18 September 2001
The European Space Agency today launches a new initiative designed to help small companies enter the field of satellite communication by providing early-stage investment and support.
The new scheme, which is run by ESA’s Telecommunications Department, is aimed at SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) and start-ups in the Information Technology (IT) or telecommunications field with promising new satcom business concepts. This might involve the creative use of existing satellite technologies to provide new services for the Internet, multimedia, navigation or mobile applications, for example; or new systems and technologies with the potential to facilitate or improve existing services.
Companies selected for the scheme will be offered a support framework in which to develop and refine their new concepts to a sufficient level of technical and commercial viability so for commercial funding to be sought. A typical package may include:
Claudio Mastracci, ESA’s Director of Applications commented: "This is a new type of initiative for ESA’s Telecommunications department, directly targeting the entrepreneurs of Europe, who we believe can make a significant contribution to the development of our satcoms industry. We are aware that the satellite field is not an easy one for small companies to enter, but it is important that they are given the opportunity to do so, both to maximise their own potential for success, and to ensure our industry benefits from the type of creative momentum which we are currently seeing in the terrestrial telecommunications and IT fields."
Recognising the resource issues faced by small companies, ESA has created a fast-track application process allowing applicants to submit tentative proposals for initial feedback, before producing a full proposal.
Any company from a country participating in this area of ESA's telecommunications programme is eligible to apply. Currently this includes Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Finland, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Norway, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. Others may join at a later stage.
Further information about the scheme and how to apply is available on the ESA Telecom Web site http://www.telecom.esa.int.
ESA’s Telecommunications Department is responsible, within ESA, for co-ordinating, shaping and supporting innovation in satellite communications. It ensures that member countries remain competitive in the global satellite communications market by providing a lead in research and development activities. The ESA Telecom Department also plays an investment role by supporting the development of new satellite systems and technologies in preparation for future services.
For further information, please contact:
ARTES 5 Programme Office
ESA/ESTEC – The Netherlands
Tel: +31 (0)71 565 3920
ESA Communication Department
ESA Media Relation Office
Tel. + 33 (0)22.214.171.124.55