In our everyday life, the use of space technologies has become so commonplace that we barely notice their presence: satellite TV, cordless tools, smoke detectors and many more. Several national space agencies as well as ESA develop and support the development of many technologies, systems, data sets, methods, patents, etc. Like the examples mentioned before, all these assets contain enormous “reuse” potential, which is accessible to you, as an entrepreneur, researcher, student or company. Space is the starting point for generating your business idea or providing the innovative edge your company is searching for! See the links below for some inspiration: Check your space connection here.

No. The founding of a company and registration into the commercial register are not necessary for the application and acceptance into the incubation programme. If there is no entry in the commercial register before the incubation begins, the company must be founded at the latest by the midterm review (half of the incubation period).

No. We do not take any equity in your company. But we will request some reporting from you.

The location determines which technical partner will be by your side during the incubation period and will support you with his expertise. You should thus take a close look at the expertise of our technical partners and consider who can help you the most. Please do not select the location according to geographical preferences (e.g. proximity to your home, etc.) or in the hope of winning the technical partner as a customer.

View Partners Bavaria

View Partners ​Northern Germany

We will be happy to advise you on this point and answer your questions on this subject.

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The incubation lasts either 12, 18 or 24 months and can be defined by you in the application itself. The incubation start is always on the 1st or 15th of a month and is determined by you when signing the contract. As a rule of thumb, there are six weeks between the application deadline and the signing of the contract.

The 3 (three) filled application templates (Cover Letter, Business Plan and Incubation Proposal) including all relevant annexes are needed for a complete application. Please refer to the official documents (download the documents for Bavaria or Northern Germany) or contact your local ESA BIC manager for more details.

The selection process is based on standard and transparent ESA processes.
After the deadline, what is known as the TOB (tender opening board) ¬ a jury ¬ will meet and evaluate all of the applications solely on the basis of formal requirements. If your application does not meet all of the formal requirements, we will contact you to resubmit your updated application electronically within 48 hours. If you have successfully passed the TOB, we will invite you to the TEB (tender evaluation board) meeting. The TEB usually takes place about three weeks after the deadline. You will receive an individual timeslot for the TEB meeting, where you have the chance to pitch your business to our experts (15 minutes) and answer their questions (15 minutes). The experts will make a decision right after each applicant. Very shortly after the TEB meeting, we will contact you and inform you about the outcome of your application.

Yes, of course! Please apply again – as often as you wish.

You can find all of the evaluation criteria in the Open Call documents.

The ESA Business Incubation Centres (BICs) Bavaria and Northern Germany promote pioneering companies with disruptive products and digital businesses. The incubation programme provides a comprehensive support programme, from research and development to financing, all the way through to market entry.

At the three Bavarian locations, Oberpfaffenhofen, Ottobrunn and Nuremberg and Bremen in Northern Germany, startups highly benefit from the direct access to space technologies and –infrastructures, expert advice and technical facilities. ESA BIC Bavaria and Northern Germany are part of the Europe-wide network with numerous ESA Business Incubation Centres.

Established 2004 in Bavaria as the first European space incubator, AZO Anwendungszentrum GmbH Oberpfaffenhofen has been managing ESA BIC Bavaria since 2009 with financial support from the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs (StMWi) and its first-class partners: European Space Agency (ESA), German Aerospace Center (DLR), Airbus, Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits (IIS), Kreissparkasse München-Starnberg-Ebersberg and Sparkasse Nuremberg. Additionally, since 2019 AZO manages the new ESA BIC Northern Germany in Bremen, which is operated by AVIASPACE BREMEN e.V. and Bremen’s regional development bank, BAB, with support of world-class partners.

It is most important to us, of course, that all of the formal requirements are met, e.g. that a connection to space exists. But, besides the formal criteria, the experts mainly evaluate the startups on their business case. This includes the team, the market, etc. But, since this is a very transparent process, you can find all of the selection criteria in the Open Call on the apply pages.

No. We do not force anyone to be present in the incubator for a certain number of hours or at certain times. As a founder, you know best where and how your company will be successful (in the office, with the customer, in the laboratory, etc.). That’s why we leave it up to you where, when and how you work. But, of course, we are happy when we see you in the corridor, in the kitchen or at the coffee machine in the incubation centre.

Yes. The EUR 50,000 financial support consists of EUR 25,000 from the European Space Agency (ESA) and EUR 25,000 from the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs (StMWi). The money from the StMWi is explicitly earmarked for “current operating expenses”, e.g. marketing expenses. The ESA part of the funding, on the other hand, is to be used primarily for product/service development.

Only the share of the StMWi amounting to EUR 25,000 is considered de minimis aid.

Yes. Incubatees and alumni (up to 3 years after incubation) can receive support in applying for additional ESA funding through the ESA BIC Booster. For more information please visit the ESA BIC Booster.

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