The 21st European Navigation Conference culminated with the international kick-off for this year’s European Satellite Navigation Competition (ESNC). For 2013 this prestigious competition has prizes totalling € 1 million.
The kick-off ceremony for the European Satellite Navigation Competition (ESNC) 2013 was a fitting climax to the European Navigation Conference 2013 in Vienna on 25 April. Entrants to this year’s ESNC will get the opportunity to share in a prize worth € 1 million by submitting ideas for novel Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) applications that benefit European citizens.
The ceremony was opened by representatives from the Austrian Ministry of Transport, who welcomed the audience and spoke about the competition’s importance as an instrument to promote European satellite infrastructure and create social and economic benefits for the people of Europe.
Following the welcoming speeches, Thorsten Rudolph, managing director the competition’s organiser Anwendungszentrum (AZO) GmbH, kicked off the international section of the competition and stressed the competition’s role as an instrument to drive innovation and incubation in the commercial use of space technologies and infrastructure, such as Galileo and EGNOS. He said that the competition’s evaluators scout for the best business ideas, with an emphasis on areas of application that can provide public and social services or added value in areas such as healthcare and industry.
Rudolph gave a brief overview of the competition’s history: ESNC has involved over 7000 participants since 2004, with 171 winners and 1984 innovative space-based ideas. The fact that one-third of previous winners have gone on to found companies and around 80% of the ideas generated have been successfully implemented or are under development bears testament to the competition’s success in boosting satellite navigation applications and promoting entrepreneurial achievement.
ESNC demonstrates EGNOS potential.
In addition to the overall prize, entrants also have the opportunity to win special prizes, offered by a number of partners, including the European GNSS Agency (GSA), the European Space Agency (ESA), the German Aerospace Centre (DLR), the European Patent Office (EPO) and Metaio GmbH. Participants can also submit ideas for the GNSS Living Lab Prize and the University Challenge.
Introducing the GSA special prize at the kick-off ceremony, Gian Gherardo Calini said the competition is a part of a complex set of activities undertaken by the GSA and aimed at increasing market penetration of applications using Galileo and EGNOS technology. Calini said that the GSA invests in projects it believes in, and sees the competition as a valuable tool to increase European GNSS awareness in all market segments, and as a clear demonstration of the business potential of EGNOS and Galileo.
Other speakers at the kick-off ceremony noted the importance of being open to ideas, and welcomed the competition as an important source for generating ideas and encouraging the development of value-added applications that will provide tangible benefits for European citizens and business. This is seen as crucial at the current stage of development of this relatively young market that is set to be worth € 240 billion by 2020.
One million in prizes
The ESNC competition is open to everyone - individual entrepreneurs or teams from companies or research institutes. Entrants can make submissions from 1 April to 30 June 2013, by first selecting the region whose prize would best support their business case from among the competition’s 20 regional partners worldwide. Entrants in the competition have the chance to win a share of around € 1 million in prizes - including cash prizes, business incubation, coaching, patent consulting, prototyping and marketing support, access to customers and user communities, and publicity in the world's leading satellite navigation network.
The winner of the GSA special prize for the most promising EGNOS application idea, will have the opportunity to realise the idea at a suitable incubation centre of their choice within the EU27 for six months, with the option of an additional six months based on evaluation after the first period.
The ESNC's overall winner - the Galileo Master - is selected from among all the regional and special prize winners by a panel of experts. They will be granted an additional cash prize of € 20,000 and the opportunity to realise the winning idea as part of a six-month incubation programme in the region of their choice.
The key to the Competition’s success lies in its close collaboration with regional, institutional, and industrial partners with whom it shares one common goal: promoting innovation and entrepreneurial spirit along the GNSS value chain to benefit the citizens of Europe and the global community. Many of the business cases submitted in previous years have already been implemented and successfully brought to market.
ESNC started in 2004 with three partner regions, and has since grown into a leading global network of innovation and expertise in the GNSS sector with more than 20 regions and 190 industry and research experts around the world.
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