ESA Start-up Competition Seeks Europe’s Brightest Innovation Stars

PARIS (ESA PR) — ESA is calling on ambitious start-ups to join the new ESA Start-up Competition. This opportunity is open to entrepreneurs in all ESA Member States that are developing innovative services and/or products using space technology. The winners will be offered tailor-made ESA technical and business support in the development of their start-ups, within a mentoring programme.

2020s – The decade of the start-ups in space?

In addition to the mentoring program, the competition winners will also be invited to attend this year 71st International Astronautical Congress (IAC), which will take place in Dubai from the 12–16 October 2020. There, they will get the chance to present their start-ups at ESA’s booth and in other sessions promoted or sponsored by ESA. During IAC, ESA is also organising a Global Networking Forum session dedicated to the important role that start-ups play within the space industry ecosystem.

In parallel, ESA is in conversation with other space agencies to organise a similar start-up competition in their countries so that, at IAC, the most promising companies worldwide can benefit from an excellent platform to present themselves and to network.

How to apply:

  1. Go to
  2. Insert the confirmation of your eligibility
  3. Enter relevant company/corporate information
  4. Supply your company presentation including official state document confirming the incorporation of the company
  5. Upload your video presentation (pitch) of the innovative product and/or services you are offering (not exceeding a duration of five minutes)

How can my start-up be selected?

The following criteria will be taken into consideration:

  • Team – skills, resources and experience
  • Business model – commercial viability and business potential
  • Societal impact of the project – ability to positively impact the users
  • Utility of the project and added value for the users of the product/service, compared with existing products/services
  • Project quality – quality of the information submitted by the start-up

More details on the eligibility, application process and selection criteria can be found here.

An eye on the process:

  1. Submit your application on the website between 2 March and 15 April 2020 (23.59 CEST).
  2. Selection of the top 10 start-ups will be announced on the ESA website on 20 May 2020. These start-ups will be invited to present their business to ESA’s Member State representatives.
  3. Final pitch to ESA where the three winners will be selected. A public announcement of the winners will be available on the ESA Start-up Competition website.
  4. Mentoring program will be offered to the three winners, ending on 31 December 2021.

This competition is launched by ESA with the technical support of AZO Anwendungszentrum GmbH Oberpfaffenhofen.

Join us here and unlock your power to become the SME of tomorrow.