The initiative that pairs high-Level professionals – experts in Business, technical and legal realms – with Young entrepreneurs that hold innovative ideas based on Earth observation




The Copernicus Accelerator offers a customised business development scheme for the winners of the Copernicus Masters challenges. In 2017, the top 50 entrants of the Copernicus Masters got access to the unique 12-month programme by the European Commission and now benefit from tailored support to take their Copernicus-related business to the next level.

Since 2016, the programme supports startups and entrepreneurs from Copernicus Participating Countries1 to move beyond idea conception into real commercial ventures. Selected participants are matched with high-level professionals and benefit from individual mentoring alongside further training opportunities such as bootcamps and webinars and dedicated marketing support.

The Copernicus Accelerator is a project of the European Commission’s DG Growth, and is part of the Copernicus Start-up Programme, which is designed to accompany startups from the generation of a business idea to its full commercialisation.


The Copernicus Accelerator has different phases comprising business development support of approximately one year.

The Copernicus Masters winners and finalists are annually selected by the end of September. Following the matchmaking between finalists and mentors, the formal start of the Accelerator programme then takes place at the Copernicus Accelerator Bootcamp held in line with the Copernicus Masters Awards Ceremony in October/November.

Benefits for mentees

With their profound knowledge and expertise, mentors support the participants to turn their promising ideas into reality and to successfully enter the market, achieving measurable results in one or more of the following objectives:

  • Integration into an incubator
  • Obtaining their first client
  • Raising equity funding (angel, seed or venture capital)
  • Reaching profitability level with their first product
  • Development of a new product line
  • First access to a foreign market (internationalisation)
  • Business Coaching
  • Assistance in technical development


During the coaching phase, AZO continuously monitors all relationships, in order to assist both parties and ensure a positive outcome for the programme. After a virtual mid-term review mentees and mentors meet again at the closing bootcamp one year later where they are provided with additional trainings and networking opportunities.


In addition to the support by the mentor, mentees also benefit from exclusive webinars in which they are provided with approximately 1.5-hour training on either a technical or a business topic. The webinars´ speakers share their knowledge and experience about additional and useful tools which help Copernicus Accelerator participants to take their business ideas to the next level. Questions and debate with participants are also encouraged, in order to make the sessions interactive. As part of the Copernicus Accelerator programme, only mentees and mentors can attend the webinar, but everyone else interested in the topics, is kindly invited to listen to the recordings of the webinar afterwards! Please note: Only the business webinars will be made public, not the technical ones.


Webinar #1: Lean Start-up 

Lean Start-up is not just a fancy word like agile and MVP. It is a ready to use and implement strategy that helps you avoid mistakes and scale naturally using tools, canvas and mindsets needed to operate globally. Learn more about the theory and further practical aspects of Lean Start-up:


Webinar #2: Minimal Viable Product (MVP)

Designing minimal viable product is essential when it comes to creating and testing value proposition for our future customers. It is rooted deeply in the Lean Start-up Philosophy. You will learn best practices and pitfalls of such approach to understand the process and get easy to use tools. Both for B2C and B2B:


Webinar #3: Testing Your Product

This webinar discusses the experiments and tests you can undertake to validate and to… INVALIDATE your product, the LEAN way of testing your product/service, and the cognitive mistakes that can cost us a fortune or… well, just time.


Webinar #4: Pitch Anything

We all need to pitch and communicate our ideas at some point or another. Without this skill honed, our brilliant ideas will vanish unrecognised by clients, investors and the media!


Webinar #5: Motivation and productivity in a start-up

Motivation and productivity are not the first things that come to mind when thinking about start-up life. After all, those entrepreneurs and self-employed should be extremely self-motivated and productive. But is the busy-ness really the hard work or just false-pretence? How can you make most of time and motivation to run the marathon and not just to spark a flame at the beginning?


Webinar #6: How to do start-up’s marketing on a tight budget

Although it would be wonderful to have unlimited resources to do Marketing and Smarketing campaigns, it could also easily be very dangerous and demotivating, to say the least. Marketing requires great ideas, great insights and great sets of tools.


