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Start-up Programme

 

Designed to promote start-up creation and growth in the downstream sector, the Copernicus Start-up Programme will accompany start-ups from the generation of a business idea to its full commercialisation. The programme consists of four components: the Copernicus Prizes, the Copernicus Accelerator, the Copernicus Incubation Programme and the Copernicus AppCamps.

 

 

The Copernicus Prizes will support the generation of new business ideas. The first Copernicus Prizes will be awarded in 2017 in the context of the Copernicus Masters competition.

 

Since its creation in 2011, the Copernicus Masters competition has been boosting innovation in Earth Observation. With more than 900 pioneering ideas coming from 70 countries worldwide and close to 50 awardees, the competition has been tirelessly showcasing the concrete benefits of Earth Observation applications in our daily lives.

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The Copernicus Accelerator aims to speed up the uptake of Copernicus by fostering the development of innovative commercial space applications and products. It thus offers a unique coaching service delivered by high-level professionals, who help start-ups turning their groundbreaking ideas into commercialised solutions.

 

Launched in June 2016, the Copernicus Accelerator already provides the best 40 winners and finalists of the Copernicus Masters 2016 with a customised business development support.

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The Copernicus Hackathons are sprint-like events in which computer programmers and subject-experts collaborate intensively to develop software, based on Copernicus data and services. The challenge is to create useful solutions for global problems such as climate change or health challenges by using Earth Observation data.

 

After a first edition organised in November 2016 in Vienna (Austria), the European Commission will finance 20 Copernicus Hackathons every year throughout Europe. The organisers of these events will be chosen following an open call in the summer 2017.

 

 

The Copernicus Incubation Programme will support the most innovative and commercially-promising business applications based on Copernicus data and services. The programme will give 50,000 EUR to 20 European start-ups every year, to finance their incubation in an organisation of their choice (including for instance the ESA Business Incubation Centres or any other incubation/acceleration programme). The management of the programme was awarded to Verhaert, an innovation centre based in Belgium. The selections of start-ups will start in the first semester of 2018. More info will be available on Copernicus.eu.

 

The Copernicus AppCamps will be developed later in 2017.

 

In conclusion, here is depicted the overall architecture of the Copernicus start-ups programme set up by the European Commission:

 

 

 

 

 

In addition to these different initiatives developed specifically for the Copernicus programme, the European Space Agency (ESA) has initiated its own Business Incubation Centres (ESA BICs).

 

The ESA BIC network is an initiative under the Agency´s Technology Transfer Programme Office (ESA TTPO) which aims at inspiring and supporting entrepreneurs to turn space-connected business ideas into commercial companies, and provide technical expertise and business-development support.

 

 


Credits: ESA

The calls for applying to the ESA BICs are always open and new applicants are evaluated and selected several times during the years, typically quarterly, by the individual ESA BICs and ESA TTPO.

 

Proposals must be for the development of business ideas based on new applications, the creation of new products and services based on the spin-off from space technology, materials and expertise from Europe´s space programmes or the use of satellite provided data and information.

 

 

The ESA BICs support the entrepreneurs and start-ups with seed money and offices for a period of typical two years, in addition to comprehensive commercial and technical assistance to help them turn their ideas into viable and successful European businesses.

 

At the end of 2017, the 18 ESA BICs in 15 European countries support yearly 140 start-ups. More than 500 start-ups have been fostered so far creating thousands of new jobs and boosted regional economies. Several more ESA BICs are under preparation.

 

For more information, please visit spacesolutions.esa.int or read about ESA BICs and space spin-off successes in the space solutions book ”Our Future in the Space Agehere.