In Brief

New ESA BIC Opens in Brno

The European Space Agency (ESA) Business Incubation Centre (BIC) has opened a second Czech branch in Brno, celebrating what the Ministry of Transportation and CzechInvest have declared to be Czech Space Year.

“Soon after the Prague space incubator began operation, we knew that firms throughout the Czech Republic – not only in Prague – had the potential to develop space technologies for practical use in everyday life,” said Tereza Kubicová, head of CzechInvest’s Department of Internal Projects and Support for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises. “The projects that Czech firms have brought to ESA BIC Prague helped us to convince ESA that opening another branch is clearly a step in the right direction,” she continued.

“This is an opportunity for innovative entrepreneurs to apply their ideas and start a business under the auspices of ESA,” Erik Bolebruch, CzechInvest’s aerospace specialist told Emerging Europe. “We believe new ideas will increase the technological level of the Czech Republic and make our life even smarter. Aerospace is one of our priority sectors and is becoming more and more important. Industry has been growing quite fast in recent years and we are ready to support aerospace further. Many local companies are involved in MNC supply chains all around the world.”

The opening ceremony took place on the 40th anniversary of the first spaceflight by a Czechoslovak astronaut, Vladimír Remek, and will be jointly financed by the ESA and the South Moravia region. Each will each provide 300,000 euros.

“South Moravia is an environment where the aerospace technology sector is successful and it is one of our priorities,” said Jan Vitula, deputy governor of the South Moravia region. “New start-ups that become involved in the project can use the proximity of science and research centres and specialised institutes at universities in Brno and engage in cooperation with established firms and multinational corporations operating in the region.”

In fact, more than 200 projects have passed through the South Moravian Innovation Centre over the past 15 years and the Brno branch will incubate nine start-ups over the course of three years.

“We will be able to stimulate development of the Czech Republic’s business environment in the area of space technologies and satellite applications and better use the opportunities and potential that the area of space activities offers for the development of the country’s economy,” said Václav Kobera, head of the department of space activities at the ministry of transportation.