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Application for the ESA BIC Hessen & Baden-Württemberg

At the ESA BIC Hessen & Baden-Württemberg we incubate start-ups that have a link with space technology. The link can be any, as long as the space technology is one of the key enabler for your product/service. We accept also start-ups that want to bring into space technology that can improve the space processes or that can be brought to space. The company shall not be older than 5 years and on the other side, if you have not founded a company yet, you can apply without any problem, as long as you establish a company before the contract signature, shall you be selected.

Each approved start-up is entitled to the following:

  • 25.000€ from ESA to be spent on technical development by third parties such as freelancers as well as on IPR protection – in each case up to 100% but not for rent or salaries etc.
  • 25.000€ from State of Hesse that can also be spent on rent and even on the salary of the team. However, it is always only 50% of any eligible cost, thus, if you pay salary or spend it on rent, the other 50% have to come in these cases from your own funds (not ESA).
  • the two funding supports come from different entities and need to match each other’s (i.e. you receive 25.000€ from ESA if and only if you could claim the full 25.000€ from the State of Hessen)
  • Up to 50kEUR as loan from Sparkasse at favourable conditions to be negotiated directly with the bank and which normally are granted if requested at the very beginning of the incubation period.

When eligible costs are strictly related to product development and IPR protection, you can claim 50% from the local co-funding scheme and 50% from ESA. The local co-funding is always only 50% of the eligible costs, while the ESA co-funding could reach up to 100% of eligible costs.


Payment process

If you bought it with your private funds, then in principle they are not fundable. However, if you transfer the money from your company bank account to your private bank account and properly justify it- then it is fundable. If it is with company funds we need the bank statement stating when you withdrew cash from the bank. This is sometimes very difficult, therefore, we always recommend to pay any project –related cost with a company card (EC or credit). The ESA incentive cannot be used for these expenses.

For what concerns the ESA funding, you will receive two advanced payments: 10,000€ at contract signature and 10.000€ upon fulfillment of the MTR (Mid-Term Review) requirements. The final payment can be released upon successful Final Review and check on the invoices and bank statements. To receive the full payment of 5.000€, you need to demonstrate the eligible costs sum to 25.000€ for ESA and 25.000€ for the local co-funding.

For what concerns the local co-funding, you can get the reimbursement only after you have demonstrated the cost was incurred (via invoices and bank statements). The overall process can take in average 3 months, but there could be contingencies for which it could take even longer. We always suggest you account for extra liquidity in the company.

No. If you need help in filling out the documents and have no other possible support, then we will help.

You can use the incubation contract as a guideline. The commencement date and contract end date is the “Durchführungszeitraum”. Please note if the contract was signed later than the commencement date the date of the last signature indicates the start of the funding period.
Example: Commencement Date: 04.04.2018
Date of last signature: 20.04.2018
Contract End Date: 03.04.2020
Cost occurred during incubation:
Invoice Date: 04.04.2018 ✖ Not Fundable
Invoice Date: 20.04.2018 ✔ Fundable
Invoice Date: 10.05.2018 ✔ Fundable
Cost did not occur during incubation:
Invoice Date: 02.01.2018 ✖ Not Fundable
Invoice Date: 05.05.2020 ✖ Not Fundable
If your incubation contract was extended, the new contract end date is applicable.

There are indeed limited possibilities, but only if and for those costs which can clearly be assigned to the funding period (e.g. a tax consultant invoice for a period of time, partly being in and out of the funding period; rent; paychecks). This does not apply to ESA funding.

cesah Office

ESA Business Incubation Centre
managed by cesah GmbH

Robert-Bosch-Straße 7 (TIZ)
D-64293 Darmstadt
Building C, 3rd floor

phone: +49 (0) 6151 392 156 10
Week Days: 9:00-17:00

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