An Open Call (AO5658) for proposals from SMEs with new ideas : the Initiative for ESA Telecom Newcomers

ESA's Telecommunication Department has supported Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) participation via several initiatives over the years. The Initiative for ESA Telecom Newcomers(IETN) has evolved from this process.

An overview of IETN :
how to submit proposals, and ESA's expectations

The Open Call For Proposals (currently open until 31st Dec. 2009) under IETN, aims to encourage SMEs to develop and design marketable products for the telecommunications industry.

To find the text of the Announcement of Opportunity, see "Open Invitations to Tender", No. AO5658 on the ESA EMITS website.

Information and links to documents which are needed to prepare a proposal can be found on URL: http://telecom.esa.int/telecom/www/object/index.cfm?fobjectid=28866.

Further background information can be found on the ESA Telecommunications and Integrated Appplications (TIA) website.

"The aim of the Newcomers Initiative is to ensure that at the conclusion of the project, companies are in a position to market their proposal commercially," explains Norbert Hübner, ESA contact for the IETN.

The IETN is available to SME's that have not worked with ESA before, and which are from the following countries: Austria (A), Belgium (B), Denmark (DK), France (F) (from 2009 onwards), Germany (D), Greece (GR), Ireland(IRL), Luxembourg(LUX), The Netherlands(NL), Norway(N), Portugal (P), Spain(E), Switzerland (CH) and Sweden (S).

ESA Telecom will consider supporting activities that deal with:

  • product development,
  • integration and demonstration activities

based on existing technologies and tailored to pre-operational products, systems and applications/services in a pre-competitive environment.

Submitting your proposal to the IETN consists of two steps.

In the first step, you will need to complete and submit, online, an Outline Proposal Form. If you require any advice regarding information requested on the outline proposal, please contact the TIA User Support Office.

In the second step, if your outline proposal is accepted, your company will then be invited to submit a complete proposal.

"The Initiative for ESA Telecom Newcomers uses an open call for proposals structure, allowing companies to submit proposals at any time during the year," says Hübner.
"By using this process, ESA Telecom will be able to review each proposal on an individual basis, allowing us to give each proposal our full attention. We will attempt to work within a time frame of three months from outline proposal submission to contract award."

For further details on the Initiative For ESA Telecom Newcomers, and to find contacts, please visit the ESA Telecommunications and Integrated Appplications (TIA) website.

To determine if your company qualifies as an SME

The essential characteristics of an SME are :

  • fewer than 250 employees;
  • annual turnover of less than 50M euro, or an annual balance sheet total of less than 43M euro;
  • independently owned (not more than 25% owned by a larger company).

Note that ESA employs the rules for defining an SME which have been established by the European Comission. A summary of the full criteria used to determine SME status can be found in the ESA SME Resources webpage.

Depending on the shareholding configuration of your company, the rules can be complicated. Please do not hesitate to seek advice from IETN if you are unsure if your company qualifies as an SME.

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