ESA rewards satnav innovations

Entrepreneurs have the chance to win prizes totalling €1m (£860,000) in this year’s European Satellite Navigation Competition.

The European Space Agency (ESA) will award a special prize of €10,000 for the best idea and support the business start-up at one of its four Business Incubation Centres (BICs).

Now in its seventh year, the European Satellite Navigation Competition (ESNC) is boosting ideas for innovative satnav applications and services. More than a thousand ideas were submitted over the first six years, many of which have turned into new businesses in Europe.

Since 2005, ESA’s Technology Transfer Programme Office (TTPO) has been a partner in the competition and for the past two years it has offered a €10,000 ESA Special Topic Prize.

At the BICs, the winners will be assisted by ESA experts and will have access to space technologies and laboratories. But the support does not stop there. After incubation, TTPO will help the companies to acquire funding through its biannual ESA Investment Forum and the new Open Sky Technologies Fund.

The 2010 contest began on 1 May and closes on 31 July.

Competitors are invited to submit their ideas online at ESNC’s website.

The winner of the Galileo Master grand prize of €20,000, as well as regional and special topic prizes, will be recognised at an awards ceremony in the Munich Residenz, Munich, Germany on 18 October.

The competition is being organised by Anwendungszentrum GmbH Oberpfaffenhofen, which has been responsible for running the fourth ESA BIC since 2009.