BICs, as part of their standard offer, routinely offer commercial/high-growth business support to high-tech start-ups. BICs supporting space-related companies should be supported in order to give entrepreneurs comprehensive space-specific commercial and technical assistance to help them start-up businesses that apply space technology to non-space industrial, scientific and commercial fields, and vice-versa. This activity will not support the establishment of additional BICs, but should assist entrepreneurs and other innovation agents overcoming financial, administrative and networking barriers to innovation. In particular, it should contribute to access public funding opportunities, such as the SME instrument of the European Union, as well as potentially other funding opportunities from Member States, ESA and regional authorities. The take up of applications developed in the context of Galileo, EGNOS and Copernicus is encouraged. This action should be complementary to the ESA BICs (that already offer space-specific support) and the European Enterprise Network (EEN) approach, and should encompass other incubation centres that support space-related companies, particularly those exploiting the applications of space data and services.
The Commission considers that one proposal requesting a contribution from the EU in the range of EUR 2.0 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.
The number of space-related Business Incubation Centres (BICs) supporting space-related businesses is growing in Europe, led by national and ESA technology transfer initiatives. There is a need to continue to inspire entrepreneurs to turn space-related business ideas into commercial endeavours and to promote opportunities for new and existing start-ups coming from space and non-space sectors.
Creating opportunities for new and existing start-ups coming from space and non-space sectors by:
- Facilitating access to finance through outreach and networking;
- Maximising opportunities offered by the SME instrument for space;
- Assisting the development of viable business cases;
- Accompanying start-ups in commercial phases.