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Estonia opens first space business incubator ESA BIC

BC, Tallinn, 08.11.2017.Print version
Estonia in cooperation with the European Space Agency (ESA) at the Tallinn Science Park Tehnopol on November 7th opened the space business incubator ESA Business Incubation Center (ESA BIC) Estonia, which is the first of its kind in the Baltics and 17th in the whole of Europe, informs LETA/BNS.

Photo: tehnopol,ee

The incubation program helps promote space related business ideas by providing technical expertise and business development support, Tehnopol said. The space business incubators operating in Europe foster the operation and growth of more than 140 startups each year.

"Through our Technology Transfer Program with its business incubation centers we have already helped to create over 500 new companies with many new jobs in Europe, by spinning off Europe's investments in space research and development and making them available to entrepreneurs," Director General of ESA Johann-Dietrich Worner said.


"Estonian companies have been cooperating with ESA for 5 years, and have demonstrated excellent space capabilities and potential for developing services and applications from space related technologies," Worner added.


Estonian Minister of Entrepreneurship and Information Technology Urve Palo said that with the help of the business incubator engineers and researchers will be able to create novel products and services related to space. "The opening of ESA BIC Estonia is a next big milestone for us. As Estonia is known for start-ups and a digital society, ESA BIC Estonia will combine space technologies with our already existing digital society to create more value on both sides. Combining our existing e-services with Earth observation data and satellite navigation services is the next step forward," Palo said.


Andrus Kurvits, manager of ESA BIC Estonia, pointed out that the opening of ESA Business Incubation Center Estonia is one small step for ESA, but a giant leap for Estonia and for the Estonian startup scene. The implementation and the ongoing management of ESA BIC Estonia will be led by the Tartu Science Park in cooperation with the Tallinn Science Park Tehnopol and the activities will be in both cities.

"Each year we are helping around 45 tech companies to reach a sustainable income or first private funding. We see more and more companies who are developing space related technologies and together with ESA we can offer them incentive funding of up to 50 000 euros for product development and specific know-how and mentoring," Tehnopol's Startup Incubator manager Martin Gorosko said.


"Our goal is that 20 Estonian startups over 5 years could also reach the international arena. Today, we are launching the first permanent open call for the incubation program in Estonia, so all amazing space related ideas could come to life," Gorosko said.


Estonia started cooperation with ESA in 2009, so Estonian companies and research institutions could participate in ESA's projects for the first time. Estonia became a full member of ESA in 2015, which provided completely new opportunities for the Estonian space sector.


The BIC Estonia consortium consists of eight partners: Tartu Science Park, Tallinn Science Park Tehnopol, City of Tartu, City of Tallinn, University of Tartu, Tallinn University of Technology, Tartu Observatory, and Kredex.


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