Become a high-level specialist and provide remunerated business development coaching to visionary entrepreneurs






Join the Copernicus Accelerator as a mentor and become part of a prestigious Earth observation network!

The eligibility criteria to become a mentor are the following:

  • Employed with a legal identity registered in the territory of one of the Copernicus Participating Countries1, 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 MastersChallenges. This experience could be based on their own professional career or references from previous mentees.

The chosen professionals provide finalists of all Copernicus Masters Challenges with a customised business development coaching service worth EUR 5,000 that will be remunerated at the end of the programme.


The Copernicus Accelerator has different phases comprising a total coaching support of approximately one year. The application phase for mentors is annually running from May until July.

The Copernicus Masters finalists are annually selected by the end of September. Following the matchmaking between finalists and mentors, the formal start of the coaching programme then takes place at the Copernicus Accelerator Bootcamp held in line with the Copernicus Masters Awards Ceremony in autumn. The official conclusion of the programme then happens at the closing bootcamp one year after its start.

During the coaching phase, AZO continuously monitors all relationships, in order to assist both parties and guarantee a positive outcome for the programme.

Coaching process 2017/18

The current mentors officially met their mentees at the Copernicus  from 6 until 7 November 2017 in Tallinn, Estonia, in line with the European Space Week. This event marked the official start of their relationship, as mentors and mentees began developing a coaching plan that includes the objectives and KPIs of their affiliation. This event also represented an excellent opportunity to join the international EO and GNSS community and benefit from AZO’s global network of innovation and expertise.

The mentors will support the mentees until October 2018, and will participate with them at a prominent closing event around the same period. This event will officially mark the end of their coaching relationship.

The application phase for the next edition of the Copernicus Accelerator mentoring programme 2018/2019 will start in May 2018.

About the Copernicus Accelerator

Established in 2016, the Copernicus Accelerator has been an exciting feature of the Copernicus Masters. Thanks to this pioneering initiative by the European Commission’s DG Growth, the Copernicus market uptake is pushed to a wider audience through this unique programme. High -level professionals get involved with the top 50 entrants of the Copernicus Masters competition. The aim is to support entrepreneurs and startups from Copernicus Participating Countries1 to move beyond idea conception into real commercial ventures and to promote these development phases within twelve coaching months. This dedicated coaching service creates many benefits for the Copernicus Masters participants, as they have access to individual coaching support worth an additional overall value of EUR 250,000.

The Copernicus Accelerator programme is made up of different phases, comprising total coaching support of approximately one year. The finalists of the Copernicus Masters are provided with a selection of mentors that are the most suitable for their requests and needs. As the mentors are required to state their fields of expertise, both parties are matched accordingly. When a mentor is requested by a participant of the programme, he/she can access the participant’s profile and examine the submitted idea, in order to decide whether to confirm the request or not. Mentors can only advise up to two participants.

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.


The current Copernicus Accelerator participants are all working on exciting EO projects together with their mentors. In each Copernicus Accelerator newsletter, we dive into one mentee’s startup or their application and the associated mentor to share their success story with the Copernicus Accelerator Community!


Discover the success stories


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.


1 The Copernicus Participating Countries include all the EU Member States, in addition to Norway and Iceland.