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European Competition Seeks Best Satnav Ideas

May 12, 2010

Entrepreneurs have the chance to win prizes totaling a million euros (approximately $1.3 million USD) in this year’s European Satellite Navigation Competition. ESA will award a special prize of 10,000 euros (approximately $13,000 USD) for the best idea and support the business start up at one of its four incubation centers.

Now in its seventh year, the European Satellite Navigation Competition (ESNC) is boosting ideas for innovative satnav application and services. More than a thousand ideas were submitted over the first six years, many of which have turned into new businesses in Europe.

Since 2005 ESA’s Technology Transfer Programme Office (TTPO) has been a partner in the competition and for the past two years it has offered a 10,000 euros (approximately $13,000 USD) ESA Special Topic Prize. 

“We are seeking innovative and creative business ideas with the potential for quick market implementation and high economic growth using satellite navigation in non-space business environments,” explained Frank M. Salzgeber, Head of TTPO.

“The winner may be supported at one of our four ESA Business Incubation Centres (BICs) or at an incubation facility of a member of ESINET, the European Space Incubators Network.

“With the support of one of these facilities, the winner will be helped to turn their idea into a viable company. Our scope is to actively promote entrepreneurs and make it possible for them to turn good ideas for using space technology and services into new business in Europe.”

At the BICs they will be assisted by ESA experts, and will have access to space technologies and laboratories. But the support does not stop there. After incubation, TTPO will help the companies to acquire funding through its biannual ESA Investment Forum and the new Open Sky Technologies Fund.

The 2010 contest began on May 1, and closes on July 31; competitors are invited to submit their ideas online at ESNC’s website. Twenty-one regions in Germany, France, Israel, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan the UK, the USA, the Middle East and North Africa will offer prizes and support for winning ideas.

The winner of the Galileo Master grand prize of 20,000 euros (approximately $25,000 USD), as well as regional and special topic prizes, will be recognized at an awards ceremony in the Munich Residenz, Munich, Germany on October 18.

The competition is being organized by Anwendungszentrum GmbH Oberpfaffenhofen, which since 2009 has been responsible for running the fourth ESA BIC.

Image Caption: The final constellation of Europe’s Galileo satellite navigation system will consist of 30 satellites Credits: ESA-J. Huart

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