The SpaceTech Incubation Initiative has been officially launched at Goonhilly Earth Station.

The South West Centre of Excellence for Satellite Applications (SWCoESA) scheme aims to support start-up companies in the space technology sector and includes an opportunity for eligible businesses to be based at Goonhilly for a year, cost-free.

Four new companies from Cornwall, the UK and abroad were selected to participate in the initiative, which is funded by the Satellite Applications Catapult and the UK Space Agency in partnership with Goonhilly Earth Station Ltd, SETsquared and the University of Exeter.

Helen Roberts, UK regional growth manager at the UK Space Agency, said: “The SpaceTech Incubation Initiative is a valuable addition to the UK Space Agency’s Business Incubation Network, extending our network to the south west of England, which has a rich history in exploitation of the space sector. We look forward to seeing the start-up cohort develop their business propositions.”

The official launch was marked by a networking breakfast with stakeholders from across the region and further afield, including the Cornwall Chamber of Commerce, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership, Invest in Cornwall, and Innovate UK.

The start-up cohort  – Sigma Technical, Paddlelogger, Adaptive Array Systems and from Russia, SteamJet Space Systems – participated in a three-day programme including the SETsquared Entrepreneur’s Programme and a day dedicated to space and satellite technology.

The start-ups will now benefit from three months’ business support through SETsquared Exeter, and will be eligible to establish their business at Goonhilly  for one year free from costs.

Following their participation in SpaceTech, the four businesses will join the growing network of space related enterprises in the UK’s south west. In the meantime, the SpaceTech team will be working hard to ensure another cohort benefits from this great opportunity in 2018.

SWCoESA director, Cathrine Armour, added: “Whether satellite data and SatNav or space engineering and technology, the south west is poised to achieve its share of the growing space industry.

“With the UK space sector growing 10% over the last decade the UK is targeted to grow to £40 billion by 2030. There has never been a better time to enter the space sector. The SpaceTech Incubation Initiative aims to support space entrepreneurs who see their future in the south west.”