerace, Europe’s leading seed accelerator.

We will award a supervised pilot project to the top start-up . The winning company will be able to test its technology in Elia Group’s challenging environment and receive €20,000 in return.


The application process

  • Fill the mandatory question form and upload a 10 slides presentation. Apply now.

  • A designated jury chooses the 20 best start-ups which attempt the kick-off phase and will be assigned a mentor from Elia Group.

  • Each company upload a 20 slides presentation based on the jury recommendation and interaction with their mentor.

  • A designed jury chooses the 5 best startups which will participate in the final.

  • The 5 best startups will have 2 weeks to prepare their final presentation

  • Round table and award ceremony in Berlin, Germany

Why is Elia Group investing?

Elia Group has a large social responsibility to ensure that electricity reaches all outlets. We have invested heavily in our infrastructure and have extensive maintenance programs in place to keep all the assets and systems in a condition that meets our responsibility.

Elia Group is a forward-thinking energy company that is constantly working on maintaining and improving its infrastructure. The company has a clear ambition to use the agility and technology provided by start-ups to empower the business and services in order to reach its ambitious innovation goals.

The Open Innovation Challenge is an excellent opportunity for start-ups to work with a large energy company, in a program that is designed to help the start-up succeed and walk away with an actual collaboration agreement after a successful and paid pilot project.

We encourage start-ups that are working with technologies like drones, robotics, artificial intelligence, big data, augmented and virtual reality, connected cloud and much more to come forward and help us tackle our challenges.

We want to be challenged!

We are open-minded and welcome all creative suggestions. From predictive maintenance (using machine learning) to inspections using drones and advance image recognition to a number of AR applications, we can imagine a number of ideas, such as:

Data collection

Start-ups that deliver solutions involving data collection directly on the field and facilitating the process of entering, cleaning, detecting wrong data in databases.


Start-ups that deliver solutions to prevent injuries (because of not wearing safety equipment as example). Also conceivable in this context is smart clothing (wearable technologies).


Start-ups capable of delivering better control room operation where one for instance has AI at one’s disposal to support operations.


Start-ups capable of better training staff through VR, AR or similar technologies to ensure the best possible way of training our staff prior to their going into the field.

Those are just examples of field of application. We are now waiting for your solution, be creative, think out of the box, while taking into account the challenging environment we are evolving in. 

What’s in it for the selected startups?

The most promising start-ups will have the opportunity to meet Elia Group employees who work on innovation projects in the electricity sector on a daily basis for discussions on future collaboration. The best start-up will also receive the following prize:

A contract with Elia Group worth €20,000 to carry out a Proof of Concept

Final Event in Berlin

The final event will take place in Berlin, in the heart of Europe. There will be pitches from finalists, award ceremony & celebrations.

A Group of leading TSOs at the heart of the European electricity system

The Elia Group encompasses two major transmission system operators (TSOs) in two European regions: Elia Transmission in Belgium and 50Hertz Transmission, one of the four German TSOs, in northeastern Germany (in cooperation with Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau KfW, since August 2018).

Both TSOs operate at the heart of the European electricity system as they provide vital links between the various electricity producers and their 30 million end users. The Group’s high voltage system, with its intricately meshed 18,600 km grid, transports the electricity generated by the producers to the distribution system operators and major industrial consumers. In addition, interconnections with several neighbouring countries allow electricity trade with other European energy markets.

Europe’s leading seed accelerator is helping the Elia Group scout the best

Accelerace were founded back in 2008 pioneering the European accelerator space with a rebellious spirit and lofty objective: To take great technologies of tomorrow and even greater teams under our wing to make them fly. This is still their mission today.

Building on our knowledge, we believe that talent is the key to where it all begins: Skilled people with an entrepreneurial drive to challenge the status quo can be found at home, working in their sheds, labs or on their laptops. However, not all of them are visible at a glance. Our ability to spot these people and nurture their ideas and talent is the most meaningful task you can take on and we are dedicated to that.

Elia, the Belgian transmission system operator, holds licences for its 380 kV to 150 kV national grid and for its 70 kV to 30 kV grids in Belgium’s three regions.

50Hertz, one of Germany’s four transmission system operators and active in the northeastern part of the country, is held jointly by Elia (80%) and Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau KfW (20%).