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Boost for European startups and SMEs at the ESA Ministerial Council Space 19+

European startups and SMEs that want to utilize space technology to improve everyday life are set to benefit from a major funding increase for the European Space Agency (ESA) programme that supports them.

ESA's Telecom and Integrated Applications Management Team at Space19+

At the ESA Ministerial Council Space19+ held in November 2019 in Spain, Member States approved a budget increase of 35% for ESA Business Applications and Space Solutions (ESA BASS) over the next three years. 

ESA BASS is the only optional programme element within ESA to which all 22 Member States have signed up.

The increased funding for the ESA BASS not only shows the continuation of appreciation and confidence the member states have into the programmes but also the increased request for additional support of the small and medium sized companies using space to increase their competitive angle. The funding will enhance support to entrepreneurs, ultimately boosting the member states economy by providing high level jobs and competitive new products and services.

A clear message of trust and encouragement at the ESA Ministerial Council Space 19+ Funding Success – December 2019

ESA programmes and funding are decided every three years by ministers with responsibility for space activities in the Member States within Europe. The last Council meeting, named as Space 19+, was held in Seville, Spain, and resulted in record funding for European space investments.

Funding to benefit Startups and SMEs across Member States

"Each of the 22 Member States recognise the value of business-focused elements in their space investments, and have ultimately chosen to participate in the ESA BASS programme,'' says Nick Appleyard, ESA’s Head of Business Applications and Space Solutions.

“At ESA, we celebrate the diverse business cultures and languages across Europe. Wherever you are, there is an ESA Space Solutions office near you, staffed by our local partners who speak your language and understand your business environment. They can offer direct support in the form of business incubation and startup funding, alongside advice on the technical capabilities of space and the support programmes that ESA can offer to a growing business” adds Mr. Appleyard. 

How BASS provides support

ESA BASS is part of ESA’s Telecommunications and Integrated Applications (TIA) Directorate. TIA funds its projects and programmes, including ESA BASS, through the ARTES programme.

“Space is now the backbone of the digital economy,” says Frank M. Salzgeber, Head of ESA’s Innovation and Ventures Office. “The increased funding over the next three years will enable the ESA BASS network across Europe to support even more companies to create new products and services that will keep Europe at the forefront of that digital market.”

Our funding lets us provide support to SMEs and startups that want to exploit space technology or use space data, whether or not they already work in the space sector. We do this in a number of ways, by providing funding for studies and projects or by incubation in our 20 ESA Business Incubation Centres (ESA BICs). These are based in over 60+ locations in 17 countries and have supported over 800 start-ups.

We understand that finance is a major issue for startups, so we provide funding schemes plus signposting and introductions to potential investors. Through our Technology Brokers and Ambassadors partners present across Europe, we also open up opportunities for collaboration between organisations in the space sector and entrepreneurs. 

Get to know ESA BASS Network (ESA NEAR ME) with 20 ESA BICs based in over +60 locations in 17 countries, and Technology Brokers and Ambassadors present across Europe.

The ESA BASS team is now looking forward enthusiastically to working with more startups and SMEs over the next years. For more information about how we can support you, please visit 

13 December 2019
Last updated at 05 February 2020 - 10:01