Relaunch of European Space Incubators Network

Charles Hendry, MP UK Shadow Minister for Energy, Science & Technology
5 July 2007

The XVI Congress of the European Business and Innovation Centre Network, held in Canterbury, England, saw the relaunch of the European Space Incubators Network, ESINET – a unique platform supporting the launch of innovative start-up companies that capitalise on developments in space.

At the beginning of 2007, ESA invited the European Business and Innovation Centre Network (EBN) to integrate ESINET into the EBN Network and to further professionalise and deploy its operations. The Congress reassessed the primary mission of ESINET, which is to stimulate and support entrepreneurship in the area of new services or applications emerging from the creative use of space technologies and/or systems in non-space sectors.

The tasks of the relaunched ESINET include:

  • promoting the use of space technologies, systems and services as a source of innovation for the creation of new enterprises and the development of existing small and medium enterprises (SMEs)
  • facilitating technology transfer from space to non-space sectors through its efficient interface with the space and other industrial communities
  • establishing and developing strategic trans-national partnerships and networks between incubators and SMEs, such as joint participation in EU projects, commercial distribution partnerships etc.
  • raising awareness, among SMEs and entrepreneurs, of the specific support services provided by ESINET to help them develop businesses using space technologies
  • helping start-up enterprises obtain access to finance and advising them on intellectual property rights (IPR), legal matters, networking and marketing opportunities
  • forming a critical mass of key players to gain visibility and attract the interest of private investors or associations of private investors
  • representing the interests of ESINET’s incubators and its SME community in dialogue with the EC and ESA, as well as with national agencies and regional governmental bodies.

EBN is recognized as the home of innovative entrepreneurship and incubation in Europe. It was created 25 years ago by the EC and industry leaders, and this leading pan-European non-governmental network incorporates several hundreds of business and innovation centres, and innovation-driven incubators.

ESA at EBN 2007

ESINET was founded by ESA and the EC in July 2002 with four members: EBN, Wallonia Space Logistics, the Italian company D’Appolonia and ESA’s Business Incubator, then named the European Space Incubator.

It started as an experimental thematic platform to boost on the one hand the creation of start-up companies developing products and services in the downstream markets of space-systems applications, and on the other, the transfer of knowledge and technologies from the field of space to other industrial sectors.

Today, ESINET has become Europe’s first network of space business incubation centres. Through ESA’s business incubators it provides links to three ESA establishments and their resources: ESTEC, ESOC and ESRIN.

ESINET’s network has now grown to 34 partners in 16 countries. Within the last 5 years it has achieved a number of tangible results including an estimated:

  • 500 SMEs incubated within ESINET incubators
  • 100 SMEs developing service activities downstream of space systems
  • the creation of 50 new companies yearly
  • three major actions for the EC: NavObs, NavObsPlus and INVESat.

"We are convinced that regional incubators can play a crucial role in increasing the number of innovative companies all over Europe to support economic growth," said Bruno Naulais of ESA’s Technology Transfer Programme Office, who is ESA’s ESINET Manager and a member of the ESINET Management Board.

"Innovation is a basic condition for the growth of economies. Europe's potential to create new business opportunities is enormous, thanks to space technologies and satellite systems such as EGNOS and in future Galileo, for navigation systems, for telecommunication systems, and Envisat for Earth observation applications. As an integral part of the EBN Network of Business and Innovation Centres, the ESINET network will actively help its members to stimulate entrepreneurship and support SMEs building on space developments” said Philippe Vanrie , CEO of EBN.

For more information on ESINET refer to their website at http://esinet.ebn.be/ and under www.esa.int/ttp

ESA’s Technology Transfer Programme Office (TTPO)

Frank Salzgeber, ESA

The main mission of the ESA TTPO is to facilitate the use of space technology and space systems for non-space applications and to further demonstrate the benefit of the European space programme to European citizens. The TTPO is responsible for defining the overall approach and strategy for the transfer of space technologies including the incubation of start up companies.

For more information, please contact:

Technology Transfer Programme
European Space Agency - ESTEC
Keplerlaan 1, P.O. BOX 299, 2200 AG, Noordwijk
The Netherlands
Office: +31 (0) 71 565 3910
Fax: +31 (0) 71 565 6635
Email: ttp@esa.int

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