Accelerating Blue Innovation in Europe


Register for 2022

About us

What is it?

The Acceleration Services program is fully tailored for you. It’s a deep dive into the European Blue Innovation ecosystem. Connecting you to other startups, scale-ups, SMEs and ports.
Of course, that’s not all. There are 9 months packed with workshops based on both accelerating your business and your collaborations within the sector. We’ll connect you to relevant mentors and experts, and you are invited to pitch in front of relevant investors.

What is AspBAN?

The Atlantic Smart Ports Blue Acceleration Network (AspBAN) is a project that has been awarded funding by the European Union. Focused on developing a dynamic acceleration platform, AspBAN helps EU Atlantic ports work as blue economy hubs.
By becoming the main playground for the development of new blue businesses, EU Atlantic Ports have the opportunity to diversify their revenue sources and work towards a sustainable ocean economy.
Ports are one of the primary interfaces with the ocean, which means they will play a strategic role as launchpads for a new generation of blue companies.

What are we looking for


Blue Economy sectors:

  • Green / Smart Ports & Ports activities
  • Shipyards, Shipbuilding and ship conversión
  • Marine construction & infrastructure
  • Maritime transport & Green shipping
  • Blue Biotechnology
  • Fisheries
  • Aquaculture
  • Marine & coastal tourism
  • Marine Business Services
  • High-tech Marine Services
  • Safety & Surveillance
  • Marine renewable energy
  • Marine seabed mining
  • Dredging
  • Multi-Purpose Platforms
  • Marine Research & Development and Ocean literacy
  • Marine pollution (plastic and other) monitoring, clean-up or management


  • Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning
  • Augmented Reality / Virtual Reality
  • Big Data
  • Blockchain
  • Predictive analytics
  • Cloud Technology
  • Cybersecurity
  • 3D/4D
  • Hardware
  • Infrastructure
  • Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Nanotechnology
  • New Materials;
  • Robotics;
  • Software;
  • Wearables;
  • Unmanned Aerial Vehicles;
  • Smart grids
  • Smart energy management
  • Intelligent asset development



How is it related to Ports?

  • Digitalisation and improved operational efficiency
  • Green Transition and positive impact on achieving sustainability metrics
  • Ports as hubs for blue economy (new business for the ports)

Who can Apply

The program is open for startups that want to be active within the European blue innovation ecosystem.
If you:
  • Have – at least – a prototype ready
  • Ready to raise money – ideally just until series A
This program is focused on strengthening innovation in the European blue economy. It will be open for startups that are both able and willing to implement their solutions in AspBAN’s focus countries – this will be part of the selection criteria.



19 July – 15 October 2021

Startups can apply by filling the application form and submitting it.

Evaluation and Selection:
Evaluation and Selection:

15 October -26 November 2021

Acceleration Services will integrate about 80 participating startups.

Acceleration Services:
Acceleration Services:

November 2021 – July 2022

The Acceleration Services will consist of weekly workshops on topics related to Product-Market fit, Collaborating within the Blue Economy, Metrics, Implementing & Scaling, etc. These will be complemented by mentoring sessions with experts.

Every two months a pitch session will be hosted, where startups will be pitching to investors.

Participating startups will be invited to pitch in ONE of those sessions.

Online Pitch event #1

12 January 2022

Online Pitch event #2

16 March 2022

What’s in it for me:

Joining this program means taking a deep dive into the blue tech ecosystem. It will involve sharing specific knowledge while connecting the participating startups to relevant investors, like-minded people and mentors to accelerate their businesses. 
You will have the chance to: 
  • Gain exposure towards relevant partners  
  • Build strong and lasting relationships
  • Grow your network
  • Receive investment opportunities
  • Work with experts in the area both on business level and industry level
  • Access to Perks


What is AspBAN?

The Atlantic Smart Ports Blue Acceleration Network (AspBAN) is the establishment of a partnership between EU Atlantic ports for the development of a blue accelerator scheme that can stimulate innovative businesses in an innovation ecosystem to foster a sustainable blue economy. AspBAN is funded by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) of the European Union and will be based on the successful experience of Bluetech Accelerator – Ports & Shipping 4.0 in Portugal.

The project as the main goal to achieve a final pool of 30 innovative startup solutions developed as pilots in 30 Atlantic ports, attracting 6M€ in direct private investment, mobilizing 4,5billion€ of potential private investment and making a reduction of at least 100.000 tons of CO2 emissions in the operations of the 30 ports.

In which stage should I be in order to apply?

We’re open to businesses that have at least a prototype ready to already raise money, ideally just until series A. If you feel that your business and products would benefit from this collaboration we’d love to hear from you.

What information do I need to provide in my application?

We ask for information about you, your idea, your team and your company. Don’t hold back, let us know how great you are!

I don’t live in one of the Atlantic Member Countries. Can I apply?

Yes, AsBAN is open for European startups as long as there is an interest and you are able to work with any of the partners that are present in the Atlantic Strategy Committee Member Countries (Ireland, Portugal, Spain and France). Startups with solutions / products that contribute to the objectives of the Atlantic Strategy, and especially the goals for development of Atlantic ports into blue economy hubs, and whose activities are focused on the EU waters in the Atlantic, are welcome to apply.

In what language will the program be conducted?

English is the official language of the program

Where and when will the program take place?

The program will be working in a fully remote experience.

Do you take equity of the participating startups?

AspBAN is not an accelerator program and thus, unlike conventional accelerators for startups, we do not ask for equity in your business in order for you to participate and obtain all of the benefits of the program.

However, should one or more of the program partners be interested in investing and the time is right for your business, this is certainly a possibility and a valued outcome for many startups.

What are the selection criteria?


Is your business/project feasible? We’ll be looking to have the following questions answered, preferably supported with numbers. How well do you understand the market, market size and competitors? How much does it cost to start, get into the market and scale? If needed: can you get sufficient funding?


Credible team, quality CVs, relevant qualifications/experience;


Clearly innovative or disruptive, differentiated from existing solutions, scalable, exhibits sustainable competitive advantage potential and fit with the program and the Program Member’s challenges;


Large addressable market to facilitate significant sales growth (minimum $1 billion USD, if applicable);

Business Plan

Viable business model based on credit commercial and economic assumptions;


(Potential for) positive social/environment impact connected to the Sustainable Development Goals;


(Ability and willingness to be) Active in the Atlantic Strategy Committee Member countries (Ireland, Portugal, Spain and France).

How many startups will be chosen for the program?

We aim to select 80 startups to join the Acceleration Services part of the AspBAN program.

What do I gain from this program?

This program is a deep dive into the blue tech ecosystem, sharing specific knowledge, connecting you to relevant investors, like-minded people and mentors to accelerate your business.

I’ve been in accelerators before and have customers – is this right for me?

We know that your needs will be very different from an early-stage business. Your time is precious and we won’t waste it. That’s why you are in charge of which program parts you want to follow. As long as you want to gain specific knowledge, connect to specific parts or the wider ecosystem and are interested to pitch for relevant investors, we can work together.

Where will the mentors come from?

Mentors will include experts within the blue ocean sector, from the corporate-, entrepreneur- investment side. Aside from that there will be subject matter experts. A full list of mentors will be announced in due course.

Do you have what it takes to get on board?

This Project has received funding from the European Union under grant agreement No.: EMFF-APC-2020-AspBAN-101033749.