Incubator network to help small companies
Good ideas are not always enough to enable space technology-related entrepreneurial projects, to get off the ground and help them to develop into viable businesses. To help them, a workshop has just been held in Italy, at ESA’s European Space Research Institute (ESRIN), to launch the European Space Incubators Network.
The workshop was organized by the Italian company D’Appolonia and sponsored by ESA, the European Commission, T4TECH and Aslink. The aim was to introduce entrepreneurs and small businesses to the new opportunities and assistance that will soon be available to them through the European Space Incubators Network.
ESA’s programmes, as well as those of the EU, national space agencies and industry, offer increasing opportunities to entrepreneurs to create innovative new businesses for products and services related to space technology. The European Space Incubators Network will assist such companies by offering the support of a European network of space-related incubation centres. These centres will not only provide access to financing but will also be able to offer services such as office space, team building and business plan development; access to strategic partnerships and networking; and engineering support services.
On welcoming the participants, Antonio Rodotà, ESA’s Director General, highlighted the importance of cooperation within Europe. “This initiative, created through the collaboration of the European Union, aims to form a ring joining national and regional space incubators in European countries. The European Space Incubators Network will promote the creation of new enterprises and incubators, and help start-up enterprises find access to financial resources and establish strategic and international partnerships, as well as facilitating technology transfer within the space sector, from space to Earth products and services, and improve communications between institutions.”
The network development will follow the development of the pilot space incubator, the European Space Incubator (ESI), soon to be established in the Space Science Park near ESTEC, in The Netherlands. The network partners identified so far are ESI (coordinator), T4Tech, the Spacelink Group, the European Business Innovation Centres Network (EBN), the European Association of Research and Technology Organisations (EARTO), and Wallonia Space Logistics (WSL, a Belgium incubator dedicated to space projects). The network management team will also be hosted in the Space Science Park, located near ESTEC. The next step is to create an advisory board to be presided over by Franco Malerba, the first Italian astronaut, and to refine the strategy and work plan.
So, if anybody out there has a good idea for space-related goods or services that they are trying to put into practice, help is at hand.
For more information, please contact:
Business Incubators Initiative Manager
European Space Agency - ESTEC
Keplerlaan 1, PO Box 299, 2200 AG Noordwijk, NL
Phone: +31 71 565 4711
Fax: +31 71 565 3854