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ESA News

Where entrepreneurs meet opportunities

ESA Technology Transfer Programme (TTPO) will host two events at the European Space Solution conference, taking place at Alte Kongresshall in Munich from 5-7 November 2013. The ESA Investment Forum is an exceptional platform for entrepreneurs to discuss their ideas with investors and to explore business potential and investment opportunities. It will enable 18 selected start-up companies using space technology in terrestrial applications to present their business case to potential investors and industry leaders. ESA Investment Forum - your time to shine: ESA TTPO will host its 8th ESA Investment Forum on 6 November, 2013, with partnering projects. Applicants must build their products and services on the utilisation of technologies and expertise originating from European space programmes, and a significant portion of their growth and competitive advantage must originate from this. For details please go to or investment_forum.html B2B Matchmaking event: ESA TTPO and partners will organise a business matchmaking event bringing business leaders and the public sector with developers and users of space-related solutions. With over 700 delegates expected, participants can maximise the value of networking by signing up for this event. Twenty minutes 'meet and greet' time slots will be allocated for each meeting at the Business Matchmaking event taking place on 7 November, 2013. Further details can be found at or match_making.html

The sky is not the limit

This month sees the 200th new start-up company launched through ESA's Business Incubation Centres. Whether it's for quick mapping of disaster-stricken areas by crowdsourcing, offering smarter transportation solutions, alternative energy handling or improving production technologies, these startups benefit local economies while promoting the use of space technology in terrestrial applications. All of these start-ups nurtured at the ESA Business Incubation Centres (ESA BICs) have one thing in common as their winning key driver: innovation.

“The knowledge and technology that are available in our space programmes are open for entrepreneurs and, with ESA investing in those brilliant minds, we can rest assured that our technology will reach far,” said Franco Ongaro, ESA's Director of Technical and Quality Management. “We must continue to boost the European competitiveness, and continue to think globally while investing locally. By innovating through using space technology means that we are investing in our most important asset - planet Earth.”

“We started to prepare the operations of the business incubation initiative in 2000, with our first centre here in the Netherlands, because we believed that the leading-edge technologies we developed for Europe's space programmes can provide innovative solutions here on Earth,” says Bruno Naulais, ESA BICs manager at ESA's Technology Transfer Programme Office. “The ESA BIC welcomes innovative entrepreneurs, supporting them through their initial phase of getting started and mature their space technology spinoffs to new terrestrial solutions. Since the first incubatee selected in late 2003, we just crossed the mark of 200 new companies, which means thousands of jobs across Europe.”

The new tool for pilots, SkyLiberty from Belgium, is an example of an ESA-supported start-up; a useful app for preparing flight paths quickly, taking into account all aircraft types, weather, airspace situations and airport factors. The app provides a greater accuracy and efficiency for small aircraft flight planning. A computer game from Netherlands was developed to address a serious concern; helping rescue workers when they enter disaster-stricken areas. The Cerberus game, developed by an ESA BIC Noordwijk startup, combines input from thousands of users through crowdsourcing techniques to quickly generate a detailed situation map of an area based on satellite data from ESA. In Germany, a revolutionary app became a hit by providing a smart system to monitor hundreds of Deutsche Bahn's railway stations - not by company-employed inspectors, but by regular commuters, providing situation reports, and earning money to boot. By using this satnav-based app, from a start-up in ESA BIC Darmstadt, for their routine monitoring, companies in five countries now save time and money, and have reduced their carbon footprint.

During their two-year incubation periods hosted at the ESA centres, start-ups receive financial and technical support, leading to the launches of new companies, new products on the market and new jobs for their regions. The eight operating ESA BICs across Europe are based in the Netherlands, Germany (Bavaria and Darmstadt), Italy, UK, Belgium (Redu and Flanders), as well as the most recent one in southern France. By the end of 2013, a ninth centre will be launched in Barcelona, Spain.
Published on 21-10-2013 13:14 by David Tee. 1540 page views

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