The distance between space and our everyday lives is much shorter than we might first think. Even the simplest business idea is able to conquer the galaxy.
With the help of the incubation program of the European Space Agency and Design Terminal, Hungarian companies can now be active participants and winners of this process: they can receive mentoring and a scholarship of up to EUR 50,000 in the ESA BIC Hungary program.
Do you feel weightless when you wear sneakers? Have you ever thought about astronauts while baking pancakes? Countless technological solutions, which are now natural to us, started from the space industry a few decades ago, in the framework of research and development programs that were to conquest space.
The comfortable rubber in your shoes was first used for the astronauts’ helmets, the idea of which was later passed on by a space engineer to one of the world’s largest shoe manufacturers. Dare to say that there is no transition between the space industry and the business sector! Teflon was used to make spacesuits – hence the pancake reference above.
“The space industry is constantly producing solutions that will benefit us all on Earth,” says Matthias Maurer, astronaut at the European Space Agency (ESA). “Using new test equipment on the ISS can also generate new business ideas.”
Hungary has been a full member of ESA since 2015. The organization has been working actively for six years, together with Hungary, on the development of Hungarian space activities. This collaboration is now rising into new spheres: Design Terminal will take over the domestic representation of ESA’s space activities and will now lead the ESA Business Incubation Center Hungary Program, which will pave the way for domestic companies to enter the space industry.
László Jónás, Head of Strategy, spoke about the fact that we are currently moving from the age of ownership to the age of creation. “Instead of machines, the human mind, our own and our community’s knowledge is becoming the most significant means of production. The space industry is one of the most important areas where Hungary can benefit from this. ”
Businesses that enter the space industry have a huge opportunity to develop. Dr. Orsolya Ferencz, Ministerial Commissioner for Space Research of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, emphasized that space research is an area in which anyone can get involved. Not just doctors, engineers or physicists, but also economists, lawyers and young entrepreneurs.
Geraldine Naja, Acting Commercial, Industrial and Procurement Director of the European Space Agency, says that there is a solid fundation to build on the development of the Hungarian space industry. She pointed out that there are plenty of talented young people in Hungary who can stimulate new industrial competencies.
The main goal of ESA BIC Hungary is to develop successful industry startups and to create and strengthen a space industry community in Hungary. Startups in the program will receive a € 50,000 incentive in addition to business mentoring and technical support.
ESA operates a total of 22 incubation centers on the continent and has already supported more than 1,100 businesses. Several of these have now grown into global companies. Design Terminal will provide Hungarian companies with a high level of professional support. DT boasts similar numbers to ESA: the innovation agency’s incubation programs are organized in 12 countries and have already developed more than 1,000 companies.
The 12-24 month incubation program is open to companies whose products and services are based on a new technological invention or use an existing technology in a new way. So put on a business spacesuit, sky’s the limit this time!