At the recent European Space Conference in Brussels, the four key partners of the Cassini space entrepreneurship initiative further committed their support for the programme.
The European Commission, the EU Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA), the European Space Agency (ESA), and the European Investment Fund (EIF) committed to multiplying the benefits of space technology to businesses. This initiative implies attracting more private investment funds, running capacity building activities, sharing expertise, organizing matchmaking, and promoting the markets. Cassini is central to this endeavour.
Cassini – Space Entrepreneurship Initiative
In January 2021, Commissioner Breton announced the setting-up of a €1 billion European Space Fund to boost start-ups and space innovation, that would cover the whole innovation cycle, from business ideas to industry growth.
On this basis, the European Commission has put in place Cassini to support entrepreneurship among space-related businesses in the EU. The initiative is tailored to the needs of companies in different growth stages from seed to mid-caps, and to companies developing space technology as well as digital applications for various markets, by improving access to investments and professional networks.
CASSINI also caters to future entrepreneurs by offering competitions and mentoring as a fast way forward to develop products meeting important customer needs, exploring new business models and crafting go-to-market plans.
The Cassini programme consists of three key features, that all benefit new and existing space entrepreneurs in a different aspect of setting up and growing their business:
European Space Conference 2022
DG DEFIS Director-General Timo Pesonen, EUSPA Executive Director, Rodrigo da Costa, ESA Director-General Josef Aschbacher, Chief Executive of the European Investment Fund Alain Godard gathered at the Egmont Palace in Brussels on the occasion of the 14th edition of the European Space Conference 2022. During this event, they agreed on the principles of cooperation to support SMEs in the space sector, fostering on exchange of information and engaging in joint cross-functional actions towards space entrepreneurship.
Dedicated to promoting the commercialization of Galileo, EGNOS, and Copernicus data and services to increase the market share of the EU space actors, EUSPA has been engaging with companies of all sizes from a broad spectrum of industries, many of which had not used space services in their activities before.
Through capacity-building, and supporting their access to financial resources, mentoring and market know-how, EUSPA helps to create breakthroughs for space entrepreneurship.
The ‘’New Space’’ paradigm is however reshaping the industry’s landscape resulting in a greater need for better access to risk capital and other forms of growth financing. Anticipating this need, EUSPA is ready to take EU space entrepreneurship to the next level by leveraging investments, its know-how and capacity building within the CASSINI Space Entrepreneurship Growth Funding Initiative, together with the European Investment Fund, the European Commission, and the European Space Agency.
These organisations are committed to bringing together their expertise and experience to leverage new investment support for the European space-based economy. The common objective is to create high-skilled jobs in the EU and improve the day-to-day lives of Europeans by supporting innovative companies and accelerating the development of new applications that use European global navigation satellite systems and earth observation services.
Cassini Fund – let’s breed more European unicorns
It has been more difficult for startup and growth-stage companies to raise venture capital in certain sector, e.g. space and defence, so the European Union has set the objective to improve the supply of risk capital with the InvestEU programme and to increase the investment capacity in Europe.
The Cassini Seed and Growth Funding Facility is a €1 billion EU space investment fund, whose objective is to attract more venture capital funds to become active investors in companies developing space technology and digital services using space data.
‘’EUSPA has a long history of cooperation with the European Investment Bank group and other private and public investors. I am pleased to see that today we reinforce our collaboration to support developing innovative, creative, and successful companies using EU space technologies,’’ said EUSPA Executive Director, Rodrigo da Costa. ‘’It is another step to contribute to the growth of the EU Space industry and its market share to boost our common economy in this very competitive global environment,’’ he concluded.