Prague has its first space incubator
10. 5. 2016 | Source: Business and Investment Development Agency (CzechInvest)
The European Space Agency (ESA) has expanded its network of business incubators with the addition of a sixteenth facility. The ESA Business Incubation Centre (BIC) Prague was ceremoniously opened today by Johann-Dietrich Woerner, director general of the ESA, together with CzechInvest CEO Karel Kučera and Adriana Krnáčová, mayor of Prague.
The grand-opening was held at the Prague Mayor’s Residence and was attended by the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Transport together with a number of other important guests. Representatives of CzechInvest and ESA also signed the contract about the establishment of ESA BIC Prague.
- ESA BIC Prague – first space-oriented incubator in Central and Eastern Europe
- Prague has become part of a network of 16 ESA Business Incubation Centres in 13 european countries
- Approximately 1,25 million eur for 25 Czech start-ups over a five-year period
“We welcome Prague to our space family. We are looking forward to Czech Republic's utilisation of interesting space technologies. We believe that entrepreneurs in Prague area and the country through the ESA BIC will engage in new innovative products that we can all benefit from them,” says Johann-Dietrich Woerner, director general of the European Space Agency.
The objective of ESA BIC Prague is to support the use of space technologies in everyday life, thus ensuring support for research, development and innovation and the monetisation of the results thereof. Over a five-year period, up to 25 Czech start-ups will be able to explore the possibility of using space technologies for ordinary life. ESA BIC Prague is operated by CzechInvest who will also arrange support from the Ministry of Industry and Trade for the selected start-ups including an incubation package, also containing consulting and advisory services in the areas of technology and business. Start-ups will also have access to marketing support and assistance with finding partners and potential investors.
The establishment of Prague space incubator was initiated by the Ministry of Transport, which is in the Czech Republic responsible for space activities. CzechInvest then took over the negotiation. “We started negotiations with the European Space Agency and other partners on the establishment of the Prague incubator at the beginning of last year. I am personally very pleased that today the moment has come when we are opening the ESA BIC Prague,” says Karel Kučera, CEO of CzechInvest. “Thanks to the provided resources, completely new horizons will be opened to start-ups focused on space technologies. Prague will become a gateway to space.”
The ESA BIC Prague will be housed in the Prague Startup Centre, which was opened at Palác Adria in March this year. The incubation centre will be co-financed by the City of Prague, which has provided funding in the amount of CZK 22.3 million for the programme. The European Space Agency will provide the same amount.
“We consider support for start-up companies to be very important, especially when it involves the use of complicated space technologies. The ESA BIC Prague is a unique opportunity for Prague entities, as it will help them to obtain financial resources as well as expert consulting and to start doing business based on these technologies,” says Adriana Krnáčová, mayor of Prague.
“We’ve been collaborating with CzechInvest on this prestigious project since the beginning. The Prague space incubator is a major victory for everyone who understands the importance of the progress facilitated by use of space technologies,” adds Minister of Industry and Trade Jan Mládek.
“This is the first such incubator in Central and Eastern Europe. I appreciate that we finished the project successfully and created a program that promotes entrepreneurial ideas and looks for the use of space technology in everyday life,” says Minister of Transport Dan Ťok. “Aerospace brings new technologies and processes to innovate and other industrial areas. Practical applications can move forward the whole economy.”
Since 2012 the headquarters of the European Agency for Global Navigation Satellite System (GSA) is located in Prague. Opening THE ESA BIC Prague confirms the position of Prague as the center of European space activities.