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ESA Telecom Announces 6th round Start-up Projects Initiative

22 Mar 2006

Outline Proposals for Round 6 of the ESA Telecom Start-up Projects Initiative will be accepted from 10 April to 15 May 2006.
Companies that have successfully passed the Outline Proposal stage will be invited to present their idea in a bilateral meeting followed by the submission of a Full Proposal until end August 2006.

To date, ESA Telecom has launched five rounds of the Start-up Projects Initiative to help Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) enter the satcom sector. Previous results have encouraged ESA Telecom to expand and refine the scheme to build on the initial successes.

The field of satellite communications can be difficult for smaller and new businesses to enter. The technical and commercial risks, as well as the perceived complexity of the field, can act as strong deterrents to entrepreneurs and potential financiers alike.

Satcom provides many exciting possibilities for new technology, applications and services in such areas as mobile communications, Internet, multimedia, broadcasting and location based communication applications. And it is not only the large enterprises that can exploit these opportunities successfully.

Result oriented
So far, nearly sixty projects have resulted from the initiative. The benefits to European Industry and its citizens are clear as stated by Nuno Carvalho from the Portuguese company WIT-Software from the project RISING: Road Information System for Next Generation Cars, which will increase safety on European roads, "ESA's Start-up projects initiative is an excellent opportunity for SME companies to acquire knowledge in the space sector and to get support from experts. Working with ESA is a rewarding experience that opens new opportunities for space related activities and other markets."

Innovation is key to opening new markets for Industry. The ESA Telecom Start-up Projects Initiative helps companies develop innovations that they would otherwise not be able to realise such as the very successful SASS: Satellite based Alarm and Surveillance System, which is improving security at nuclear power plants. Andreas Nil, Managing Director of MediaMobil Communication in Germany, the company behind the project said, "We'd had the idea for sometime, but couldn't realise it because of a lack of resources. The ESA Start-Up Projects Initiative provided not only the financial and organisational framework for the activity, but also valuable support to find high profile pilot users for our project which have become potential customers of the future product."

Financial support
The scheme provides for the award of development contracts up to 300,000 Euro for propositions that include the satcom component as an essential element. Two possible funding levels depending on the commercial maturity of the proposition will be applied:

a) Financial support up to 100% (max 300,000 Euro) for validation of concepts in early stages of development involving innovative technologies with perceived high commercial and/or technical risks

b) Financial support up to 50% (max 150,000 Euro) for integration and demonstration activities based on existing technologies tailored to pre-operational products, systems and applications, with identified market opportunities.

ESA Telecom
ESA Telecom has resources and expertise which can help introduce companies not generally associate with satcom. The UK based company Nottingham Scientific Limited's project SKY-EYE-SPY will improve security to data transmitted via a satellite communications link. On what the Start-up Projects initiative meant to his company William Roberts explained, "Our project has greatly assisted us in a strategic move to diversify its offering into product development within the information security sector. The lessons learned and knowledge gained are proving readily transferable to other developments and initiatives within the company and will be critical to our future success.

Who can join?
Any small or medium-sized business from a country participating in ESA Telecom's Start-up Projects Initiative is eligible to apply. Participating countries are tentatively: Austria, Canada, France, Finland, Germany, Greece, Italy, Ireland, Luxembourg, Norway, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

Particular attention will be paid to proposals from companies that have never had a contract with ESA Telecom before.

The aim of the Start-up Initiative is to ensure that at the end of the project, companies are in a position to progress the commercial exploitation of their proposal. In addition to the financial support, ESA will also use its expertise and contacts to bring together complementary ideas and ventures in the satcom field.

From 10 April 2006 to 15 May 2006 at 13.00, Outline Proposals for the Sixth Round of the ESA Telecom Start-up Projects Initiative will be accepted.

End of June 2006, pre-selected companies will be offered the opportunity to present their idea and discuss it with ESA experts. Having reached an agreement on the content of the activity, the elaboration of the idea in the form of Full Proposals is expected by end August 2006.

News and updated information on this Start-up Projects Initiative will appear on this website from 10 April 2006 onwards.
Last Update: 05 Apr 2006
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