Airbus launched its first BizLab aerospace accelerator on 9 March. The 700m2 Toulouse facility is the first in a start-up-nurturing network that will extend to Hamburg and Bangalore. BizLab provides bright ideas with resources and support to take them to market faster. Guests at the inauguration heard from experienced speakers including ‘angel’ investor Semyon Dukach, who told Airbus’ budding intrapreneurs not to fear failure – as long as they believe in success from the start.
Turning ideas into income helps companies stay ahead but in aeronautics the process can take a long time. In conjunction with ProtoSpace facilities in four countries and the Ideaspace online tool, Bizlab speeds up that transformation.
So BizLab encourages applications from both Airbus employees and the outside world, making it one of only a handful of ‘hybrid’ accelerators that put people together who wouldn’t usually work side by side. A screening committee headed by chief innovation officer Yann Barbaux evaluates each idea. Successful projects enter a six-month acceleration programme with expert mentoring.
By partnering with established accelerators such as Techstars, Microsoft Ventures or Google, BizLab widens Airbus’ innovation ‘playground’, taking the search for ideas deep into other sectors. Fifteen projects have already been selected for acceleration and one has reached the market – Airbus’ runway overrun prevention system, or ROPS.
BizLab will bring Airbus employees closer to smaller business. By working directly with entrepreneurs, Airbus’ innovators can ‘take a look outside’, learning how to work with greater speed and agility.