ESA BIC Switzerland: from Space to Earth

© ESA BIC Switzerland / Fotofabrik / Udo Sollberger

The overall aim of ESA BIC Switzerland is not to simply copy the models already entered into force under ESA BIC, but to create a model that's fit-for-purpose and supports Switzerland with its specific needs and potential. Ideally, ESA BIC Switzerland will create the most sought after, and most demanding programme for the best companies in Space Technology and Applications, attracting local and international talent and financing.

ESA BIC Switzerland

How does it work?

The ESA BIC Switzerland application and incubation process is outlined in the following illustration. More information about the exact steps and requirements can be found on the Website of the ESA BIC Switzerland.

ESA BIC Switzerland Incubation Steps
ESA BIC Switzerland Incubation Steps
© ESA BIC Switzerland

History and Objectives

On March 26th 2015, ESA and Switzerland signed a Memorandum of Understanding regarding Switzerland's Plans to implement a Business Incubation Center (Called ESA BIC Switzerland) with the goal to facilitate and foster the creation of start-up companies active in and/or related to Space technologies.

This Business Incubator Initiative is a very important ingredient to the future Space Industry landscape and one of the sources for a more competitive and successful space sector in Switzerland.

Key elements of ESA BIC Switzerland are the following:

  • Finance: 5 MEUR per annum over five years with a share of up to 40% coming from the Confederation (via its ESA Budget) and the rest being covered by cantons and/or private partners, allowing the funding of 10 startups per year.
  • Hosting Entity & Location: Both the hosting entity and the location of ESA BIC Switzerland will be selected with a competition open to all interested parties in Switzerland. This includes but is not limited to potential partners from the institutional, industrial, academic and financial sectors throughout Switzerland. The Swiss Space Office and related institutions (notably the Swiss Space Center) are excluded from the competition.
  • Type of Incubatees: ESA BIC Switzerland covers the entire spectrum of space and space related domains, including space technologies, their spin-out, spin-in and spin-off as well as the use of space infrastructure and data. The BIC will actively seek opportunities for Technology Transfer and Brokering, and Matchmaking as well as potentially integrate initiatives like the IAP Ambassador Platform into its operations.
  • Governance: Selecting winning ideas and incubatees via a competitive bottom-up process, without prescription from the state on the topics or areas of incubation.
  • Timeline:
    - Setup of the BIC and first selection of incubatees Fall 2016,
    - Operational Pilot Phase starting November 2016.

Information about the upcoming selection campaigns, informations for potential applicants and more can be found on the ESA BIC Switzerland Website.


SERI, Aurélie Pezous
+41 58 46 53199