Innovative companies with new ideas for using data from global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) could get a share of prizes totalling EUR 1 million and connect with leading business incubators to bring their idea to market.
This is the attractive reward on offer to the winners of the 2015 European Satellite Navigation Competition (ESNC) and Copernicus Masters, which kicked off at the UK House of Commons in London on 21 April.
The GSA Special Prize
In addition to being a supporting partner, for the seventh consecutive year the GSA will be sponsoring the GSA Special Prize for the Most Promising Application for European GNSS. The objective of the Special Prize is to support the development of applications that rely on both EGNOS and Galileo, while also providing economic and social benefits.
“We think this competition is a good way to bring the advantages of the European GNSS to the attention of the innovation community,” said GSA Deputy Head of Market Development Fiammetta Diani. “Unlocking innovation is one of the GSA’s core tasks, and we have seen a growing interest in the stakeholder community for the GSA Special Prize.”
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Proposals for the GSA Special Prize should address specific business applications or have a demonstrated impact on social issues. The winner will have the opportunity to develop their idea at an incubation centre of their choice within the EU28 for six months, with the possibility of a further six months according to progress.
Last year’s competition received over 600 business cases from about 50 companies and built up a network of around 100 partners from research and industry, as well as an expert network of nearly 300 professionals. “Transforming high potential business cases into new products and services to generate economic growth perfectly fits the mission of these competitions,” said Thorstend Rudolph, Managing Director of Anwendungszentrum Oberpfaffenhofen (AZO), organisers of the conference.
A case in point is iGeolise, who won the UK leg of the ESNC competition in 2012 with its Travel Time Platform idea, which uses satellite data to help users find content on the web by the time it takes to travel there, rather than by distance. “The competition was fundamental in the growth of our business,” said iGeolise co-founder and director Charlie Davies. “As a result of winning the UK leg, we received press coverage and were contacted by a major customer that we had wanted to work with but couldn’t get through to. Now they’re one of our largest clients.”
“Sometimes it’s a challenge when you’re a very small company, trying to grow, to build sales and get investment,” he adds. “This competition can certainly make it a lot easier – it helped us take a simple idea and drive it into the market.”
Expanding Constellations, Expanding Opportunities
As the Galileo satellite constellation continues to expand, efforts to promote corresponding applications will become increasingly important. For this reason, competition organizers are looking forward to seeing the creative and innovative GNSS-based applications submitted this year.
The ESNC offers a prize pool worth EUR 1 million, including cash prizes and in-kind services. All winners of the 30 regional and special prizes will be in the running for the overall prize of EUR 20 000 and a six-month incubation programme (which can be extended to one year) in a region of their choice. The deadline for applying is 30 June.
Further information on this year’s prizes, partners and terms of participation can be found on the ESNC website.
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