From space: incubation programme creates a thousand jobs

Start-up company demo
25 April 2013

The creation of a thousand new high-tech jobs over the last nine years was celebrated at the Agency’s business incubator in southern Germany on Wednesday. The centre and its start-ups are important contributors to the regional economy and the growing job market.

Incubation efforts in Bavaria have resulted in 66 new companies – 34 of them stemming from ESA’s incubator – and a thousand new jobs.

ESA Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain, Bavaria’s Minister for Economic Affairs Martin Zeil and German Aerospace Center DLR board member Dr Gerd Gruppe took part in the ceremony to mark the milestone.

Mr Dordain noted, “Technology transfer and its business incubation activity are at the heart of ESA. Helping start-ups to use space technology for novel applications is the best way to demonstrate how space can improve our daily lives through growth and competitiveness.

1000 jobs created event

“Creating new high-tech jobs in Europe is always a good investment. ESA helps in the important seed phase and our incubation effort is one of the biggest in the world.”

Mr Zeil added, “The consistent commitment of the Free State of Bavaria has over the years been able to effectively help utilise the potential of space technology by start-up companies and to shorten the critical path to marketable products. This has created high-quality jobs and strengthened the high-tech industry in Bavaria.

“This is a great success and documents very clearly how our technology policy is permanently advancing the high-tech industry in Bavaria.”

ESA incubation centre extension

Mr Dordain and Thorsten Rudolph, CEO of Anwendungszentrum GmbH Oberpfaffenhofen (AZO), which operates the Bavarian centre under contract to ESA, signed an agreement to extend its incubation efforts, allowing new start-ups to be selected and guaranteeing economic growth for the region. Overall, it will support up to 90 more start-ups by 2019.

Frank Salzgeber, Head of ESA’s Technology Transfer Programme Office, noted: “Throughout Europe, more than 180 new companies have been launched as a direct result of ESA’s business incubation initiative at its seven centres in Germany, the Netherlands, the UK, Italy and Belgium. We are helping more than 60 new start-ups each year."

ESA Business Incubation Centres

The seven business incubators across Europe promote the use of space technology, systems and knowhow for non-space applications. New start-ups receive financial and technical support during their two-year incubation period, leading to the launch of a new company, a new product on the market and new jobs for the region.

"These centres are great tools for reaching the regions, and create true value – new business and often innovative leading-edge technological solutions that strengthen Europe’s competitiveness in the global economy.”

ESA BIC Bavaria in Oberpfaffenhofen
ESA BIC Bavaria at Aerospace Technology Park Oberpfaffenhofen

To continue supporting the companies after their incubation, ESA has set up as a limited partner the Open Sky Technology Fund, a €100 million venture fund.

ESA Business Incubation Centre (BIC) Bavaria is located in Gilching near Munich, Germany. It opened in 2009 under the name ESA BIC Oberpfaffenhofen, changed in 2011 to ESA BIC Bavaria after it was enlarged with two additional sites in the region, Nuremberg and Berchtesgadener Land.

The scientific expertise and development network includes its neighbour, the DLR German Aerospace Center, as well as the nearby Fraunhofer Institute of Integrated Circuits IIS and the economic development corporation Berchtesgadener Land.

ESA DG Jean-Jacques Dordain with AZO CEO Thorsten Rudolph

ESA’s Technology Transfer Programme Office aims to strengthen European industry by identifying new business opportunities for providers of space technology and systems. It plays an important role in raising the knowhow and competitiveness of Europe, while broadening its business horizons and creating jobs for its citizens.

Its four lines of business are the incubation centres, the Technology Broker Network, ESA’s wealth of Intellectual Properties and the Open Sky Technology Fund.

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