..More webinars will follow soon! Never miss any relevant webinar again by subscribing to the Copernicus Accelerator newsletter.







You want to be part of the Copernicus Accelerator?

The best entrants of the Copernicus Masters – the winners of the 2018 Copernicus Masters challenges – will get invited to benefit from the Copernicus Accelerator programme. The initiative gives participants the jump-start they need to turn great ideas into successful applications! To be eligible, participants must either be citizens of one of the Copernicus Participating Countries or they must have established their company in the territory of one of the Copernicus Participating Countries*.

The submission phase of the next competition round will be from 1 April until 30 June 2017. Register online and fine-tune your submission step by step!

Sign up now


Interested in the current Copernicus Accelerator mentees and alumni?

VIEW 2016 MENTEES          VIEW 2017 MENTEES

Discover Copernicus Accelerator success stories



Interested in becoming a mentor?


The application phase for mentors is open each year from May until July. Sign up for the Copernicus Accelerator newsletter and be the first to get informed about the next application phase! Selected mentors are expected to deliver individual coaching services worth EUR 5,000 to their mentee(s) and will benefit from:

  • Scouting of innovative entrepreneurs and startups at an early stage
  • Networking with the prestigious Copernicus Accelerator community
  • Promotion among the international Earth observation community
  • Invitation to two ambitious Bootcamps in line with extensive networking opportunities

The eligibility criteria to become a mentor are:

  • Employed with a legal identity registered in the territory of one of the Copernicus Participating Countries, whose business purpose is focused on business consulting, e.g. business incubation centres, consulting companies, business intermediaries, university-based startup centres, innovation agencies etc.
  • Individual mentors that reside in the territory of one of the Copernicus Participating Countries, with a proven track record of customers (preferably startups) that they have mentored in their chosen field of expertise.

Mentors are also required to demonstrate experience in business coaching, or in the Earth observation, ICT, mobile industry areas, or in one or more topics of interest connected with the Copernicus Masters Challenges. This experience could be based on their own professional career or references from previous mentees.

Eligible applicants will only become mentors after they have been selected by one or maximum two mentees. Once selected the mentors are expected to provide their mentee(s) with customised business development services worth EUR 5,000 that will be remunerated at the end of the programme.


VIEW 2016 MENTORS          VIEW 2017 MENTORS


The next Copernicus Accelerator Bootcamp will take place by the end of this year – it will be an exclusive event for the Copernicus Accelerator community and provide mentees and mentors with the possibility to network and get in touch with the broader Copernicus, Earth observation and space community. More details will follow soon.


2017 Bootcamp

On 6 and 7 November 2017, the exclusive Copernicus Accelerator Bootcamp for mentees and mentors of the 2016/17 and 2017/18 mentoring programme took place in Tallinn, Estonia. In line with the biggest European space event in 2017, the European Space Week, the bootcamp provided a great opportunity to join the international EO and GNSS community. The current 50 mentees – the top 50 winners and finalists of the 2017 Copernicus Masters challenges – started their coaching relationship with their mentors whereas mentees and mentors of the first Copernicus Accelerator edition concluded their programme. These individual coaching sessions of each team were integrated into the two-day bootcamp, comprising also roundtable and panel discussions, business speed dating, pitch trainings and business workshops. The Space Evening Event on Monday and the Copernicus Masters Awards Ceremony on Tuesday provided the participants of both coaching rounds with a festive occasion to further deepen networking and to benefit from AZO’s innovation network.


Our Copernicus Accelerator participants are all working on exciting EO projects. In each newsletter, we shed light on a startup or an application which has a great story to tell. Find out more about the Copernicus Accelerator participants, their goals and the USP which make them unique!

