APPLICATIONS for the UK Space Agency Accelerator open today, 12th January, with three levels of intensive business growth support to choose from, each designed to boost the success of entrepreneurs within, or looking to grow into, the UK’s vibrant space sector.
The UK Space Agency is investing just under £1.5 million in its business support programme, the UK Space Agency Accelerator, which is managed and delivered by Entrepreneurial Spark and Exotopic, who were appointed following a competitive tendering process. Following on from a successful pilot in 2021, this two-year rolling programme is expected to see 180 entrepreneurs’ ideas given a business boost with specialist coaching, network opportunities and business support to get their interstellar ideas investment ready.
Like-minded entrepreneurs will also be able to pitch ideas, share best practice and celebrate successes in person at Trajectory events taking place across the country. The three programmes available are:
Explore is perfect for those making their first steps into the commercial space industry and is aimed at those with some space knowledge or with an idea from another industry that has potential in space.
Applicants to the Leo programme will have Proof of Concept in place and will be at the development stage. Space knowledge will be slightly more developed and applicants might already be working in the space sector.
Geo is designed for entrepreneurs with some market traction and now looking to grow their business at pace.
And it’s not just traditional space businesses that are encouraged to apply. Anyone working in a related industry, such as engineering, manufacturing or even farming and other areas, and who has a service or product that could flourish in the space sector is urged to apply.
One entrepreneur who has seen success in space following the 2021 pilot programme is Zaria Serfontein, co-founder of Frontier Space Technologies. Zaria and her team joined the accelerator pilot to gain business knowhow and devise a roadmap to develop their business driving innovative biomedical research in space.
Zaria said: “As a group of technically minded individuals, we felt we needed business knowledge and mentorship to enable us to take our product to market. The accelerator not only gave us the tools we needed to grow our business, it allowed us to build a valuable network of like-minded entrepreneurs and helped us to focus on our priorities to help us scale up in a sustainable way.
Since taking part in the pilot, we’ve successfully secured several rounds of grant funding, onboarded our first client and have taken on our first employees to develop our innovative Lab in a Box technology which has the potential to revolutionise drug discovery of the future.
For us, the accelerator helped us step out of the technology environment and put in place the core aspects every business needs to succeed, such as building our collective vision and goal setting. I would recommend the accelerator to any entrepreneurs who are looking to make those vital connections and gain the tools to take their business to market. You won’t be disappointed!”
Dr Paul Bate, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency, said: “The UK Space Agency Accelerator will help entrepreneurs across the country start and grow their space businesses, joining the UK’s thriving space sector, which already employs 47,000 people.
“Businesses taking part in our pilot accelerator programme in 2021 went on to attract £8.79 million in further funding. This highlights the value we seek to bring as an Agency: catalysing investment, delivering space capabilities and championing space. Now we want to aim higher, opening up space to industries and entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds across the UK who had perhaps not considered space as a viable route to market.”
To find out more about the UK Space Agency Accelerator and to apply, visit www.ukspaceaccelerator.co.uk.