Space for new ideas - Big opportunities for small entrepreneurs

December 11, 2002

Access to innovative solutions and increased competitiveness thanks to space technology - this is the theme of a workshop to be held at ESA/ESRIN in Frascati on 16 December organised by the Technology Transfer Programme of the European Space Agency.

The most advanced European space technologies are being made available to non-space industry through the ESA Technology Transfer Programme, which has brought about over 150 transfers in its 12-year existence. The cumulative turnover generated is in the order of €25 million for the space companies involved, and €150 million for the non-space companies; 2500 jobs have been created, and 25 new companies have been established.

This meeting in Frascati - the third in a series - is an annual showcase of recent results and future prospects for space spin-offs. It is co-organised by D'Appolonia, the Italian technology broker, a member of the Technology Transfer Programme network. Representatives from the European Commission will be taking an active part in this event.

An important contribution to the workshop comes from ESINET, the Network of European Space Incubators jointly established by ESA and the EC. Today, thirty organisations are members of this network, which fosters start-ups and assists SMEs in gaining access to financing schemes. ESA is creating other opportunities through commercial utilisation of the International Space Station, making ISS microgravity laboratories available for the development of new materials and biotechnology, health, environmental and food applications.

And a fashion note: in the course of the day the winners of the Space2Tex clothing design competition will be announced. Clothes that can be ironed with a hairdryer, cooling jackets, smart baby pyjamas that can alert doctors are just a few examples of how space technologies can contribute to the creation of new products, and new business. The competition, launched by ESA and D'Appolonia, has proved a considerable success: more than 160 contestants worldwide have proposed ideas for uses of space technologies in the areas of ready-to-wear, high fashion, sports and leisure, work and health care. The winners will be immediately projected into new orbits: the Italian company Grado Zero Espace will manufacture the winning ideas and present them at major trade fairs.
-end-
Media representatives wishing to attend the workshop are kindly requested to complete the attached registration form and fax it back to ESA/ESRIN.

European Space Agency

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