ESA BIC start-up incubator appeals for fresh founder talent in Ireland

19 May 2023

Peter Smyth, chair, ESA Space Solutions Ireland; Prof Helen Roche, UCD; Minister Neale Richmond; and Conor Sheehan, Enterprise Ireland. Image: Nick Bradshaw/Fotonic

To date, the ESA incubator has supported 29 Ireland-based companies to develop business ideas based on space data and assets.

ESA BIC Ireland, an incubator programme for high-potential start-ups that is run by the European Space Agency’s Space Solutions Centre in Ireland, is recruiting its next cohort of participants.

The two-year business incubator is funded by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, through Ireland’s membership of the European Space Agency (ESA).

The deadline for applications from start-ups interested in participating in the programme is 6 June. Start-ups operating in a broad range of innovation and tech sub-sectors are welcome to apply. Those that demonstrate an interest in the use of space data and assets as part of their business are particularly encouraged to apply.

ESA BIC Ireland is one of 28 ESA BIC networks across ESA member states. It offers participants funding of up to €50,000, as well as access to training, networking events and supports.

Some of the Irish programme’s previous participants include deep-tech materials start-up PlasmaBound, agritech Proveye and Cork’s ApisProtect.

It partners with Irish universities and institutions such as Maynooth University, University College Dublin (UCD) and the Tyndall National Institute.

To date, the 29 companies supported by ESA BIC Ireland have raised €37m in equity funding and currently employ 165 people.

The incubator’s impact on the Irish space and tech sector was celebrated at a showcase event held at UCD yesterday (18 May).

It was attended by previous participants and Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Neale Richmond, TD.

“It has been an exciting few years for the space industry in Ireland and it’s great to see Irish technology has been part of many international initiatives such as the Juice mission and the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope,” Richmond said.

He praised the ESA BIC incubator for its “fantastic work” in supporting early-stage companies.

The Juice mission is a project focused on Jupiter exploration. Three scientists based at the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies worked on the radio and plasma wave instrument that will characterise the radio emission and plasma environment of the planet and its moons.

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Blathnaid O’Dea was a Careers reporter at Silicon Republic until 2024.