BLOG: Funding for New Satellite Applications



As Innovation Development Manager I’m often asked “is there any funding to develop our idea”? Generally, the answer is ‘yes’, there are a number of ways to fund new ideas and bring them to reality. There is also a whole host of support available to help.

So how does it all work? Let me give you some examples of how this has worked recently.

Example 1 – You have a business idea which will utilise satellite technology in some way. One local company wanted to improve its vessel tracking system in a maritime environment with a view to understanding more about shipping movements. The Northeast centre supported the company by introducing them to experts and advising on an appropriate fund for proof of concept.

Example 2 – We look at funding available and work with experts to develop a solution. Last year we identified a European Space Agency (ESA) fund we thought would be of interest to the region. ESA were looking to fund solutions which utilised satellite data to solve waste management issues. We gathered a team of people with an interest, skills or relevant knowledge and applied to ESA to fund the project. This project is currently being delivered in the Northeast.

Example 3 – A business identifies and describes business challenges and we bring the experts together to discuss solutions and then look for appropriate funding to de risk the innovation process. Last year a large corporate business introduced us to numerous satellite and UAV challenges they had within the business. We introduced the challenges to a group of expert SMEs and academics who proposed solutions to the problems. Some solutions have been funded by the corporate whilst we are looking at other funding options for some of the remaining ideas.

It’s worth mentioning that many of the companies we are currently working with had not worked with satellite data or with any of the Catapults or Space agencies previously. We support you in making this leap into the sector.

Funds available:-

  • Innovate UK – Emerging and Enabling Technologies
  • ESA (European Space Agency) – ESA have a number of funding streams at varying levels – Both ESA and the NE Satellite Applications CoE will support you in this area
  • There are a number of other funds available to help de-risk the innovation process and we will help to identify them.

Support available:-

  • Satellite Applications Catapult – Spin up factory, expertise in Earth Observation, Communications and GPS technologies (and much  more)
  • UK Space Agency – Space incubator network and other expertise
  • ESA BIC – European Space Agency Business Incubators
  • EEN/RTC
  • KTN
  • Universities
  • NE Satellite Applications CoE – we support with developing your idea, connecting you with experts/partners and helping to establish funding and finance routes.

Investment potential:-

  • Banks
  • Angel Investors
  • Jeremie funds
  • Finance Durham (Durham only Businesses)
  • Specialist Space investors such as Seraphim

So the key message is – ‘you are not alone and you don’t need to take all the risks’.

Talk to us if you have a business idea, if you have a business challenge or if you need funding or investment.

A great way of finding out more would be to come to our annual Satellite Applications Conference which is to be held in Durham on March the 22nd. Book your place here https://www.nesatappsconference.com/

Graeme Miller, Innovation Development Manager, Business Durham

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