The South West Centre of Excellence in Satellite Applications is supporting business innovators and start-ups in the South West region using space data and technology to encourage growth of the sector. With the development of the South West’s space assets, the region is in an ideal position to foster business growth for start-ups and entrepreneurs keen to engage with the space industry.
The South West Centre of Excellence in Satellite Applications, based at the University of Exeter’s Penryn Campus has taken a lead to engage with the region’s small businesses and innovators, providing an opportunity for them to take part on a two day business entrepreneurship training programme. During the past 12 months, two programmes have been delivered both in Exeter and Penryn and will continue to provide business support to budding space SMEs in the future.
‘We help entrepreneurs to focus on what they’re trying to develop, what their products or services are, and to pitch to investors, including the UK Space Agency and European Space Agency.’
Conrad Gillespie, SWCoESA Centre Manager
The opportunities on offer from space reach almost every commercial sector. Innovative ideas from businesses vary from the development of apps using communications and tracking, to earth observation used in the agritech and marine sectors to monitor the natural capital from the earth’s resources. However, some industries may not realise the business opportunities available in areas such as big data and the Internet of Things. These opportunities are present across the supply chain, from hardware to engineering.
During the two day programme delivered by the world-leading business incubator, SETsquared, entrepreneurs will identify their customer profile, explore market segments, build a financial model and use tools to validate their business understanding. The businesses are then invited to an event where they deliver their pitches to members of the Cornwall Space Cluster including the UK Space Agency, receiving candid feedback through 1:1 speed mentoring.
Following the programme participants will be encouraged to seize existing opportunities in the space industry, engage with their market sectors, take up offers of hot desking and office facilities in the region, and adopt an agile approach to business development.
‘I’m seeing more and more innovations coming through, and I’ve seen a lot more interest in Earth Observations to solve important issues like Climate Change. It’s really important now, and it’s going to be increasingly important going forward.’
Portia Bircher, Local Growth Manager, UK Space Agency
The SpaceTech Programme is now in its third year, and innovative ideas have been wide reaching from tourism to disaster relief, some examples include:-
“I learnt a great deal about business and financial plans. I also had the opportunity to pitch and get feedback from mentors which is highly valuable.”
Alex Longman, Solar.Space
‘The SpaceTech incubator has been a great way for validation of what we are already doing, and also talking to a lot of interested parties to see how we can grow on our journey. Also, the speed mentoring network was absolutely fabulous!’
Tanuvi Ethunandan, Co-Founder of Data Duopoly