ESA BIC to open in Northern Germany

30 October 2018

Soon entrepreneurs in Northern Germany can join the ESA Business Incubation Centre (BIC) in Bremen to turn their space ventures into viable start-up companies.

The ESA BIC Northern Germany is planned to open in the coming months to join ESA's European-wide network of 20 ESA BICs already operating in 17 countries.

This was announced earlier this month at the IAC 2018 by ESA Director General Jan Wörner, German Aerospace Centre DLR Director for Space Program Gerd R. Kraft and Senator, Ministry of Economic Affairs, Labour and Ports of the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen Martin Günthner.

It will cover the region of seven German federal states: Bremen, Berlin, Brandenburg, Hamburg, Lower Saxony, Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg-West Pomerania.

The headquarters will be in Bremen, one of Germany’s most important international space hubs. A second branch office is foreseen to open in Berlin in 2020.

Initiated as a spin-off from ESA BIC Bavaria, it will build on the success and experience of the Bavarian centre, thus connecting two of Germany’s most important space regions and extending the ESA BIC innovation network and areas of applications for high-tech start-ups significantly.

In addition to be supported by the German Aerospace Center DLR, for the support of its start-ups, the centre will also be collaborating with the help of the local cluster association AviaSpace Bremen with many of the city's more than the 140 companies and 20 institutes of the space industry and aeronautics sector.

ESA BIC Northern Germany will be led by Aviaspace and Bremer Aufbau-Bank, who run the Starthaus supporting start-ups in every aspect of their formation tobecomingsuccessful companies.

Columbus laboratory on ISS

Being one of the centres in Europe for the production of satellite elements, space systems and aeronautical products for more than 50 years, Bremen possesses decades of experience to support both space spin-off to other sectors as well as space spin-in of new technologies.

The science laboratory Columbus and the ISS cargo spacecraft ATV were both developed at the Airbus plant and also the service module of the new NASA spacecraft Orion comes from factories in Bremen.

Since 1979 the upper stage of the Ariane launch vehicle has been constructed at ArianeGroup factory.

Furthermore, the highly renowned company OHB with its Space Systems division is located in Bremen.

30 new space start-ups

Start-ups will be selected several times during the year to join the ESA BIC and each be offered a two year business incubation package which includes:


  • Free-of-charge access to 80 hours of technical support and expertise, laboratories and testing facilities
  • Incentive seed funding of €50.000 to boost the technological innovation and business development of the new company
  • Access to additional financial facilities through the regional development bank Bremer Aufbau Bank GmbH (BAB)
  • Business development support and advice from specialized business developers and experienced mentors
  • Customized assistance for successful development of sustainable business model
  • Access to office space and shared facilities at the science park BITZ.
  • Access to IP and technology from ESA's portfolio which can form the basis for new technological innovation
  • Facilitated global networking through the international ESA BIC community
  • Facilitated access to international investors, equity investments, European funding programs for commercial space innovation and other financing opportunities
  • Right to use the ESA BIC brand in their promotion towards investors, customers and other stakeholders
  • International promotion through ESA`s space solutions online services

The plan is to foster 4 start-ups in 2018, 10 in 2019, 10 in 2020 and 6 in 2021.

They will be hosted at BITZ (Bremen Innovation and Technology Center)in the Technology Park Bremen.

Fourteen years of successful ESA Business Incubation 

The ESA BIC in Bremen will join the very successful Business Incubation Initiative started by ESA's Technology Transfer and Business incubation Office when its first ESA BIC opened in 2003 in The Netherlands.

Since then over 650 start-ups have been nurtured at the centres, to develop innovative new companies through-out Europe. ESA BICs are today present in 17 European countries providing support to entrepreneurs in over 60 cities.

Each year, 160 new start-ups are taken in for the 2-years business incubation programme.

With the Bremen centre Germany will have three ESA Business Incubation Centres, ESA BIC Hessen & Baden-WürttembergESA BIC Bavaria and ESA BIC Northern Germany.

More about ESA Technology Transfer and space solutions initiatives with its ESA Business Incubation Centres at and

ESA BIC Northern Germany is to open within end of 2018