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Copernicus 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.




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.




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. Launched in February 2017, the programme will financially support the incubation of 20 European start-ups every year for the next 3 years.


The Copernicus AppCamps will be developed later in 2017.


In conclusion, here is depicted the overall architecture of the Copernicus start-ups programme: