Galileo navigation system

Win funding for satnav business ideas

07/05/2012 605 views 0 likes
ESA / Applications / Telecommunications & Integrated Applications / Technology Transfer

If you have a great new idea for commercially using satellite navigation, it’s time to come forward. You may win funding and support to bring your idea to life, in this year’s European Satellite Navigation Competition.

Now in its eighth year, the European Satellite Navigation Competition (ESNC) is boosting ideas for innovative satnav application and services with business potential.

With the prize pool worth about €1 million in cash awards, business incubation, coaching, patent consulting, prototyping and marketing support, many ideas will be backed.

Out of more than thousand ideas submitted in earlier competitions, many have been turned into new European businesses.

“I call on Europe’s entrepreneurs, SMEs and industry to seize this opportunity to promote ideas and bring lucrative business products, based on satnav applications to market,” said EC Vice-President Antonio Tajani when introducing this year’s competition.

“The ESNC fosters innovation in satellite navigation applications on a global scale.”

ESNC regions
ESNC regions

ESA’s Technology Transfer Programme (TTP) has been a partner in the competition since 2005 and for the last four years has offered the €10 000 ESA Innovation Prize.

“We look for innovative and creative business ideas using satellite navigation in a non-space setting,” explains Frank M. Salzgeber, Head of TTP.“They must have potential for quick market implementation and high economic growth.

“The winner may also be supported at one of our six ESA Business Incubation Centres throughout Europe or at an incubation facility part of ESINET, the European Space Incubators Network.

ESA Innovation Prize winners 2011
ESA Innovation Prize winners 2011

"Here, the winner is helped to turn the idea into a viable business.

"Our end objective is to create wealth and jobs by helping entrepreneurs to become viable companies.

"We help by making it possible for them to turn good ideas for using space technology and services into new business to strengthen Europe and its global competitiveness.”

After the business incubation period of typically 1–2 years, ESA could further help the companies to get access to funding through the TTP organised ESA Investment Forum and the Open Sky Technologies Fund.

The fund was established on ESA initiative to provide funding for start-up and early-stage companies using space technology and services in terrestrial applications.

What counts is your idea

No matter whether you propose your idea as an individual or a team from a company, a research institute, a university, or a start-up company, what counts is your idea. ESNC is looking for applications based on satellite navigation that use the technology in new ways.

To participate, first take a look at the more than 20 partner regions to choose the prize that best fits your plan for realising your idea. In addition, ideas can be submitted for the special or prototyping prizes.

ESA winner 2009 now hosted at BIC
ESA winner 2009 now hosted at BIC

ESNC’s overall Galileo Master winner will be selected from among all the regional and special prize winners, and receive the grand cash prize of €20 000.

Ideas must be submitted before 30 June 2012. Winners will be announced at the award ceremony in Munich, Germany, on 25 October.

More information on the competition is provided on the ESNC website at

ESA’s Business Incubation Centres

ESA Business Incubation Centres
ESA Business Incubation Centres

In 2003, ESA decided to set up business incubation centres as part of its Technology Transfer Programme, with the intention of helping entrepreneurs and young companies to use space technologies and knowhow to develop new products and services in non-space fields.

Six BICs have already been established in the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, the UK and Belgium. Being near major space sites ensures that specialist advice is never far away: in the Netherlands ESTEC, in Italy ESRIN, in Germany ESOC and DLR institutes, in the UK the Harwell Oxford Science Park, and in Belgium the ESA Redu ground station.

A seventh BIC is in planning for the Belgian Flanders region.

ESA’s Technology Transfer Programme Office (TTPO)

Space technology improves our lives
Space technology improves our lives

The main mission of the ESA Technology Transfer Programme is to facilitate the use of space technology and systems for non-space applications to take advantage of Europe’s investments in space research and developments to strengthen the competitiveness of European industry, and at the same time demonstrating the benefit of the European space programmes to Europe’s citizens.

ESA TTPO is responsible for defining the overall approach and strategy for the transfer of space technologies and systems, including the incubation of start-up companies at ESA business incubation centres and related funding.

The office has transferred over 260 technologies since the programme start and is supporting directly and indirectly around 100 new start-ups a year. TTPO has also initiated as a limited partner the Open Sky Technology Fund, a €100 million venture fund which invests in start-ups using space technology.

For more information, please contact:

ESA’s Technology Transfer Programme Office
European Space Agency
Keplerlaan 1
2200 AG, Noordwijk
The Netherlands

Tel: +31 71 565 6208

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