ESA BIC Brindisi: 12 start-ups competing at the first selection

Two months after the presentation of ESA BIC (Business Incubation Centre) Brindisi, the program of a business incubator coordinated by Dta (Aerospace Technology District) there is evidence of a growing interest of start-ups and informal groups interested in developing solutions and services that include the use of space-based systems (satellite navigation, earth observation, satellite communication), the application of space technologies in non-space contexts (spin-out). There are currently 12 start-ups and informal groups that participated in the first pre-selection, which ended on January 15, and proposed applications to be admitted to the program, which provides a series of incentives, including: a non-repayable grant of 50,000 euros; the accompaniment of a team of professionals with technical and managerial experience to overcome obstacles; and access to state-of-the-art laboratories.

Among the ideas proposed: The development of solutions in the field of detection and environmental monitoring of radioactive elements derived from technologies already used for deep space observation; the development of transmitters for small satellites to enable communication with satellites of large commercial SATCOM constellations and optimize data exchange to and from the ground; the creation of an agricultural intelligence platform that links satellite, IoT and drone data into a single solution, providing information to increase yields and reduce environmental impact; the creation of an inflatable balloon that can accommodate a space rocket inside it, for the purpose of transporting it to an altitude of about 50Km and, only then, having the engines ignite to launch the rocket; the development of an operational vertical space launch infrastructure; and the development of innovative software solutions for managing spacecraft design and manufacturing. Nine of the 12 proposals being evaluated were submitted by informal groups or start-ups from Puglia, with the other proposals coming from Marche, Lombardy and Lazio. Esa Bic Brindisi, the only one launched by the European Space Agency in southern Italy following the tender won by DTA, has been located at Dta’s headquarters in the Citadel of Research.

The start-ups will be financed with funds from ESA, made available by the Italian Space Agency, and the Region of Puglia.The Italian Space Agency’s efforts to develop the network of BICs in Italy is certainly commendable in its intent to foster the emergence of a new space entrepreneurship
In recent years, the space sector has experienced extraordinary growth, driven by new market demands, disruptive innovations and a radical transformation of business models. Over the next decade, new emerging markets are expected to emerge in this sector. Space innovations are not limited to the cosmos, but have a significant impact on Earth. In Apulia, too, the work done by Dta and its members since 2009 has created a system that is increasingly rich and attractive to young people and star-ups in the sector. The use of data from space and the generation of spillover processes from space technologies have a major influence on several economic sectors. It can well be said that “Space lives on Earth,” since all activitiesthat are tested and developed in space find applications and serve to ensure services on Earth.

Dta President and CEO Giuseppe Acierno highlights. “We decided to make a major economic and financial effort to manage the first and only Esa Bic in southern Italy after winning the European Space Agency tender. It is an investment that is not for profit, but is in support of the birth and development of innovative enterprises in Puglia, the Mezzogiorno and Italy. The significant result achieved after two months from the launch that presents us with twelve informal groups or start-ups ready to bet with new business ideas motivates us further and shows how much vitality and innovative entrepreneurial spirit there is among the young people who constitute our real future and for whom we will provide economic resources, skills and infrastructure to grow in the global market and become protagonists.”

For Mario Erario, Dta project manager, “the result obtained in this first cut-off date, with 12 proposals received, looks positive. Only two months after the launch of ESA BIC Brindisi, there is evidence of considerable interest in facing the stimulating challenge of creating new business ventures in the space sector. Our ultimate goal is to build a territorial community of space startups, serving as an aggregation point of expertise and generating additional entrepreneurial initiatives outside the incubator as well.”

A pre-incubation course will be organized in the coming months to offer knowledge contributions on the world of start-ups and the space economy and to motivate and inspire all those who want to start new initiatives in the sector. Actions will also be organized to support and accompany teams interested in writing their application to ESA BIC Brindisi and to prepare for participation in new selections. The incubation program lasts 24 months. Selected start-ups will be involved in a full schedule of appointments and workshops with putting them in touch with partners, investors and clients.
The network of Esa Business Incubation Centers has 29 centers in Europe. The other Italian centers are located in Milan, Turin, Padua and Rome.

All information about upcoming activities will be available on the website and on social channels Linkedin, Facebook and Instagram.