Belgium brings entrepreneurs closer to space technology

13 November 2018

Space technology and know-how provide our world with lots of innovation opportunities. How far is space from our daily activity? ESA Space Solutions Belgium aims at bringing us all closer to space.

Set-up by Verhaert, imec.istart and Galaxia Space Innovation by bundling their activities to bring space and other sectors closer together, the new ESA Space Solutions Belgium centre will bridge space technology transfer and business incubation in order to boost innovation. It will strengthen the Belgium space ecosystem and provide better opportunities for entrepreneurs to create start-ups and spin-offs from Europe's space programmes.

Innovate with space

Matchmaking one-to-one meetings

“To be successful in technology transfer and incubation, you need more than just coaching,” says Koen Verhaert, CEO of Verhaert Masters in Innovation.

“Product development is an essential element in the process to create successful innovations.

“ESA Space Solutions Belgium offers support to entrepreneurs who have innovative ideas using space technology and/or know-how.”

ESA Space Solution Belgium inaugurated

Jacques Nijskens (Belspo), Frank Salzgeber (ESA) and Sam Waes (Verhaert)

At the opening last Wednesday, Verhaert presented ESA Space Solutions Belgium to about 140 guests at Agoria's BluePoint in Brussels.

Before the opening, matchmaking took place with more than 230 one-to-one meetings.

"With ESA Space Solutions Belgium, we want to bring space companies in contact with other sectors in the first place", says Sam Waes, Verhaert and ESA Space Solutions Belgium coordinator.

"Personal interactions are crucial to create new collaborations. In addition, we want to make entrepreneurs aware of the different support options in the Belgian space ecosystem."

ESA Space Solutions: Technology Transfer and Business Incubation

Verhaert has been active in Belgium's National Technology Transfer Initiative since 2014. On behalf of ESA, from 2016, Verhaert has been managing the ESA Technology Transfer Broker Network of 16 national brokers throughout Europe.

Entrepreneurs and start-up companies that want to use space technology or know-how can apply for financial support of up to €35.000 to set up feasibility studies and demonstration projects. In addition, they also get access to the extensive database of ESA patents and technologies.

Start-up panel at ESA Space Solutions Belgium grand opening

ESA Space Solutions Belgium combines Verhaert`s national technology transfer activities with Galaxia Space Innovation and imec.istart`s activities in business incubation fostering start-ups.

In Wallonia, Galaxia Space Innovation, the regional consortium of Skywin, Idelux, CSL and WSL, operates the ESA Business Incubation Centre near the ESA Redu centre.

In Flanders, this is done in collaboration with imec.istart, the leading acceleration and incubation programme of imec, that operates two ESA Business Incubation Centre sites in Geel and Mol.

Julien Tallineau (Veoware)

The incubation program of ESA Space Solutions Belgium is aimed at start-ups working with space technology on new solutions for non-space sectors - space spin-out - or seeing an application in space for their own technology - space spin-in.

Interested Belgian entrepreneurs and start-ups can apply through open calls to receive business set-up support with an economical incentive of up to 50.000 euros funding.

First three start-ups announced

During the ESA Space Solutions Belgium launch event, the first three start-ups of the incubation programme were announced:

Veoware Space uses high resolution images of satellites for geographical information projects (GEOINT).

Pierre-Francois Migeotte (Heartkinetics)

Heart Kinetics developed an instrument to accurately monitor heart functions in a non-invasive way.

AirShaper offers an online platform to assess aerodynamics through a simulation performed on a cloud-based wind tunnel software.

Part of ESA Space Solutions

ESA Space Solutions Belgium is part of the very successful ESA Space Solutions initiative started by ESA's Technology Transfer and Business incubation Office.

ESA Space Solutions focuses on encouraging space entrepreneurship and innovation, both in space and non-space sectors. Successfully it has brought space technology, systems and expertise as well as the use of satellite data down to Earth to improve our everyday lives and European non-space industry.

Over 650 start-ups have been nurtured at the space solutions ESA Business Incubation Centres (ESA BICs), 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 booster programme.

More about ESA Technology Transfer Programme and ESA Space Solutions` initiatives at and .

More about ESA Space Solutions Belgium at

About Verhaert 

Verhaert Masters in Innovation is a leading integrated product innovation company helping companies and entrepreneurs to innovate, creating new products, businesses and services. In 2014, Verhaert was selected by BELSPO and ESA to promote the National Technology Transfer Initiative in Belgium. Thanks to this successful pioneering role, Verhaert was selected as the coordinating manager for ESA Technology Transfer Network in 2016.

More on Verhaert here

About imec.istart

imec.istart is the incubation program of imec, a world-leading R&D and innovation hub in nanoelectronics and digital technologies. The imec.istart team has been in operations since mid 2011 and has supported over 160 start-ups so far. The program was the first in its kind in Belgium and has received international recognition by different organizations.

More about imec.istart here

About Galaxia Space Innovation

Galaxia is a 2.000 m² business park dedicated to space applications, located in Transinne. Developed by the Belgian-Luxembourg development agency IDELUX in 2008, it is directly connected to the ESA Redu satellite ground control facilities enabling satellite applications development. Sited next to the Euro Space Center, Galaxia also aims to offer opportunities within established companies to students and researchers. Galaxia has become the 3rd Walloon pole dedicated to the space sector, with a total of 130 specialized jobs.

More about Galacia Space Innovation here


Poul Z Nielsen
Senior Editor