Estonia boosts space spin-offs

7 November 2017

ESA’s 17th Business Incubation Centre opened today in Estonia to support entrepreneurs for turning space technology and satellite services into terrestrial business ventures.

As the first in the Baltics, ESA Business Incubation Centre (BIC) Estonia joins the Agency´s European-wide incubation network which has fostered more than 500 new companies and each year supports addition 140 new ones.

“We promote progress and growth across Europe by making our knowledge and technology available to be used beyond space, and we are happy that Estonia joins with this new centre,” said ESA Director General Jan Woerner at the opening.

Jan Woerner

“Estonian companies have been cooperating with ESA for five years, and have demonstrated excellent space capabilities and potential for developing services and applications from space-related technologies.

“Through our Technology Transfer Programme with its Business Incubation Centres 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.”

The Estonian Minister of Entrepreneurship and Information Technology Urve Palo emphasised that, “ESA BIC Estonia will bring the Estonian space community closer together.”

Panel discussion

“It will be a platform where engineers and scientists can create novel products or services using space technologies. I am glad to be celebrating this opening during a very important time for Estonia – the Presidency of the Council of the EU.

“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.”

The consortium behind the Estonian centre includes 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.

ESA BIC Estonia opening

The implementation and the management will be led by Tartu Science Park in cooperation with Tallinn Science Park Tehnopol, with business incubation activities in Tardu and Tallinn. Over the coming five years the centre will support entrepreneurs to start 20 new companies developing services and products for citizens and industry in non-space sectors.

“We expect the craziest solutions and most creative teams and start-ups,” said ESA BIC Estonia Manager Andrus Kurvits pointing out that it is a giant leap for Estonia and for the Estonian start-up scene.

Tehnopol’s Startup Incubator Manager Martin Goroško added, “Each year we are helping around 45 tech companies to reach a sustainable income or first private funding. More and more we see companies who are developing space related technologies.”

ESA Business Incubation Centre Estonia opening ceremony 7 November 2017

ESA BIC Estonia will support start-ups with pre-seed funding of €50 000 with an additional loan facility of €50 000, business and technical support, office space, and access to ESA Business Incubation centres´ networks, and the opportunities within ESA Technology Transfer Programme, ESA Intellectual Properties and ESA Business Applications.

ESA’s Technology Transfer Programme started its business incubation initiative in 2004, and has now grown to 17 Business Incubation Centres in 14 European countries, which altogether provide support to start-ups at more than 40 locations throughout Europe.

More on ESA Business Incubation Centre Estonia here, and with information on how to apply. The first deadline is 23 November 2017. 

More on ESA Business Incubation Centre´s here


Poul Z Nielsen
Senior Editor
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