  • December 2016

    Sinergise is pushing the limits of managing of spatial data over Internet

    Sinergise is a company operating in a start-up mode for almost 15 years already. Not from the point of financial dependence on financing rounds – they have been profitable from day one – but from the point of organisation of work and search for innovation. They have been one of the first companies to implement management of GIS data over Internet, supporting hundreds of users to jointly edit the data, being connected via old fashion dial-up modems in 2003. Their cloud GIS platform Geopedia used power of simple browsers 10 years ago, making it simple to perform crowd-sourcing actions such as identification (and subsequent clean-up) of more than 15.000 illegal dumpsites in Slovenia.


    read more

  • February 2017

    green spin - the journey to digital farming

    green spin develops applications and solutions for digitalisation and optimisation of processes in the agricultural sector. The company was founded in 2013 by three alumni/scientists from the Department of Geography of the University of Würzburg: Dr. Sebastian Fritsch, Clemens Delatrée, and Gunther Schorcht. Their main goal was and is to allow their customers to profit from the use of open geospatial data. The use of spatial data, e.g. from earth observation satellites, can help to improve agricultural systems everywhere in the world. This will be an important task because of the immense rise of the global population in the next decades.


    Read more


  • April 2017

    The IceCream Team – the Mission to Save Glaciers Worldwide

    The IceCream (Ice Crowd-sourced REAl-time velocity Monitoring) Team has a huge vision: by using EO data, they try to save the glaciers on our planet. Their idea is to create a tool which leverages satellite imagery and climate data to illustrate the impacts of our changing Earth in areas of interest to everyone.


    read more

  • June 2017

    EnviroSAR© Ltd. - Knowledge building of UK wildfire regimes through online integration of geospatial datasets

    EnviroSAR© Ltd. is an Earth observation (EO) startup with the vision to improve the efficiency of managing wildfire disturbance in moorlands and heathlands. Wildfire is a major hazard in UK moorlands and is increasing in the Rural-Urban Interface (RUI), especially in areas of heathland. Since wildfires incur socio-economic costs for all parties involved and are predicted to increase due to climate change, this environmental hazard is of high relevance nowadays.

    read more

  • January 2018

    Golbriak Space – Towards a New Era of Space Telecomunnications

    The start-up’s mission is to develop and implement the services as well as the enabling technologies for distributed and federated satellite missions. These novel paradigms should bring several advantages for the space industry, not only by optimisation of data distribution, but also by increasing the overall mission performance and reducing operational costs.

    read more

  • March 2018

    Hera Space – Helping Fishermen Find the Closest Fishing Grounds with Blockchain Technology

    HearSpace’s app helps fishermen to locate the closest legal fishing ground, optimising operating budgets while reducing environmental impacts. The application, makes use of the same blockchain technology as used for Bitcoin to ensure warranty transparency and unhackability, building a win-win relationship between fishermen, companies, administration and consumers.

    read more


  • May 2018

    Saturnalia: Good wine as seen from space!

    Saturnalia is a service for quality forecasting for fine wine through intensive monitoring of vineyards from space and on the ground. Its big advantage over existing quality assessment techniques consists of forecasting wine quality before the publication of price-driving, official reviews. An innovative approach to analysing vine growth conditions unlocks the use of vast quantities of Copernicus data in addition to ground measurements to predict wine quality before it is actually bottled and put on sale.


    read more


The Copernicus Accelerator newsletter will be sent to participants of the programme and interested parties every four weeks from January 2018 onwards. Within the newsletters, you will find out more about interesting EO news and events, funding possibilities for your business and the Copernicus Accelerator Startup of the Month.

Find out more about Copernicus on the official Copernicus Website.




The Copernicus Accelerator Programme is an initiative funded by the Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROWTH) of the European Commission. The DG GROWTH is responsible for: completing the Internal Market for goods and services; helping turn the EU into a smart, sustainable, and inclusive economy by implementing the industrial and sectorial policies of the flagship Europe 2020 initiative; fostering entrepreneurship and growth by reducing the administrative burden on small businesses; facilitating access to funding for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs); and supporting access to global markets for EU companies. All of these actions are encapsulated in the Small Business Act; generating policy on the protection and enforcement of industrial property rights, coordinating the EU’s position and negotiations in the international intellectual property rights (IPR) system, and assisting innovators on using IP rights effectively; and implementing the EU’s space policy via its two large-scale satellite programmes Copernicus (for Earth observation) and Galileo (for global navigation), as well as research actions designed to spur technological innovation and economic growth.