You have a question?

In this list of frequently asked questions (FAQs), we compiled recurring questions that come from potential applicants and start-ups. If you cannot find the answer to your question here, please contact us.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is ESA BIC Austria the right place for incubation of my start-up? Is my project a good fit for the ESA BIC?

We can help you answer this question: please go ahead and fill in our typeform or contact us at spacesolutions@sciencepark.at!

What is the “space connection”?

This is why our programme is unique. We created a dedicated section about it to help you with this topic: explore here or contact us at spacesolutions@sciencepark.at!

Who can apply? Can I apply if the company is not yet established?

You can apply as a natural person/team or as a company.

If you are applying as a natural person or a team, if selected, you must be able to incorporate your start-up in Styria, Lower Austria or Salzburg before signing the Incubation Contract.

If you are applying as a company, in order to be considered eligible, your legal entity must be located in Styria, Lower Austria or Salzburg, it should not be older than 5 years and the majority of the company shares cannot belong to another company (or companies).

How many projects does ESA BIC Austria accept per Open Call?

ESA BIC Austria selects about 12 start-ups per year and there are no constraints as to the number of start-ups accepted at each selection round. What is critical to be accepted is to meet the evaluation criteria.

 

The permanent open call for ESA BIC Austria has 2 or 3 cut-off dates per year. Exact dates for the upcoming deadlines can be found on the application webpage.

What do I have to submit in order to successfully apply for the ESA BIC Austria open call?

The full application documentation can be found here. Please carefully read through all the documents. 

Main documentation consists of 

  • Cover Letter: Information about the applicant and summary of the project;
  • Business Plan: Team background, value proposition, market analysis, business model, risk and financial projection for the start-up;
  • Incubation Proposal: Overview of the work that should be carried out during the incubation period.
How does the evaluation process look like? What is the Tender Evaluation Board?

The evaluation procedure is carried out in two stages:

First Stage: The Tender Opening Board (TOB) takes place after the submission deadline is closed and it assesses if all formal requirements have been met. This is a crucial step to staying in the application process.

Second stage: The Tender Evaluation Board (TEB) meeting takes place after the TOB to evaluate the submitted documents and the start-ups’ performance at a pitch (10 to 15 minutes) and Q&A session (up to 30 minutes). The TEB evaluates each of the applicants against the evaluation criteria and takes a decision whether or not the start-up will be invited to sign an incubation contract. The TEB is managed by Science Park Graz and ESA together with the Aeronautics and Space Agency (ALR/FFG), with the participation of local and regional Government bodies, accent Inkubator, ITG, Steiermärkische Sparkasse and space technology experts. The TEB meeting usually takes place about a month after the submission deadline. The start-up will get to know the results of the TEB meeting shortly after it takes place!

What are the evaluation criteria for the Tender Evaluation Board?

You can find the evaluation process and criteria in the Instructions for BAP, Evaluation Process and Criteria here.

What can I do to increase my chances of getting accepted?

Start–ups can be accepted into the Science Park Academy and supported in the initial development of their business concept. During the Academy, our consultants provide training and guidance in all areas relevant for the application. However, the applicant is responsible for all preparatory work on the proposal and for the submission in due time. If you are interested in joining our Science Park Academy, please contact us at spacesolutions@sciencepark.at.

Can I re-apply if my application was rejected?

Yes! If your application is rejected you will receive feedback that will help you improve it and re-apply in the next cut-off date. We also recommend you to get in contact with us so we could support you.

Where does the company need to be registered?

In order to be incubated in ESA BIC Austria, the company must be registered either in Styria, Lower Austria or Salzburg. Styrian start-ups will be incubated at Science Park Graz, while Lower Austria-based start-ups will be incubated at accent Inkubator. Salzburg start-ups will be supported by ITG.

If I am accepted, how long does it take to sign the incubation contract?

Upon acceptance, the start-up will be invited for the “Contracting Meeting”. If a legal entity is already created, and the ESA BIC Austria Incubation Contract terms are accepted by the start-up, the signature is a matter of weeks (after minimum required information is submitted, e.g. statements of compliance with tax and social security).

Will the Incubator or ESA take equity in the incubated company?

No. ESA BIC is a zero-equity incubation programme.

How long is the incubation period?

The incubation period is up to 24 months.

What is the financial incentive payment plan?

The financial incentive of 50.000 EUR will be paid in the following manner: the first instalment of 20.000 EUR will be transferred to the incubatee upon signature of the incubation contract. The second instalment of 20.000 EUR will be paid upon successful Mid-Term Report and deliverables and the Final instalment of 10.000 EUR will be paid upon acceptance of the Final Report and all deliverables defined in the contract.

Is the financial incentive de minimis relevant?

Half of the ESA BIC Austria incentive is provided by ESA and the other half from the regional partners (Business Promotion Agency in Styria (SFG), Provincial Government of Lower Austria or the Innovation Service for Salzburg (ITG), depending on the region the start-up is located in). The regional part of the incentive (25.000 EUR) constitutes a State Aid and is de minimis relevant. The limit for de minimis is 200.000 EUR over any rolling three-year period for any business. The start-up is responsible for ensuring compliance with the State Aid limits. You can find more about de minimis regulations here.

What can the incentive be used for? Which costs are eligible? Can it be used to pay rent for office space? Does it cover the VAT?

The incentive can only be used for prototype development costs and IPR protection or licencing. The funding cannot be used to pay salaries for employees and/or founders. Only third-party costs from service providers or suppliers are accepted.

The costs of office accommodation, as well as other operating costs are not eligible costs.

The incentive cannot cover any VAT. Therefore, all expenditures must be reported as net amounts.

Can the incentive be spent outside of Austria?

Only in exceptional circumstances when an appropriate product or service cannot be found in Austria. However, exceptions should be discussed and approved by your ESA BIC Austria consultant in advance.

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