FIVE North East entrepreneurs have won coveted spots with a space incubation programme designed to help their businesses scale up and soar.
The five innovators will each receive support from experts in areas such as marketing, law, financial management, business growth and IP protection thanks to a further £30,000 investment from the UK Space Agency.
Business Durham, the economic development organisation for County Durham working on behalf of Durham County Council, received the grant to continue with the incubation programme at the North East Technology Park, (NETPark) in Sedgefield, County Durham to help companies access the support they need to soar in the burgeoning space sector, which is worth billions to the UK economy.
The five businesses that have been selected are:
Newton Aycliffe-based Viper RF, which designs and manufactures high frequency semiconductor chips working in the defence, commercial electronics (5G) and space sectors. It has started supplying custom designed chips into satellites to provide ‘Internet on the move’.
NETPark-based aXenic whose ultra, high-speed optical modulators are used in photonic applications in the space sector for inter-satellite and ground-satellite links.
Lexicon, which also has an office at NETPark, and traditionally uses its AR and VR technology in education but has three year plans to develop its first satellite related project for the maritime sector.
Saltburn company Scoutek Ltd, which specialises in space and archaeological exploration technology. Scoutek will use the incubator to develop their own miniature satellites, as well as key spin-offs - small launch vehicles, micro-engineered space experiments and ground station "software-defined" radio receivers.
Alnwick-based Northern Space and Security, a new business to the sector currently developing unique capabilities for defence and space applications.
Five entrepreneurs have already benefitted from the programme such as drone company Superfly Guys, which is currently working with homeware giant IKEA; software company Ryelore; Drone Industries, which is known for its mapping technology, software firm Gospelware and camera developers Chapter 6.
Al Yong, of, Superfly Guys said: "The business incubator provided crucial help at an important time in the development of our business. To be able to access high quality business support has directly helped us increase our revenues and improve our overall strategy. We are in a prime position to guide the built environment into a new era of UAV technology, strongly supported by the space sector. We're very grateful to the UK Space Agency for their continued support.”
Catherine Johns, director of innovation and business growth at Business Durham, said: “The North East is fast becoming a hub for innovative companies which are tapping into the space sector. They have the support they need to scale up here; the networks which are vital to secure funding and build peer relationships and access to world-class universities. The space incubation programme will help these five companies take their businesses to the next level.”
The support programme is being delivered in partnership with the UK Space Agency, which has plans for the UK to secure ten per cent of the anticipated £40bn global space market by 2030, and is part of a network of incubators which will collaborate on events and initiatives.
The investment in the programme builds on the significant impact the North East Satellite Applications Centre of Excellence, one of only five in the country and also based at NETPark, has already made.
Helen Roberts, regional growth manager at the UK Space Agency, said: “We are delighted to award this additional financial support to the North East Space Incubation Programme. We have successfully supported more than 30 new and innovative space companies across the regions, providing valuable jobs to the UK.
“The feedback from the supported companies has been extremely positive and the additional funding from the UK Space Agency will be used to stimulate further opportunities for start-ups by these experienced incubators.”