Space sector accelerator targeting Scottish entrepreneurs with interstellar aims

Applications have opened for an accelerator initiative that aims to further grow the UK’s space sector.

The UK Space Agency is investing just under £1.5 million in its business support programme, which is managed and delivered by Entrepreneurial Spark and Exotopic, who were appointed following a competitive tendering process. The programme comes despite a recent setback for Britain’s space sector after the failure of Virgin Orbit’s satellite rocket launch.

Following on from a successful pilot in 2021, the two-year rolling UK Space Agency Accelerator programme is expected to see 180 entrepreneurs’ ideas given a business boost with specialist coaching, network opportunities and support to get their interstellar ideas investment ready. Like-minded entrepreneurs will also be able to pitch ideas, share best practice and celebrate successes in person at “Trajectory” events taking place across the country.

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Paul Bate, chief executive of the UK Space Agency, said: “The UK Space Agency Accelerator will help entrepreneurs across the country start and grow their space businesses, joining the UK’s thriving space sector, which already employs 47,000 people. Businesses taking part in our pilot accelerator programme in 2021 went on to attract £8.79m in further funding.

“This highlights the value we seek to bring as an agency: catalysing investment, delivering space capabilities and championing space. Now we want to aim higher, opening up space to industries and entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds across the UK who had perhaps not considered space as a viable route to market.”

One entrepreneur who has seen success in space following the 2021 pilot programme is Zaria Serfontein, co-founder of Frontier Space Technologies. Serfontein and her team joined the accelerator pilot to gain business knowhow and devise a roadmap to develop their business driving innovative biomedical research in space.

She said: “The accelerator not only gave us the tools we needed to grow our business, it allowed us to build a valuable network of like-minded entrepreneurs and helped us to focus on our priorities to help us scale up in a sustainable way. Since taking part in the pilot, we’ve successfully secured several rounds of grant funding, onboarded our first client and have taken on our first employees.”

Paul Bate, CEO of the UK Space Agency, joins Zaria Serfontein, co-founder of Frontier Space Technologies at the UK Space Agency offices in Westminster, London to launch the UK Space Agency Accelerator programme. Picture: Matt Crossick

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