40 pioneering entrepreneurs, 31 mentors and representatives of the European Commission and the European Space Agency gathered in Madrid on 24 and 25 October 2016 for the initial bootcamp of the first Copernicus Accelerator. The new business coaching programme, funded by the European Commission, will accelerate the market entry of innovative space applications and products submitted to ESA’s Earth observation competition Copernicus Masters with tailored expert support.

“We need business to develop tailor-made applications for specific users; reach out to new users, communities and sectors; and sell products to international markets. This is why we have launched this year the first Copernicus Accelerator. It will provide coaching to the top 40 applicants of the Copernicus Masters. It is the first stone of our Copernicus startup programme, which will accompany startups from the generation of an idea to its full commercialisation.” explains Phillipe Brunet, Director for Space Policy, Copernicus and Defence, DG for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs at the European Commission.

Bootcamp to leverage EO business ideas to the next level

The agenda for the first Bootcamp of the Copernicus Accelerator was packed with inspiring presentations giving deep insights in the potential of Copernicus applications, intense workshops and coaching sessions on investor pitches and business model canvassing, speed dating with expert mentors, and great networking opportunities to connect with the European EO and GNSS community.

The Accelerator Bootcamp sets forth the official start of the 8 month-long coaching programme provided to the 40 best entrants of this year’s Copernicus Masters competition. It was the first time mentees and mentors joined up in person, and had the opportunity to begin developing a coaching plan, including objectives and KPIs of their affiliation. Furthermore, all participants were able to connect with industry leaders, renowned institutions and mingle with ambitious startups to begin developing exciting synergies. The one-and-a-half-day event took place in Madrid in the impressive premises of the Circulo De Bellas Artes.

Opportunities provided by Copernicus for business and society

The data provided by Europe’s ambitious Earth observation programme Copernicus – which is generated by the Sentinel satellite fleet, the Contributing Missions and the Copernicus Services – is not only open to users worldwide, but also provided free of charge. This enables Copernicus to contribute to the development of a wide variety of innovative applications and services tailored to specific public or commercial needs. Over the last five years, the Copernicus Masters has evolved into the leading international platform for future-oriented ideas, applications, and business concepts that use Earth observation in everyday life. This is why the competition provides the ideal source for beneficiaries of the Copernicus Accelerator: 40 brilliant entrepreneurs from among the Copernicus Master’s participants, who will now receive tailored business coaching support delivered by high-level professionals from the realms of Earth observation, ICT, mobile industry and more. Funded by the European Commission, this initiative aims to support outstanding entrepreneurs in turning their promising ideas into reality, successful entering the market and achieving measurable progress towards their established objectives.

Following the Bootcamp in Madrid, the mentors will regularly follow-up with their assigned mentees until July 2017, to evaluate process made and ensure the achievement of the set objectives.

Further information on the Copernicus Accelerator is available online.

European Commission – DG GROWTH

The Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROWTH) is the European Commission service responsible for: completing the Internal Market for goods and services; helping turn the EU into a smart, sustainable, and inclusive economy by implementing the industrial and sectorial policies of the flagship Europe 2020 initiative; fostering entrepreneurship and growth by reducing the administrative burden on small businesses; facilitating access to funding for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs); and supporting access to global markets for EU companies. All of these actions are encapsulated in the Small Business Act; generating policy on the protection and enforcement of industrial property rights, coordinating the EU’s position and negotiations in the international intellectual property rights (IPR) system, and assisting innovators on using IP rights effectively; and implementing the EU’s space policy via its two large-scale satellite programmes Copernicus (for Earth observation) and Galileo (for global navigation), as well as research actions designed to spur technological innovation and economic growth. http://ec.europa.eu/growth/about-us/index_en.htm

AZO – an experienced organiser

By leveraging its extensive experience as a specialist in building and maintaining global innovation networks and organising related competitions, Anwendungszentrum GmbH Oberpfaffenhofen (AZO) supports product innovations and the creation of new companies, particularly in the field of commercial aerospace applications. AZO has been organising the Copernicus Masters competition on behalf of ESA since 2011. The company is now also handling participant support, mentor matching, and the organisation of the boot camp scheduled as part of the Copernicus Accelerator programme on behalf of the European Commission. www.anwendungszentrum.de

SpaceTec Partners

SpaceTec Partners is an independent strategy, management, and communications consulting group with offices in Munich and Brussels. Its broad array of services includes strategy and technology consulting, communication activities, and interdisciplinary project management, which it mainly provides to public institutions (the European Commission, the European Space Agency, the European GNSS Agency, the European Parliament, national ministries, etc.) in the space and space applications domain. SpaceTec Partners also offers business coaching to start-ups and SMEs, and is an accredited coach by leading early-stage funds like Hightech-Gründerfonds and BayernKapital. SpaceTec Partners is deeply involved in Copernicus User Uptake and User Requirements gathering activities on behalf of the European Commission. www.spacetecpartners.eu