The European Space Agency (ESA) has several initiatives for identifying and preparing space technologies for use in other fields, which can result in commercially viable products and high-potential companies. One of them is the €10,000 ESA Innovation Prize for satellite navigation applications.
Oberpfaffenhofen, 18 June 2010: In line with the European Satellite Navigation Competition 2010, ESA will award an innovation prize to whoever comes up with the best business idea for using global navigation satellite systems (GNSS). It is looking for ideas that can be implemented immediately and quickly nurtured into a profitable business with the technical and financial assistance of an ESA Business Incubation Centre. The winner will also receive a cash award of €10,000.
“The European Satellite Navigation Competition is a great source of innovative business ideas in virtually all industry fields,” said Frank M. Salzgeber, head of ESA’s Technology Transfer Programme Office. “Among the innovative ideas for satellite navigation applications that have originated from the competition’s previous years are systems that report flooding in real-time, track carbon footprints, and provide locationbased information no matter where the user currently is.”
The winner of the 2008 ESA Innovation Prize, Arnaud Masson of Insiteo, is currently producing the first 10 pseudolites for his indoor geo-positioning solution after having secured an initial round of venture capital funding. Tim Springer of PosiTim, who was awarded for his high-accuracy GNSS solutions in 2009, has just been accepted by the ESA Business Incubation Centre Darmstadt, Germany. Furthermore, two other 2009 winners have just moved onto the premises of the ESA Business Incubation Centre Oberpfaffenhofen: Nogago, a German start-up that is developing leisure navigation software for smartphones; and Atmosphere, a French company working on an airborne collaborative network that will support the real-time exchange of atmospheric conditions.
“Our incubation centres help these entrepreneurs get started,” continued Frank M. Salzgeber. “They come with great ideas and we provide them with office space, seed funding, and contact with experts to mature their ideas and develop them into potential businesses. The next step is to find partners and investors who can support them with financing and target their business.” Therefore, in addition to the ESA Business Incubation Centres, ESA has taken the initiative to promote the establishment of a fund to support start-ups and other early-stage companies. The investment focus of the Open Sky Technologies Fund will be on seed-capital investments, start-ups, and earlystage growth capital for companies using space-related technologies or satellite applications in non-space applications. The next opportunity for entrepreneurs to present and discuss their business ideas and plans with venture capitalists and investors will be the ESA Investment Forum on 5 October 2010 in Milan, Italy. To obtain more information on the ESA Innovation Prize or submit ideas for innovative business applications, please go to:
http://galileo-masters.eu/index.php?anzeige=special_prizes_esa.html before 31 July.
Open Sky Technologies Fund: www.esa.int/SPECIALS/TTP2/SEMTZNRMTWE_0.html
ESA Investment Forum: www.esa.int/SPECIALS/TTP2/SEM2235NL9G_0.html
About the European Satellite Navigation CompetitionThe European Satellite Navigation Competition is an international innovation contest that awards the best ideas for applications in satellite navigation. The competition has been organised by Anwendungszentrum GmbH Oberpfaffenhofen (AZO) since 2004 and is oriented toward companies, entrepreneurs, research institutes, universities and private individuals. As part of the competition, AZO has established a network that has since expanded to 23 regions worldwide. The network connects technology hubs and companies that boast some of the most important players in the fields of incubation,prototype and product development, market development, and idea management for applications related to satellite navigation. Meanwhile, aerospace clusters and other regional initiatives involved in the network give entrepreneurs crucial access to
North Africa (MENA).
The ESNC intends to further strengthen international collaboration among these regions, particular with regard to the development of applications and services made possible by Galileo, Europe’s satellite navigation system. The competition is held under the patronage of the Bavarian State Ministry of Economic Affairs, Infrastructure, Transport and Technology and is supported by the European BIC Network (EBN). The main winners of the ESNC – the GALILEO Master, the special topic prize winners, and the 23 regional winners – will be recognised at a state reception to be held at the Munich Residenz on 18 October 2010.
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