We fast-track startup business opportunities!

Imagine having access to the right tools, support and advice to turn your business case into an impactful commercial solution!

We guide entrepreneurs and startups in turning their ideas and inventions into successful businesses with


The ESA Business Incubation Centre (BIC) Bavaria, ESA BIC Northern Germany and ESA BIC North Rhine-Westphalia promote your startup with disruptive products and digital businesses using space technology, applications, and services in a non-space environment.

If you are a startup, we offer you business incubation at five locations in Bavaria, Bremen and Luebeck in Northern Germany, and Aachen and Herten in North Rhine-Westphalia in areas such as robotics, mobile, mobility, automotive, aviation, satellites, etc.

Since 2009, we have been managing the ESA BIC Bavaria supported by the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs, since 2019, the ESA BIC Northern Germany, and since 2022 the ESA BIC North Rhine-Wesphalia – all on behalf of the European Space Agency (ESA).

Startup. Start here. Start now!

ESA BIC Bavaria

The number 1 Space Incubator.

The ESA Business Incubation Centre (BIC) Bavaria promotes companies with disruptive products and digital businesses in areas such as robotics, mobile, mobility, automotive, aviation, satellites, etc.

The ESA Business Incubation Centre (BIC) Bavaria supports pioneering companies with innovative products and digital core competences. At the five Bavarian locations Oberpfaffenhofen, Nuremberg, Ottobrunn, Neubiberg and Würzburg, startups benefit greatly from direct access to space technologies and infrastructures, expert advice and technical equipment. The ESA BIC Bavaria incubation programme offers startups comprehensive support on the road to market entry: from research and development to financing.

The incubation centres are part of a Europe-wide network of numerous ESA Business Incubation Centres. AZO Anwendungszentrum GmbH Oberpfaffenhofen, founded in Bavaria in 2004 as the first European space technology incubator, has been running the ESA BIC Bavaria since 2009 with financial support from the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs and its top-class partners: European Space Agency (ESA), German Aerospace Center (DLR), Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits (IIS), Airbus, Universität der Bundeswehr München, and the Technologie- und Gründerzentrum Würzburg. AZO has also been running the ESA BIC Northern Germany since 2019 and the ESA BIC North Rhine-Westphalia since 2022.

To date, our ESA BIC Bavaria has supported more than 200 startups with an annual turnover of approximately EUR 160 million in 2020, creating more than 3,300 high-tech jobs in Bavaria and involving upwards of EUR 760 million in investments in 2020. Additionally, two ESA BIC alumni have had IPOs between 2017 and 2021, being listed on the German (Frankfurt) and American (NASDAQ) stock exchange successfully. ESA BIC Bavaria is one of the most successful incubation programmes in Europe.

ESA BIC Northern Germany

The ESA Business Incubation Centre (BIC) Northern Germany is the new flagship project for the aeronautics and space sector in Bremen. It is part of the European Space Agency’s (ESA) network, set to take on startups from Bremen as well as from other Federal States in Northern Germany.

ESA BIC North Rhine-Westphalia

As part of the ESA space solutions programme, a new ESA Business Incubation Centre for North Rhine-Westphalia has been started in 2022.


Hackathons have proven to be a very successful tool for generating and scouting for new applications and business ideas, as well as to trigger business opportunities for entrepreneurs, startups, SMEs and students. They are also the perfect occasion for space entrepreneurs to spot the top talents in development, innovation and space technologies.

We manage several hackathon formats and unique coding events.

Copernicus Hackathons

Copernicus Hackathons

We organised the Copernicus Hackathons open call for 40 hackathon organisers. The Copernicus Hackathons by the European Commission were designed as intense events where participants such as developers, coders, students, programmers and other people with creative profiles (and not necessarily technical knowledge) collaborate in small teams on the development of prototypes for new software based on Copernicus Earth observation (EO) data.

These software prototypes tackle societal challenges, e.g. climate change or natural disasters. Started in September 2018, 20 Hackathons with different thematic areas (air, smart cities, safe food, etc.) will take place across Europe by mid-2020.

ESA Space App Camp

ESA Space App Camp Keyvisual

We organise the ESA Space App Camp on behalf of the European Space Agency (ESA). In September each year, ESA invites 10 participants to visit its ESA-ESRIN location in Frascati, Italy, for free.

The goal of the Space App Camp is to produce mobile apps using Earth observation (EO) data on smartphones. In doing so, it focuses on making the most of the possibilities offered by the European Earth observation programme Copernicus, which became operational with the launch of the first Sentinel satellite in April 2014.

During the Space App Camp, ESA provides access to satellite data for the development of mobile applications (Android and iOS) in five predefined categories. A dedicated API makes it easy for participants to integrate EO data into their app.

SpaceAppCamp 2018

Act in Space

In 2018, we organised the local ActInSpace event in Munich. Within this excellent event, participants gained the opportunity to spend 24 hours coding on innovative ideas based on space data and technologies to address international challenges along with like-minded enthusiasts while gaining outstanding support from international experts.

Participants had the rare chance to get free access to new data technologies – including the Copernicus App Lab (an H2020 project) – and to patents from ESA and CNES while undergoing helpful business coaching.

We appreciated the support from our local sponsor KPMG and our national partner DLR!


We manage several acceleration programmes in which young space businesses are taken to the next level:

Coaching, mentoring, financial and technical support turns the next generation of space innovations into real business.

Galileo Incubation

Galileo Incubation

We have been managing the Galileo Incubation (formerly E-GNSS Accelerator) programme since 2017. It is part of the Galileo Masters innovation competition, is funded by the European Commission (EC) and provides multiple benefits to the Galileo Masters winners and finalists, including more prizes, coaching services and four further business incubations worth an additional EUR 1.28 million.

The overall aim of the programme is to support entrepreneurs and startups from EU28, the EEA and ENP countries to move beyond idea conception into business incubation and to promote the development phases of true commercial ventures.

Copernicus Accelerator

We successfully managed the Copernicus Accelerator from 2016 to 2019 on behalf of the European Commission (EC).

The Copernicus Accelerator is an initiative funded by the Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW) of the EC. The DG GROW is responsible for: completing the internal market for goods and services, helping turn the EU into a smart, sustainable, and inclusive economy by implementing the industrial and sectorial policies of the flagship Europe 2020 initiative, fostering entrepreneurship and growth by reducing the administrative burden on small businesses, facilitating access to funding for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and supporting access to global markets for EU companies.

Copernicus Accelerator


New Investment Opportunities!

Become an investor or shareholder of a startup and benefit from the profits! Or finance your startup via crowdinvesting!


SpaceStarters Crowdinvesting

Crowd investing is an attractive alternative to fund your business. Your innovation is supported by the crowd – an online community of small and large investors.

We and SpaceStarters are the first crowdinvesting platform in Germany, run by experienced investors who have more than 18 years of professional investment experience. Crowdfunding at SpaceStarter can be combined with venture capital and business angel financing.

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