Sustainable funding for German space start-ups – Parabolic Arc

  • Funding for ESA’s German Business Incubation Centers (BICs) has been secured for a further four years.
  • Funding for the incubation program will be increased by nearly 70% to a total of €11.6 million.
  • By 2025, the program will have 13 sites in seven federal states.

BERLIN, Germany (DLR PR) — The financial future of ESA’s German Business Incubation Centers (BICs) is secured in the years to come: within the framework of the ESA Investor Forum, which s is held from May 16 to 17, 2022 in Berlin, Luca del Monte, Head of Marketing at the European Space Agency (ESA) and Dr. Walther Pelzer, DLR Board Member and Head of the Space Agency Germany to DLR, the extension of funding for another four years has been announced. Funding will also be increased by approximately 70%. The objective of the incubation centers is to support the commercial use of space technologies and satellite services in non-space markets (spin-off) and the use of new technologies in space (spin-in).

“The promotion of high technology, innovation and commercialization in the space sector is a central task of the German Space Agency at DLR”, explains Dr. Walter Pelzer. “ESA’s Business Incubation Centers have established themselves as an important part of the German space travel innovation ecosystem in recent years. I am therefore particularly pleased that we can support almost twice as many young companies in implementing their visions over the next four years.

11.6 million euros for the realization of innovative business ideas

Compared to the previous contractual period, the funding for the incubation program has increased by almost 70% to a total of 11.6 million euros. Over the next four years, around 300 start-ups will be supported by ESA’s BICs in realizing their innovative space-related business ideas. In the two-year incubation program, start-ups receive financial and infrastructural support, mentorship, management support and access to a comprehensive network.

“Because of forward-looking product ideas and new business models, start-ups are a key driver for the NewSpace sector,” says Dr. Pelzer. “Especially in this area, it is important to develop future technologies together with German start-ups and to ensure Germany’s international competitiveness as a space location.” Half of the financial assistance for business creation comes from German contributions to the ESA program and half from funds from the federal states in which the BIC sites are located.

Local partners from industry and science are available for technical support to assist companies in various specialist fields in the development of their services and products. The incubation centers are rooted in the territories and ensure the sustainable development of industry and research there. Overall, ESA’s BICs in Germany have contributed to the creation of more than 4,200 high-tech jobs to date and the 356 start-ups supported to date have generated sales of over 300 million dollars. euros.

By 2025, the program will have 13 sites in seven federal states

“We can already see today that space travel-based start-ups are generating new impulses, innovations and forward-looking technologies for space travel itself, but also for a large number of other sectors of the economy,” says Dr. Franziska Zeitler, Head of Innovation and New Markets at the German Space Agency at DLR. “This is a good reason for the German Space Agency to use its contribution to the ESA program to invest in promoting the creation of new companies. The lasting success of the German ESA-BIC is also due to the close cooperation with the participating federal states and their financial commitment.

Since the establishment of the first BIC sites in Bavaria and Hesse in 2004 and 2007, the space incubation network in Germany has expanded to seven sites in four federal states by the end of 2021. Thanks to the increased budget through 2025, the program will continue to expand to 13 sites in seven federal states. German contributions to the ESA-BIC program are funded by the German Space Agency at DLR and the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection (BMWK).


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