European Commission launches Copernicus Accelerator to fast-track business development

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Successful entrants to the Copernicus Masters competition will qualify for the new Copernicus Accelerator launched by the European Commission. The Accelerator will support the development of commercial space applications and aims to increase user uptake of Europe’s Earth observation programme, Copernicus.

“The Copernicus Accelerator aims to provide tailored support to new players who have innovative business ideas involving the use of space borne big data,” explained Andreas Veispak, head of the 13 unit (Space Data for Societal Challenges and Growth) at the European Commission. “We’re very excited to offer a customised business development scheme to the 40 best applicants to this year’s Copernicus Masters competition.”

As a co-sponsor of the competition’s Sustainable Living Challenge (alongside the UK Space Agency, Innovate UK and the Science and Technology Facilities Council), the Satellite Applications Catapult expects to play an active role in the recruitment of Accelerator mentors who will be invited to participate over the summer.

Stuart Martin, CEO of the Satellite Applications Catapult, added: “The best ideas will be selected by an international panels of experts to join the Accelerator programme and receive support from experienced mentors, working with them to develop their ideas. Entrants will be able to determine the focus of this coaching and work with their mentor over a six to eight-month period to create a business plan, acquire customers or raise capital. This is a great opportunity for a start-up to access tailor-made support to rapidly transform their idea into a viable product or service.”

To be eligible for the programme, entrants must either be citizens of one of the Copernicus Participating Countries1 or have established their company in the territory of one of the Participating Countries.

The Copernicus Accelerator will start with a bootcamp in Madrid from 24-26 October which will form part of the Satellite Masters conference and the Copernicus Masters awards ceremony.

In total, there are seven Challenges in this year’s Copernicus Masters competition. The judging panel for the Sustainable Living Challenge is looking for new ideas that help support a growing global population, including services that support agriculture, natural resource management (forests to water), smart cities, intelligent transport and the sustainable use of the oceans. The closing date for entries is Monday 25 July 2016.

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