ESA competition for internationalization of SMEs

The goal of the Global Space Markets Challenge is to give SMEs and startups international visibility. The prerequisite is that they develop products and/or services for the space sector and have a target market that is neither in a country within the European Union, nor in an ESA member state or Canada. The reason for this, according to ESA, is that companies could already find potential customers with their products or services in these countries.

Profits for a successful start

Three prizes will be awarded in each of the categories Upstream and Downstream, with €15,000 for first place, €10,000 for second place and €5,000 for third place. The six winners in total will be able to draw on the expertise of the space agency as part of the ESA mentoring program and adapt their internationalization plans accordingly. In addition, all winners will have the opportunity to present themselves and their products or services at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC 2021) in Dubai in October 2021. The importance of this congress within the industry is demonstrated by SpaceX, among others, as this is where Elon Musk presented plans for the Starship in 2017. The winners of the Upstream category will also have the opportunity to present themselves with their own exhibition stand at the next ESA Industry Space Days.

The application phase will run until June 20, 2021, and on August 2, 2021, 25 companies will be announced for each of the two categories that have made it onto the longlist. On September 10, the top 12 (6 each upstream/downstream) will be announced, and on September 28, they will have another opportunity to make a convincing presentation. Subsequently, ESA will determine the six finalists and will reveal on September 30, 2021, who has won which place in the final.

These participation criteria apply

  • The company must belong to one of the ESA member states, Canada (as a cooperating state), Slovenia, Latvia or Lithuania (as associate member states).
  • The company must be a small and medium-sized enterprise (SME), taking into account the criteria established by the European Commission (EC) in its Recommendation 2003/361/EC of 6 May 2003.
  • The company must consist of a majority of companies incorporated and operating under the laws of one of the ESA Member States, Canada (as a cooperating state), Slovenia, Latvia or Lithuania (as an associated member state), or of natural persons who are nationals of these countries.
  • The company must develop products and/or services for upstream or downstream.
  • Products and services funded under the ESA Global Space Markets Challenge must be for peaceful purposes only (e.g., scientific and/or commercial purposes).

This is how the applications are evaluated

Technical value and credibility of the product or service25%
Demonstrated understanding of the target market(s) and the suitability of the product/service for the target market(s) (markets, users, competitors, stakeholders to be involved, identified own information gaps). Demonstrated understanding of potential challenges and risks of internationalization. Discussion of problem areas and elaboration of potential response/mitigation measures (regulatory issues, market risks, credit/currency risks, political risks, etc.).35%
Suitability of the implementation plan with regard to the intended market entry strategy, internationalization measures, marketing and sales20%
Reasonableness and credibility of cost estimates, schedule and planning10%
Team (skills, resources and experience)10%

via: ESA, NKS Raumfahrt

Header Image Credit: Free Footage
Written by M. Weissflog
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