Tuesday February 15th 2022



Verhaert Masters In Innovation is pleased to announce it has acquired the German-based, but globally operating company ‘Academy for Corporate Entrepreneurship’ (AfCE). The acquisition will increase Verhaert’s comprehensive capabilities to help clients boost their capacity to innovate.

Academy for Corporate Entrepreneurship

AfCE helps corporate organizations to innovate and increase their entrepreneurial capacity by building innovation teams, e-courses, kick box, incubation and acceleration programs. The company operates globally and consists of a team of more than 40 senior innovation mentors. Its curriculum is based on over 200 online tutorials, courses, tools and tests, boosting the capacity to innovate of their customers and bringing their groundbreaking ideas forward.

Jan Kennedy, founder of AfCE says: “The last 7 years have been an incredible journey for AfCE, developing and testing rigorous intrapreneurship programs and courses across more than 35 corporate clients with teams in over 24 countries. None of this would have been possible without our core team members and partners, our dedicated mentors and our early adopter clients looking to improve and formalize innovation from within. Thank you to our customers for their continued support!”

In 2014 AfCE was founded with the idea that the high failure rate of corporate innovation initiatives could be turned upside down. By combining purpose-built online education, structured expert mentoring processes and rapid pretotyping resources the company created rigorous and compelling corporate accelerator and incubation programs. Through the programs and customizable e-learning courses, AfCE has made intrapreneurship accessible for all employees and more result-driven for any organization.

Acquisition by Verhaert Masters in Innovation

AfCE and Verhaert Masters in Innovation are highly complementary. The acquisition will allow the group to expand its capacity to help customers with innovation management.

Kennedy continues: “I want to assure our customers that the AfCE services and brand are not going anywhere. Our entire core team and mentors will be transitioning to Verhaert over the following months. I will still oversee our key accounts for some significant time to come and I will be relinquishing the CEO role to Stijn Smet. He has over 10 years of experience in innovation management and has been leading Verhaert’s business innovation consulting team. He is also the author of 'Building Tomorrow', a pragmatic and systematic approach to tackling innovation challenges in the public sector.”

Koen Verhaert, CEO of the Verhaert Masters in Innovation group further elaborates: “The corporate innovation space is rapidly expanding as more and more companies recognize the potential threat of rising start-ups and the changing digital landscape. They seek a more entrepreneurial mindset and skillset, to create and manage portfolios of innovation projects across business units by leveraging their own employees. With 90% of corporate innovation projects typically failing, AfCE has mastered a strategy combining mentoring with educational content. This drastically increases the success rate of innovation projects with employees, delivering millions in value to clients and positively impacting employee career paths. Due to the restrictions of the pandemic, AfCE also offers a fully digital approach with online training and mentoring. This provides a great opportunity to Verhaert to further internationalize and help overseas teams to boost their capacity to innovate.”

Stijn Smet, director of Verhaert Academy for Corporate Entrepreneurship adds: “Together with Verhaert we will be able to offer even more complete end-to-end innovation solutions, including product development and pilot production, R&D operations and innovation labs, key technology expertise, start-up ecosystem outreach as well as go-to-market services. Both AfCE and Verhaert share a vision to improve the state of innovation so that key critical problems get solved, value and growth are created and employees feel more engaged and fulfilled.”