STEP Space Business Incubation

 – funded by Science and Technology Facilities Council and UK Space Agency

United Kingdom and France
(Credit: ESA/NASA)

SMEs can benefit from the UK’s £11.8 billion space industry

Are you developing technology for the upstream space sector?

Are you utilising space technology, systems or know-how for the benefit of industries outside of space?

STFC Daresbury Laboratory at Sci-Tech Daresbury is one of six regional business incubation centres that have been selected by the UK Space Agency (UKSA) to house space SMEs and start-up companies. SMEs demonstrating space technology will be provided with a share of £100k worth of access to facilities and resources co-funded by UKSA and STFC.

The incubation funding aims to grow the space sector in the North, North Wales and East Midlands by providing a supportive business environment for SMEs - an important path in realising the space sector’s ambition to achieve a 10% share of the global space market by 2030.

Business Incubation

The incubation centres will support start-ups through provided funded places. The aim of the programme is to provide high quality accommodation where companies will have access to facilities and resources to support them in the growth of their space start-up. Incubatees will benefit from a diverse business support offering including, business planning and strategy, IP protection and marketing strategies. There will also be opportunities for investor presentations and individual coaching and mentoring.

Companies will also benefit from being part of a network of incubators that will collaborate on events and initiatives.

How will you benefit from joining the programme at Daresbury?

STFC, and its partners, are looking for up to 10 companies to benefit from a share of the £100k of support on offer.

SMEs will benefit from STFC’s extensive experience in business incubation and supporting high-tech companies.

Each company will receive access to facilities within the Campus Technology Hub. The brand new hub offers high quality offices and flexible project space and will be co-locating amongst start-ups and entrepreneurs involved in other STFC business incubation programmes. Companies will be able to access high-tech laboratory equipment such as: scanning electron microscopes, 3D laser scanners, electronics test-gear, CNC milling machinery, as well as thermoplastic and metal additive manufacturing capabilities.

Successful applicants will also receive technical consultancy to develop their ideas. This will be provisioned by STFC staff that have developed expertise through the design and production of technologies that make up some of the most advanced large scale science facilities in the world. There are a number of ESA qualified engineers at STFC who can provide guidance to companies on the process of space qualifying their product. For those companies looking to undertake technology transfer activities STFC will provide support through its management of ESA’s Technology Transfer Network in the UK.

STFC has developed a comprehensive business support package over the past 5 years for incubation companies covering; investor readiness, intellectual property, marketing and much more. This support will be also available to SMEs in the UK Space Agency programme.

Companies will be able to network into the high tech community of Sci-Tech Daresbury. The campus is home to over 100 high growth SMEs and other companies as well as 400 scientific and technical staff. Sci-Tech Daresbury is evolving as a thriving, expanding innovation community.

Key application criteria includes

  • Your business should comprise fewer than 250 people
  • The company must be developing technology for the upstream space sector


  • Looking to utilise space technology, systems, or know-how for the benefit of industries outside of space.
  • The business will locate itself at, and utilise the capabilities of, the Campus Technology Hub for the incubation period.

The application process

We want to make the application process as easy and as flexible as possible.
Step 1: Contact us and complete the Expression of Interest (2 short questions)
Step 2: Visit us at Daresbury to discuss your idea and see the facilities available.
Step 3: Submit a Business Model Canvas and project plan by end of September 2016.
Step 4: Get Started!

If you would like to find out more information or have any queries, please contact:

Powering productivity through Business Incubation

STFC’s business incubation initiatives are the ideal solution for innovative businesses developing cutting edge technology. We have a range of programmes to support business growth; The European Space Agency Business Incubation Centre (ESA BIC), the STFC CERN Business Incubation Centre, The Innovations Technology Access Centre and Campus Technology Hub.

Last updated: 27 January 2017


Science and Technology Facilities Council
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