ESA Business Incubation at ESRIN for Italy (EBI Italy) is the Italian branch of the ESA-wide Business Incubation initiative. It hosts entrepreneurs and start-up companies that use space technology and systems in non-space sectors at BIC Lazio's ITech Business Incubator in Rome. BIC Lazio is coordinated by the public company Sviluppo Lazio SpA and is part of a network of development offices in the region of Latium. Since its creation in 1990, BIC Lazio has created and managed a number of specialised business incubation centres.
The cooperation between ESA and BIC Lazio is based on a support contract signed on 3 March 2009, by Volker Liebig, ESA’s Director of Earth Observation Programmes and Head of ESRIN, ESA’s establishment in Italy, and Enrico D'Agostino, President of BIC Lazio.
"With this agreement between ESA and BIC Lazio, we have the operational tool to support start-up companies with our space technology and expertise from ESRIN," said Volker Liebig, ESA’s Director of Earth Observation Programmes and Head of Establishment for ESRIN, and explained that "ESA's international expertise encompasses in fact a vast network of business contacts in the space and non-space industry, as well as know-how from experienced ESA engineers and access to ESA laboratories and test facilities."
"The innovative aspect of this agreement is that on the one hand, the companies can benefit from ESA’s technical expertise, and on the other hand get business support from BIC Lazio," said Enrico D’ Agostino, President of BIC Lazio. "Our ITech Business Incubator in Rome will host the start-up companies and help them develop business plans, identify partners, execute market promotion and will provide them with economical and financial know-how."
"This follows ESA’s common approach to business incubation already in place at our two other business incubation centres in the Netherlands and Germany, where ESA's international expertise is combined with local business support," explained Frank M. Salzgeber, Head of the ESA Technology Transfer Programme Office at ESTEC, who is responsible for the ESA Business Incubation Initiative.
The aim of the ESA Business Incubation initiative is to support the creation of start-up companies, whose business ideas derive from space technologies or systems, by supporting the companies up to an early state of their development. This includes assistance in operation and business development, giving them access to ESA expertise and a full network of support sources, and also initial funding. The initiative will help to bridge the gap between an idea and an actual business by helping a technology transfer project get off the ground and by assisting its development into a viable business. It is equally aimed at entrepreneurs who have an innovative idea or business plan based on using space technology or systems in a non-space environment; at space companies who intend to outsource the spin-off initiatives of their employees; and at research centres and universities who are interested in encouraging their staff and students to set up their own companies.
Luigi Fusco, who is responsible for ESA Business Incubation at ESRIN for Italy (EBI Italy), is convinced that "ESA's Business Incubation at ITech in Rome will provide technology start-up companies with an ideal launch pad for their businesses. The presence of other start-up companies at ITech constitutes an ideal foundation for cross-fertilisation of ideas and business opportunities." Fusco indicates that EBI-Italy plans to select up to ten start-up companies for incubation at the ITech Business Incubator during 2009 and explains the basic conditions that candidates for incubation must fulfil to be selected: "They must be a Small or Medium Enterprise, should not have existed for more than five years and must be willing to register with one of the Chambers of Commerce located in Latium."
Interested candidates are requested to reply to an Open Call for Proposals, which means that applications can be submitted at any time. The application procedure is the same for all projects under the ESA Business Incubation Initiative. It can be downloaded in Italian or English from the Documentation section on the right navigation bar.
For more information on ESA’s Business Incubation in Italy, please contact:
EBI-Italy ESA Project Manager
Via Galileo Galilei
EBI-Italy Project Manager
BIC Lazio SpA, Incubatore ITech
Via Giacomo Peroni 444