The first space incubator in Sweden, which aims to become the Nordic space hub, is taking in first companies this month.

European Space Agency’s Business Incubation Centre (BIC) Sweden targets to nurture 40 new startups within five years to create a viable industry for the country.

The centre is managed by three existing incubation offices – Arctic Business Incubator in Luleå, Uppsala Innovation Centre (UIC) in Uppsala, and Innovatum incubator (IAB) in Trollhätta.

All three incubators have good track record for space startups, giving rise to companies like Nanospace and ÅAC Microtec, that develop space solutions and miniaturized electronic systems, as well as Kiruna-based Spaceport, that works on commercial space tourism service.

The new incubator opens the doors to space-related startup communities and international space business events for anyone from newbies with innovative ideas to 5-year-old companies that are already in business. Startups as well as individuals from ESA Member states and Canada may apply for the programme. The application should include solid business plan.

ESA grants up to 25,000 euros for the purpose of product or service development, IPR (patenting or acquiring licenses), market studies, and travel to international business fairs (max 10% of the funding). This incentive does not have to be paid back.

In addition, ESA BIC Sweden will work to find local co-funding to match the grant. It will also offer professional mentors, business coaches, office space for 2 years and up to 80 hours of support.

Business Incubator Center Sweden is ESA’s Technology Transfer Programme Office (TTPO) initiative. The TTPO was started in 1990 to help entrepreneurs and startups to launch businesses specialized on space research and developments.

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