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The development of the space industry is one of the core measures of the incubation centre of the European Space Agency (ESA) for startups in Northern Germany: “European Space Agency Business Incubator” (ESA BIC Northern Germany). It is part of the innovation strategy of the Land Bremen 2030. The incubation centre is geared towards transferring space applications to other industries or, conversely, integrating innovations from other industries into space.
Aeronautics and space are the key industries in the state of Bremen. In order to strengthen the future of the City of Aerospace, the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Labour and Europe has been funding the ESA Incubation Centre in Northern Germany since 2019. The incubation programmes that have already proven successful come from the fields of agriculture, information technologies such as big data, logistics, maritime applications, tourism, wind energy, manufacturing and materials. Many different key industries and key technologies in the state of Bremen benefit from the new business ideas. Currently, the strongest trend is emerging in the area of digitization and artificial intelligence.
ESA has agreed to extend the programme for another six years – until the end of 2027. This means that the state of Bremen can continue the ESA BIC Northern Germany, allowing the space incubation centre to continue further developing its content.
Kristina Vogt, the Minister for Economic Affairs, Labour and Europe, welcomes this decision by the Ministry and emphasises, “the incubator has already signed up 13 cross-sector space startups. This shows that there is demand and that we are supplying it. Through the extension, we can and will further develop the programme accordingly. We will provide the necessary support on a much broader basis by expanding tailored consultations, needs-oriented workshops, individualised coaching, and other tools to help even more startups’ ideas achieve commercial success.”
At the same time, the regional coordination of ESA BIC Northern Germany activities is to be advanced not only in Schleswig-Holstein, as is already the case today, but for Northern Germany in total, including Berlin/Brandenburg, with the co-financing measures lying exclusively in the respective states.
About ESA BIC Northern Germany
The Incubation Centre of the European Space Agency in Northern Germany (ESA BIC Northern Germany) is headquartered jointly with the Bremen aeronautics and space industries association AviaSpace Bremen at the BITZ, the largest innovation and technology centre for high-tech companies and startups in Bremen. The ESA BIC Northern Germany brings new startup opportunities to the region and thus strengthens the aeronautics and space sector in the German federal state of Bremen. AviaSpace Bremen supports the incubatees with its network, public relations work and targeted coaching not only during the incubation period, but also afterwards as alumni. Starthaus is the central point of contact in the Bremen startup ecosystem and supports the startups on all issues relating to business development and financing. The ESA BIC Northern Germany is managed by Anwendungszentrum GmbH Oberpfaffenhofen (AZO), an international networking and branding company for the European space programmes that also manages ESA BIC Bavaria with three locations in southern Germany.
Since 2021, ESA BIC Northern Germany has also been offering its service to space-related startups in Schleswig-Holstein. The Technikzentrum Lübeck with GATEWAY49, AviaSpace Bremen and AZO jointly operate this extension of ESA BIC Northern Germany. There are also plans to extend ESA BIC Northern Germany to the northern German federal states of Hamburg, Lower Saxony, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Berlin-Brandenburg.