The European Space Agency chooses Turin for Esa Bic, the center to support Italian startups in the Space Economy sector. The Incubator of the Polytechnic of Turin I3P, the Polytechnic of Turin and the Links Foundation have in fact won the selection of the European Space Agency for the construction and management of a new center, based in Turin, to support the birth and growth of new startups companies in the aerospace sector, the Esa Business Incubation Center Turin. The center aims to support the technological and business development of new innovative companies based on aerospace technologies, with applications both upstream (communication systems, satellites, software for space mission control) and downstream (application of data and technological solutions aerospace in other sectors such as environmental monitoring, mobility, logistics, precision agriculture).
With this project, whose horizon is 7 years, ESA aims to create at least 65 new companies in the space economy sector. The possibility of expanding the operational activities of the center through offices in other Italian regions is envisaged. The I3P Incubator will have the role of manager of the entire incubation program, from the scouting of innovative projects and startups to strategic support, in coordination with the ESA and the Italian Space Agency. The Politecnico di Torino and the Links Foundation will provide technological support to the startups selected for the program. The Turin candidacy leveraged I3P’s consolidated experience in the world of innovative startups, the strong scientific and technological skills of the technical partners and the support of a wide team of subjects from the institutional, industrial and financial spheres.
“In preparing the candidacy dossier, we paid particular attention to the involvement of all relevant stakeholders, to ensure the presence of a highly attractive ecosystem” explains Giuseppe Scellato, President of I3P and future coordinator of Esa Bic Turin. “A system candidacy coordinated by I3P, in which the willingness of companies and institutions to support the initiative was rewarded, also by providing financial resources and infrastructures in addition to those that will be put in place by ESA” adds Scellato.
The Esa Bic Turin project in fact provides for the disbursement by the Piedmont Region of contributions for new startups generated locally or attracted to the territory, the Turin Chamber of Commerce will provide financial support for management activities and the Compagnia di San Paolo Foundation will operate as the main support subject to the operations of the center, contributing both with a multi-year contribution aimed at covering the operating expenses of the Esa Bic program, and by activating innovative investment tools to support the technological development and the growth phase of future startups.
The activities of the center will kick off in October 2021 with the launch of an open call for startups and entrepreneurial projects. Three annual selections are planned in collaboration with the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency: the selected startups will receive free technological and business support services, as well as financial contributions for the development of innovative products and services made available by Esa, Piedmont Region and Compagnia di San Paolo. The process of entering the market and the scale-up of companies will also be supported by the industrial, institutional and financial partners of the Esa Business Incubation Center Turin.
“We are very happy to welcome I3P, the Polytechnic of Turin and the Links Foundation as our new partners in the Esa Bic network” comments Stefan Gustafsson, Esa Bic Network Manager. “Piedmont, a European region rich in economic activities, in a country with a strong heritage in space, provides a fertile ground for the birth of new start-ups in the aerospace sector. The new Bic of ESA – he adds – is also a ‘opportunity for Turin to position itself even more strongly as a hub for innovation and space-related activities “. The opportunities for industrial development of startups in the aerospace sector will also depend on the ability to ensure their integration into international value chains. On this front, the center will be able to count on numerous affiliated partners who have chosen to support the I3P project: the Aerospace District of Piedmont, a large group of large Italian companies in the aerospace sector, including Leonardo, Thales Alenia Space Italia, Altec, Avio, Macaer, and numerous innovative industrial companies, including Tyvak, Teseo, APR, Argotec, D-Orbit, Ithaca, Nanoracks, Aiko and GV Filtri.
Access for future startups to scientific skills, as well as from the technological partners of Esa Bic Turin, will be offered by a wide network of institutions and research centers, including the University of Turin, the Italian Institute of Metrological Research, Competence Center Cim4. 0, Italian Institute of Technology, Italian Aerospace Research Center, Sant’Anna School of Pisa, Bruno Kessler Foundation, Its Aerospace / Mechatronics Piedmont, National Institute of Nuclear Physics. The City of Turin will provide relevant infrastructures for testing aerospace derived solutions. The center will also see the involvement of numerous financial operators active in different stages of startup development, with the aim of offering investment opportunities from seed money to capital for growth and internationalization.
The Investors Club, Liftt, RedSeed, the fund dedicated to aerospace Primo Space, Neva Sgr, Rif-T, Finpiemonte Partecipazioni, Cdp Venture Capital, Intesa San Paolo have chosen to join the project. In particular, the Intesa San Paolo group will make specific credit lines available for new businesses incubated in the center. The Esa Business Incubation Center Turin therefore represents an important element for the ‘Città dell’Aerospazio’ aerospace center which will be based in Turin. The large team of public and private entities that supported the initiative testifies to the great value of aerospace technologies as a lever for economic development at local and national level.
The Rector of the Polytechnic of Turin Guido Saracco and the Deputy Rector for Technology Transfer Giuliana Mattiazzo underline that “the aerospace sector represents a field of research in which our University is historically recognized as an international excellence. Esa these skills but also the ability of our territory to create a system, to collaborate between public and private to achieve the objectives of innovation and revitalization of the territory and the entrepreneurial fabric that can find an acceleration in the aerospace sector, also thanks to this project of the ‘Esa, which is well integrated into the future initiative of the City of Aerospace “.
“The attribution of the Esa Bic to Turin is a great opportunity for our territory and demonstrates the remarkable level reached in the space sector in the world of research and innovation. A sector that is strategic for industrial competition at national and world level” marks the president of the Links Foundation, Marco Mezzalama. “Piedmont must be recognized for what it is: a land made up of human skills, excellence in research, companies capable of always being at the forefront, development policies that are projected into the next decade and not into tomorrow” affirms the Councilor for Development of the Productive Activities of the Piedmont Region, Andrea Tronzano.
“The Compagnia di San Paolo confirms its vocation as a Foundation committed to the development of high-impact ecosystems such as, in this case, an ecosystem oriented towards the enhancement of knowledge in the space-economy” also indicates the president Francesco Profumo. “Our multi-year plan, declined with our actions, is in line with the European relaunch and resilience strategy and the great challenges posed by the SDGs. Furthermore, – continues Profumo – our strategic plan always highlights new financial instruments that, we are sure, will strengthen from a structural point of view, the interlocutors we work with “.
Finally, Dario Gallina, president of the Turin Chamber of Commerce, considers the arrival of Esa Bic “excellent news for our territory which is confirmed not only as an aerospace district of international importance, but also an optimal place for new innovative companies that here they will be able to be born, settle and grow “.