Two years after the establishment of the first Czech space incubator, ESA BIC Prague, firms outside of Prague are getting the opportunity to use technologies and systems of the European Space Agency (ESA). A branch of the space incubator had its grand opening in Brno today on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the first spaceflight of Czechoslovak astronaut Vladimír Remek. The new branch will be housed in the South Moravian Innovation Centre (JIC) and over the next three years it will support up to nine progressive start-ups that are seeking uses for space technologies in everyday life.
The Brno branch was opened by ESA representative Frank Sazlgeber, outgoing Minister of Transportation Dan Ťok, deputy governor of the South Moravia region Jan Vitula and Jan Urban, acting CEO of CzechInvest. The first Czechoslovak astronaut, Vladimír Remek, appeared at the grand opening as an honoured guest.
Based on a contract concluded with CzechInvest, the South Moravia region will provide EUR 300,000 for the operation of the branch in Brno. The European Space Agency, which operates a network of space incubators around Europe, will contribute the same amount to the project. Today CzechInvest and the South Moravian Innovation Centre signed a contract on cooperation ensuring provision of the centre’s facilities for innovative firms to the incubated start-ups.
“Soon after the Prague space incubator began operation, we knew that firms throughout the Czech Republic and not only in Prague had the potential to develop space technologies for practical use in everyday life. The projects that Czech firms have brought to ESA BIC Prague helped us to convince ESA that opening another branch is clearly a step in the right direction,” says Tereza Kubicová, head of CzechInvest’s Department of Internal Projects and Support for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises.
The first start-ups could enter the Brno space incubator in June this year. In addition to financial support in the amount of up to EUR 50,000, facilities in the South Moravian Innovation Centre, consulting and advisory services in the technical and business areas, marketing support and assistance with finding partners and potential investors, the start-ups can mainly expect to receive a valuable opportunity to access the extraordinary know-how of the European Space Agency.
The European Space Agency operates a network of eighteen Business Incubation Centres around Europe. Since 2004, these centres have incubated nearly 600 start-ups, which have helped bring space technologies into everyday life. ESA BIC Prague is currently incubating ten firms: Festka, NG Aviation, Triphood, TuddyTuddy, Big Terra, InsightART, Let’s Earth, NaviRider, FoxWorks Aerospace and SMUP – UQ.
The ESA BIC branch in Brno is a joint project of CzechInvest, the South Moravia region, the Ministry of Transportation and the European Space Agency. The branch will be housed in the South Moravian Innovation Centre.