Press Release: ESA BIC Finland’s business incubator operations to expand to the entire Western Coast of Finland, from Turku to Vaasa and Tampere

ESA BIC Finland is operated by Aalto University’s Aalto Startup Center, the West Coast Hub is run by the University of Vaasa, and the incubator operations in Tampere are coordinated by Business Tampere.


The international business accelerator focused on space technology enables business growth by providing support for the growth of space technology startups. The business accelerator has had notable startup alumni, including Solar Foods, Aurora Propulsion Technologies and AddComposites.

ESA BIC Finland has signed a cooperation agreement with the University of Vaasa and Business Tampere. ESA BIC Finland’s main office is located at Aalto Startup Center in Otaniemi, Espoo. The expansion of ESA BIC Finland to the whole of western Finland and the business area of Tampere is a significant step toward the commercialization of Finnish space-related business ideas and providing support for startup businesses.
Startup companies selected for the ESA BIC Finland program can receive support of up to EUR 85,000 during the incubation period.

–  ESA BIC Finland’s careful and demanding evaluation of startup companies ensures the quality of the companies selected for the incubator program. For the first time ever, the evaluation will be conducted at the West Coast Hub in Vaasa under the leadership of ESA in cooperation with ESA BIC Finland. The evaluation will take place this Wednesday, says Marika Paakkala, Head of Aalto Startup Center.

– ESA BIC Finland’s careful and demanding evaluation of startup companies and admission to the incubator program will be conducted in cooperation with ESA. For the first time ever, the evaluation will take place at the West Coast Hub in Vaasa this week, says Marika Paakkala, Head of Aalto Startup Center.


Aalto Startup Center offers extensive, high-quality support for the growth of ESA BIC Finland’s startups through individual and group coaching and networking events. In spring 2023, Aalto Startup Center was recognized as one of the three best university-based business incubators in the world.

– Aalto Startup Center has managed ESA BIC Finland’s operations for six years now. We have helped significant, innovative space technology companies grow and succeed, adds Paakkala.

The University of Vaasa will implement the ESA BIC incubator program in Western Finland. The offices of the University of Vaasa and the Turku Science Park form the west coast center of ESA BIC Finland. – Together, we will be able to expand ESA BIC Finland’s incubator services to the westernmost regions of Finland, from Southwest Finland to Ostrobothnia, says Professor Heidi Kuusniemi, director of space economy projects at the University of Vaasa and head of the research platform.


Kuusniemi hopes that companies striving to participate in the new space economy will find their way to the European Space Agency’s incubator operations. In addition to funding, the companies will be able to grow their partner network and establish a connection to ESA’s research infrastructure and programs. These contacts have been very useful for many of the alumni of ESA BIC Finland.


ESA BIC Finland’s accelerator strengthens the innovation and entrepreneurship activities at the University of Vaasa and in the entire region. Together with the university’s strong technology and business expertise, it creates new opportunities for space startup companies. – The ESA BIC Finland incubator program utilizes and further develops the University of Vaasa’s current forms of support for innovation, entrepreneurship and commercialization, says Philipp Holtkamp, Senior Specialist in Innovation at the University of Vaasa.

The ESA BIC Finland office in Tampere is located in the startup house Platform 6 in the heart of the city. – We are excited for the Tampere region to have joined the European Space Agency’s accelerator program. We are now better able to help the region’s companies in the application process and thus improve their chances at getting accepted into the program, says Tapio Siik, Senior Business Advisor at Business Tampere.


The operations in Turku are coordinated by Turku Science Park Oy. – The operations are already well underway in Turku, and we are excited to start working with the cities that are new to the program. Space business is a growing field with continuously growing interest. It is also essentially related to the Turku region’s strengths, such as expertise in smart marine technology, says Timo Huttunen, Network Manager at Turku Science Park Oy.

– During the ESA BIC Finland incubator program, we received significant support for our company’s space application from the very beginning. Without the growth platform and network provided by ESA BIC Finland, we would not have been able to advance in the field because we were not part of the established space cluster. I am happy to hear that ESA BIC Finland’s operations are growing and expanding, says Pasi Vainikka, CEO of Solar Foods.


The head office of ESA BIC Finland (European Space Agency’s (ESA) business incubator operations) is located at Aalto Startup Center in Otaniemi, Espoo. During more than five years of operations in Finland, Aalto Startup Center’s business accelerator has helped significant, innovative space technology companies grow and succeed, including Solar Foods, Aurora Propulsion Technologies and AddComposites. The European Space Agency has incubator operations in more than 20 countries. In 2023, the operations in Finland will expand from Otaniemi, Espoo to Tampere and Vaasa.

Learn more (ESA BIC Finland):, LinkedIn

The Aalto Startup Center is a hybrid business accelerator for companies that are a maximum of three years old, with a focus on tech startups. The business accelerator takes advantage of the multidisciplinary competence in design, business, and technology provided by Aalto University as well as the university’s expertise and networks. The business accelerator involves businesses both within and outside Aalto University, and the accelerator also creates businesses out of research-based projects. Currently, Aalto Startup Center is working with more than 50 companies, which come from its own two programs (Business Generator and the R2B pre-business incubator program) and three partner programs (ESA BIC Finland, the Urban Tech Helsinki incubator and Aalto Digital Creatives). Aalto Startup Center’s premises are located in Otaniemi, Espoo.
From Ideas to Impact ® – Together, we turn ideas into impact.
Learn more (Aalto Startup Center): FacebookInstagramTwitter and LinkedIn.

For more information, please contact:

Aalto University, Aalto Startup Center

Marika Paakkala
Head of Aalto Startup Center, ESA BIC Finland
+358 40 8292 286

Interview and photo requests:
Milla Kalliokoski
Head of Marketing and Communications,
Aalto Startup Center, ESA BIC Finland
+358 50 440 6428

University of Vaasa

ESA BIC Finland Vaasa site
Heidi Kuusniemi, Professor and Director of the Digital Economy research platform, University of Vaasa,, tel. +358 29 449 8504

Philipp Holtkamp, Senior Specialist in Innovation, University of Vaasa, tel. +358 29 449 8585


The University of Vaasa is an international scientific community of 5,500 people that educates and trains responsible leaders and experts for the tasks of the future. We advance competitiveness, innovation and sustainable development in business, technology and society. In recent years, the university’s multidisciplinary space-related competence has grown with national and international cooperation projects.

The website of ESA BIC Finland’s Vaasa office and the University of Vaasa’s space economy research:


Business Tampere, Tampere site
Tapio Siik, Senior Business Advisor, tel. +358 40 568 1483

Business Tampere is a business and development company in the Tampere region whose mission is to promote investments and create the best possible environment for business operations. The company’s operations are guided by the Economic development strategy of the Tampere city region. Let’s create a new Tampere region. Together.

University of Turku, Turku site
Timo Huttunen, Account Manager, tel. +358 40 719 2335
Turku Science Park Oy is a joint business accelerator of Turku and ten surrounding municipalities. Our goal is to promote university cooperation and the operating conditions and competitiveness of businesses in the Turku region. We provide help and advice in starting a company as well as business development, growth and internationalization, regardless of the industry.