What do a farming, maritime mapping and travel technology business have in common? They are all ‘space entrepreneurs’ who have benefited from entering the leading space business competitions.

The European Satellite Navigation Competition (ESNC) and the Copernicus Masters are designed to transform brilliant ideas that use satellite technology into exciting start-up businesses and new products and services by offering financial investment and expert business support.

On 21 May, the UK competition team will be in Glasgow, at the University of Strathclyde’s Technology and Innovation Centre, and are inviting budding entrepreneurs and companies to attend an information session about the competitions and prizes, including guidance on how to submit an application along with insights from Steve Lee at Stevenson Astrosat based in Musselburgh, near Edinburgh, who won a Copernicus Masters Challenge last year.

In 2015, the ESNC is looking for ideas using satellite positioning, navigation and timing technology (think GPS) and the Copernicus Masters is looking for ideas in the application of satellite Earth observation imagery and data.

Prizes include a combination of cash investment, comprehensive business support including Intellectual Property (IP) advice from leading patent and trade mark attorneys Marks & Clerk, technical support from across the European Space sector, and access to space datasets.

Dr Malcolm Macdonald, Director of the Scottish Centre of Excellence in Satellite Applications, which is hosting the event, said: “The competitions are a great opportunity for entrepreneurs to connect with the Space sector, and get the support they need to transform an idea into a business. It takes about two hours to complete an application; you don’t need a fully formed business plan and we’re here to help guide you through the process.”

The information session will also include an introduction to IP for business from Michael Street, Patent Attorney at Marks & Clerk and participants can sign up for a 1-to-1 session on the day to discuss their idea in confidence with the competition team or receive business or IP advice.

Still need persuading? Then take inspiration from previous winner Peter Lilley, Director of iGeolise who won the UK leg of the ESNC in 2012 for their innovative travel time platform (www.getraveltime.com) that turns distance into time. iGeolise won their first major corporate client, a large estate agency and property services firm, on the back of the competition publicity and two years later the business reached the £1 million turnover mark.

“If someone’s got two hours free, they should enter the competition… and frankly, if they haven’t got two hours free, they should make two hours! It will transform their business,” says Peter.

Information Session Details

  • Date: 21 May
  • Time: 10:00 – 12:00 (Registration opens at 09:45)
  • Location: Technology and Innovation Centre, 99 George Street, Glasgow G1 1RD



To register for the information session, visit https://sa.catapult.org.uk/discovery-workshops

The European Satellite Navigation Competition (www.ukesnc.com) closes on 30 June 2015 and the Copernicus Masters (www.copernicus-masters.com) on 13 July 2015.