ESA title

Kick-start Activities: new funding opportunity for innovative applications ideas

The "Kick-start Activity" is ESA’s new funding scheme launched in 2017. Activities will be funded at 75%, with ESA providing up to €60,000 per contract. The Thematic Calls for Kick-start Activities are open to any industry in participating Member States. They are designed to be particularly interesting for SMEs and start-ups looking for opportunities to develop their ideas for new business applications. Newcomers and organisations we've worked with before are both welcome!

Kick-start Activities are designated to enable companies to undertake compact Feasibility Studies that explore new service and application concepts which make use of space capabilities. Successful Kick-start Activities can be further developed into commercially-viable businesses with follow-up support from ESA Business Applications in the form of a Demonstration Project.

We have streamlined the application process so that the paperwork has been suitably minimised: a single document, maximum 20 pages in length. We are committed to a rapid evaluation process, with approved activities starting within six weeks from evaluation.

The Invitations to Tender for Kick-start Activities are divided into Thematic Calls.


Below are our upcoming opportunities:

  • AI (Please note the deadlines are different for each AI macro-area, see below - opens 13th May 2019 - 29th November 2019)
  1. AI Consumer goods, business and industrial services (opens 13th May 2019 -  closes 21st June 2019) 
  2. AI Social Impact (opens 25th June 2019 - closes 30th August 2019)
  3. AI Infrastructure (opens 2nd September 2019 - closes 11th October 2019)
  4. AI Environment and natural resources (opens 14th October 2019 - closes 29th November)


  • Environmental Crimes (Please note the deadlines are different for each Environmental Crimes macro-area, see below - opens September 2nd 2019 - closes 24th January 2020)

1. Environmental Quality (Opening date 02/09/2019, Closing date 11/10/2019)

2. Poaching and Trafficking (Opening date 14/10/2019, Closing date 30/11/2019)

3. Natural Resources (Opening date 02/12/2019, Closing date 24/01/2020)


  • Biodiversity (opens September 2nd 2019 - closes 25th October 2019)


The following Thematic Calls for Kick-start Activities were launched previously:

Social inclusion Organic best-practices and ecosystems preservationIndustry 4.0 and high-value manufacturingFinTech, Wildlife Protection, People Mobility, Arctic/Sub-Arctic, Space for Municipalities, Commercial Climate Services, Outdoor TourismAutomated Road TransportAgeing PopulationFood SecurityAsia-Pacific RegionBig Data in HealthPulp & PaperAtlantic Area,  Virtual / Augm. Reality and Space, Blockchain, Mining and Space for Sport.

With the Kick-start Activities, ESA aims to make it easier for entrepreneurs and start-ups to participate in the ESA Business Applications programme, supporting the emergence of new commercial services and applications relying on space assets and data.


As these calls are announced, we will be posting webinar dates prospective applicants can register for and during which we will provide further information on the topics of each Thematic Call, explaining the proposal process and answering your questions.

You will access the webinars through your web browser. We recommend that you log in 10 minutes before the event begins. This will allow you to test your connection and ensure that all required plugins are up to date. 

Image Copyright: dolva / 123RF Stock Photo

15 December 2016
Last updated at 30 July 2019 - 14:59