UK Space Agency awards North East funding for small business growth

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18 March 2016 – The North East and North Wales space industries are about to get a boost as the UK Space Agency pledges funding for a network of business incubation centres across the regions.

The incubation funding will support start-up companies across the breadth of the space sector and grow space in the regions by providing a supportive business environment to assist entrepreneurs to develop small companies – an important path in realising the space sector’s ambition to achieve a 10% share of the global space market by 2030.

The funded incubators will provide small businesses with access to facilities and resources and will be part of a network of incubators that will collaborate on events and initiatives.

The incubator funding, which also covers incubators in the Midlands, was announced today at a Northern Space Consortium event in Liverpool where politicians and business leaders in the region were introduced to the opportunities and potential of the highly lucrative UK Space Industry.

Colin Baldwin, UK Space Gateway Programme Manager at the UK Space Agency, said: “North England, the Midlands and north Wales all have the potential to make a significant contribution to our thriving space sector. There are opportunities for a range of companies developing innovative products that can match the needs of the space industry. The incubators at Glyndwr, Sci-Tech Daresbury and the North East Technology Park will build upon the growing interests in space and the role it can play to support other sectors within their local areas, both in technology developments and space-derived services. We’re committed to nurturing business and research in these regions, and showing small businesses how they can benefit from our £11.8 billion space industry.”

The incubators receiving funding include:

The North East Technology Park

As part of County Durham’s innovation strategy, Business Durham seeks to help existing businesses diversify and innovate; encouraging high-tech, high growth businesses to join the growing cluster within County Durham. At the centre of this strategy is the North East Technology Park (NETPark).

Reacting to the news that the UK Space Agency has awarded Business Durham, the economic development company for County Durham, funding to support small businesses as they tap into the lucrative space sector, Dr Simon Goon, Business Durham’s managing director, said: “This is a fantastic investment to help support the North East’s smaller businesses as they tap into the flourishing UK space sector – an industry which is going to be worth £40bn by 2030. We can help businesses explore the huge potential of this global sector and elevate their ideas to the next level.”

The incubator will be based at the North East Technology Park, (NETPark) in Sedgefield and will build on the success of the North East Satellite Applications Centre of Excellence, one of only three in the country, which is based at NETPark.

The growth of the UK space sector is expected to reach £40bn by 2030.

Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)

STFC – a world-leading multi-disciplinary science organisation – will use the incubation funding to support a greater cross section of space related companies, both upstream and downstream, at its Daresbury Laboratory site. Daresbury Laboratory sits at the heart of Sci-Tech Daresbury, a National Science and Innovation Campus that co-locates high tech businesses with world leading science and technology, thus making it an ideal location to incubate space companies.

Glyndwr Innovations

Glyndwr Innovations (GI), a private company owned by Glyndwr University, manages the OpTIC Centre which provides technology-related, innovative companies with accommodation and business/academic/financial support. Its vision is to ensure a high quality, consistent supply chain for the space sector from north Wales.

The east Midlands incubators include:

Leicester Dock

Leicester Dock is an innovation centre specifically for high tech companies and includes companies that work with technology within the space sector. The funding will enable Dock to successfully deliver a regional incubator for start-up space companies which will have access to a range of business support.

UNIP Management Ltd

UNIP provides a unique environment where business and research work together, sharing knowledge and sparking innovation. The business incubation funding will be used to offer a package of support for start-ups and small businesses.

Loughborough University

Loughborough University (LU) will use the funding to establish and support the development of a cluster of start-up companies, working in areas related to the space sector, at the new Advanced Technology Innovation Centre (ATIC) – part of Loughborough University Science and Enterprise Parks (LUSEP).