ESA’s new Business Incubation Centre in southern France was launched at the Paris Air Show this week, underlining the Agency’s commitment to boosting the economy through fostering space spin-off companies.
ESA’s Director General, Jean-Jacques Dordain, noted, “One of the central roles of Europe’s space policy is to improve the quality of life on Earth, and ESA believes in supporting progress and growth across Europe by making its knowledge and technology available to European industry and entrepreneurs.
“ESA’s Technology Transfer Programme with its Business Incubation Centres has demonstrated in more and more regions of Europe its capacities to create new jobs and businesses by spinning off Europe’s investments in research and development and making them available to entrepreneurs.
I’m glad to say that this powerful tool is now extended to a region where technical excellence is a culture.”
ESA Business Incubation Centre (BIC) Sud France joins the Agency’s seven other such centres across Europe, aiming to foster in southern France alone 75 new space-connected start-ups over the coming five years, creating jobs and assisting the regional economy.
Mr. Jean-Yves Le Gall, President of France’s CNES space agency, added, “The coherent commitment of CNES and ESA has for many years effectively helped in utilising the potential of space technology to boost the economy by companies using space spin-offs, to create high-quality jobs and strengthen the high-tech industry in France.
“It is a great tool for cultivating new businesses and often innovative leading-edge technological solutions, creating true value and new jobs locally, but also to strengthen Europe’s competitiveness on a larger scale in today’s global economy.”
The French BIC has been set up with five branch offices, in Biarritz, Bordeaux, Toulouse, Toulon and Sophia Antipolis, and is managed by Aerospace Valley together with the support of CNES and Pole Pegase.
“Each of our five ESA BIC Sud France offices will welcome and host entrepreneurs and start-up companies with novel spin-off ideas for the wealth of technologies and systems developed under Europe’s space programmes,” said Agnès Gaillard, Aerospace Valley President.
“We will help them with technical support from our ESA and CNES partners, as well as business support during their two-year incubation to get their companies off the ground.
“We will also help them to find partners and capital via our network to industry and investors.”
Through ESA’s Technology Transfer Programme Office, more than 200 new companies have been launched to date as a direct result of its incubation centres in Germany, the Netherlands, the UK, Italy, Belgium and now France.