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The Italian network of ESA Business Incubation Centres is growing

July 27th, 2023
I3P, PoliHub, Officina Stellare and the Brindisi Aerospace Technology District announce the opening of three new nodes to support start-ups in the space sector.

From the synergy between the Italian Space Agency (ASI), the European Space Agency (ESA) and I3P, the Innovative Companies Incubator of Politecnico di Torino, three new Italian nodes join the network of ESA Business Incubation Centres (ESA BICs).

The Italian network, which thus far counted the presence of ESA BIC Turin and ESA BIC Lazio, is expanding with the opening of three more centresESA BIC Milan, ESA BIC Padua and ESA BIC Brindisi. The project is part of the architecture desired by ASI to increasingly position Italy as an innovative hub for space-related entrepreneurship. The aim is therefore to give a significant boost to the creation of new companies and to generate significant spillovers in different industrial sectors through the development of new products, services and business models based on the use of space data and infrastructure.

The new network nodes will be managed by PoliHub (for ESA BIC Milan), Officina Stellare (for ESA BIC Padua) and Distretto Tecnologico Aerospaziale (for ESA BIC Brindisi). The I3P incubator will continue to manage ESA BIC Turin, launched in 2021, and will be responsible for administrative coordination of node activities in collaboration with ASI and ESA.

ESA BIC Milan will partner with the Department of Aerospace Science and Technology of the Polytechnic University of Milan, which will provide the necessary scientific and technological support to the start-ups, and financial support from the Lombardy Region.

ESA BIC Padua, which received the endorsement of the Veneto Region in its presentation phase, will be led by Officina Stellare in collaboration with StartCube, the business incubator of Galileo Visionary District, and will make use of a network of academic and industrial partners. Officina Stellare will provide its entrepreneurial expertise, in addition to its normal incubation mechanisms, to actively contribute to the development of the aerospace industrial sector.

ESA BIC Brindisi will operate with the support of its partners Politecnico di Bari, University of Bari and University of Salento, in addition to the various industrial partners involved, and the financial support of the Apulia Region to exclusively support the incubated start-ups.

Three annual start-up selections are planned; applications for access to the program must be received through the platform https://www.esabic-turin.it/application-process.

Start-ups admitted to the program will receive a €50,000 grant to be used for product or service development, consulting support in technology, business coaching and mentoring, legal advice on aspects of intellectual property rights protection, access to the capital market and a wide network of partners.

"Less than two years after the launch of ESA BIC Turin, we have had confirmation of the vibrancy of the Italian entrepreneurial system on technologies and applications in the space field, with more than 70 projects analyzed and more than 15 start-ups admitted to our program," says Giuseppe Scellato, President of I3P and Coordinator of ESA BIC Turin. "The creation of value for these new companies is based on the network of institutional, industrial and financial partners, start-ups and scale-ups made available by the incubator. In this perspective, the new Italian network of ESA BICs represents an important acceleration factor for the Italian space economy ecosystem."

"The issues of commercialization of space activities, and support for innovation and entrepreneurship, are becoming increasingly relevant to the Italian Space Agency. Today we can easily say that ASI is one of the most sensitive and active national space agencies on these issues," points out Augusto Cramarossa, Head of Strategic Coordination and New Space Economy at ASI. "As a national pillar for the implementation of Space Economy policies, ASI is consolidating and updating day by day its system of tools at its disposal, both nationally and internationally, to promote the birth and growth of young innovative Space companies, not only through funding but also and above all by offering itself as a reference point for dialogue with the public institutions involved and with private actors interested in the current opportunities offered by the so-called New Space Economy."

"We are very happy to welcome ESA BIC Milan, ESA BIC Padua and ESA BIC Brindisi as our new partners in the ESA BIC network!”, says Roberto Cossu, Commercialisation Officer and Country Manager for Italy at ESA. “ESA BIC Lazio and ESA BIC Turin have demonstrated that Italy is a fertile ground for new space related start-ups, both in downstream and upstream areas. The new ESA BIC Milan, ESA BIC Padua and ESA BIC Brindisi, like all the other ESA BICs in the network, will be managed by local champions who will connect start-ups to their local industry, universities, research organisations, government, and investor communities, while also maintaining strong regional and national links.

"I am proud to be able to announce the birth of ESA BIC Milan, which will contribute, together with the other nodes in the network, to the creation of new companies capable of leading the Italian economy toward a sustainable future," says Marco Lovera, Director of the Department of Aerospace Science and Technology at Polytechnic University of Milan. "Thanks to the coordination of PoliHub, we are ready to make available the business acceleration skills, scientific and technological knowledge and laboratories of our department and the industrial and financial relations of the Polytechnic University of Milan, not only to spinoffs coming from our university, but to all those who would like to try their hand at innovation challenges that look at space as a great opportunity."

"It is a real honor for us to contribute to the ESA BIC ecosystem of the European Space Agency," says Giovanni Dal Lago, CEO of Officina Stellare. "With ESA BIC Padua, on the one hand we intend to promote the creation of young companies capable of bringing an engine of innovation through the creation of products, services and processes in our territory, in our Veneto region. On the other hand, ESA BIC is a program that will allow to project our young companies and our territory on a qualifying stage and gain international visibility both in terms of market and investment opportunities."

"We are ready and excited to contribute to the consolidation of the network of Italian ESA BICs through the start-up in Brindisi of the first European Space Agency-labeled incubator in southern Italy and an incubation program that, in addition to featuring our members and partners, will find in the collaboration with the other incubators of the Italian network of BICs a formidable opportunity for the growth of the entire national ecosystem," says Giuseppe Acierno, president of the Aerospace Technology District. "An important result that validates the synergy between the District and institutions starting with the Apulia Region."

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