Copernicus Incubation Programme to Develop Your Business

The Copernicus Incubation was launched by the European Commission to assist start-ups and scale-ups in using the opportunities brought by the Copernicus full, free and open data.

The Programme will award 50,000 EUR equity-free funding to 20 start-ups every year to boost EO data-based businesses. The selected applicants will also have access to a new network, tools and opportunities that can help early-stage start-ups as well as already operating businesses that aim to further grow.

The Copernicus Incubation Programme is implemented under contract of the European Commission, by Verhaert. Masters in Innovation, an SME based in Belgium.

Copernicus Incubation Programme

Who Can Apply?

Start-ups, groups of entrepreneurs, university, research or corporate spin-offs based in the EU28, Norway or Iceland are eligible applicants. This programme requires joint applications: the start-up needs to apply together with a support programme that agrees to incubate the start-up if it receives the funding, but the start-up must be the lead applicant and sole beneficiary.

Eligible Applicants

  • Teams of entrepreneurs (at least 2 complementary profiles)
  • Legally established start-ups (not required for application, but needed for receiving funding)
  • University and research institute spin-offs
  • Corporate spin-offs
  • Venturing teams within corporate venture programmes with an intention to spin out

Requirements & Conditions

  • Start-ups receive up to 50,000 EUR and up to 85% of the total costs described in their application to the programme
  • Co-funding is required for at least 15% of the total costs. Any co-funding source is eligible, such as business angels, subsidy programmes, investors, another incubation programme or the start-up itself. In-kind contributions such as office space or coaching hours cannot be admitted as part of the required co-funding
  • The funding covers costs for a maximum of one year
  • Selected start-ups receive 50% of the total grant as pre-financing. The remaining payment happens at final delivery (based on financial reporting to justify costs)
  • Lead time for the incubation support funding is approximately 4 weeks after the announcement of the results

Detailed information is available on the Copernicus Incubator website.


How to Apply?

There are several cut-off dates every year. The next one is 15 March 2018. Applications are submitted using the Copernicus Incubation Programme website. They must include the following:

1. Application and compliancy checklist

2. Start-up pitch in video or slide deck format (for inspiration, you can use the NABC pitch preparation booklet)

  • Video: no longer than 5 minutes – may be filmed with a smartphone or any other device
  • Slide presentation – up to 10 content slides

3. Funding request application, containing

  • Background info, summary of business pitch, explanation of the use of Copernicus data and/or services
  • Description of objectives, tasks, expected outcomes, projected budget

4. Supporting documents

  • CVs of each team member
  • Any other relevant documents

In addition, the partnering support programme is required to provide a letter of support and an info material on their organization (scope of services, operational model, track record of past results).

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