EOcafe: CASSINI – enabling growth in the EO sector: success stories & upcoming opportunities






– Organiser: EARSC
– Language: English
– Virtual or in-person: Virtual

The latest EARSC Industry Survey showed that the EO sector continues to grow steadily (7,5% growth rate in 2023), generating € 1.79 billion of revenue, with 78% of the companies surveyed being optimistic about future growth. At the same time, the Industry Survey once more showed that SMEs make up 96% of the EO sector and generate 70,8 % of the total revenues. Lack of development funding and lack of venture capital were identified as significant barriers to growth (24,4% and 11,1% respectively).

These figures show that boosting funding opportunities and access to private capital for SMEs is crucial for the continued and further growth of the EO sector. With this context in mind, it is interesting to explore how funding instruments such as the CASSINI Initiative can not only provide direct access to funding but can also be a tool to enable further access to private capital and encourage growth for SMEs in the EO sector.

Officially launched on the 25th of January 2022, the CASSINI initiative aims to support entrepreneurship in space-related businesses across the EU, meeting the needs of companies at different growth stages, from seed to mid-caps, and developing different solutions, whether space technology or digital applications. CASSINI includes a €1 billion EU seeds and growth fund, hackathons and mentoring, prizes, a business accelerator, partnering and matchmaking.

Now, almost two years down the line, the CASSINI initiative has several results and success stories to show, including the latest CASSINI Prize for Digital Space Application’s  “Maritime Prize”, the largest single funding amount to date, which saw three SMEs awarded €950 000 each for innovative commercial solutions levering EU Space data to tackle marine plastic pollution.

EOMAP, an EARSC member since August 2021, was awarded one of the Maritime Prizes for their “Eyes on Plastic” web app, which uses a combination of satellite imagery and other data, cloud-processing chains, and EO analytics to identify, map and monitor plastic pollution in near real-time. Applying for the Maritime Prize was not only an opportunity for them to potentially receive significant funding but also an exercise in looking at their aquatic plastic litter solution and business model in depth, thinking about impact, and making it an integral part of their existing suite of online solutions and applications.

As such, the CASSINI Prize has acted as an accelerator for EOMAP, confirming the value and relevance of the solution offered to the market and key stakeholders, thus fostering growth and boosting their ability to seek further opportunities.

In the final EOcafe of 2023, which also marks the 70th edition, our host Geoff Sawyer (EARSC Strategic Advisor and former Secretary General) will explore with Fiammetta Diani (Head of Market, Downstream and Innovation, European Union Agency for the Space Programme – EUSPA) and Thomas Heege (CEO, EOMAP) what opportunities CASSINI offers, success stories so far through lessons learned from existing prize winners, how CASSINI can act as an enabler for growth beyond the direct funding, as well as other upcoming funding opportunities.

Topics that could be addressed during this EOcafe include the following:

  • What does CASSINI include, how and who can benefit from it?
  • What upcoming opportunities are there under CASSINI?
  • What other opportunities, aside from direct financial benefit, can CASSINI bring? Can it be an enabler for further growth and access to other capital?
  • What lessons learned and advice does a CASSINI prize winner have for other interested parties?
  • How can entities make the most out of their participation in these types of initiatives (e.g., thinking of impact, solution offering, etc.)?
  • What other upcoming funding opportunities offered by EUSPA should the EO community be aware of?

Registration: The webinar is open to all. Registration is free but compulsory.

Registration link

Please note this is a virtual event!

EOcafe is part of a series of EARSC meetings that offer timely, relevant, and practical information on a broad variety of topics related to the EO sector. Join us every two weeks to discuss and network while enjoying a cup of coffee with friends.


  • Using a video camera is not mandatory but is encouraged to facilitate better interaction between the attendees and the guest speaker(s).
  • The EOcafe will stay open after 17:00 if our guests want to continue the discussion.
  • Registering for this event allows you to accept the terms and conditions (https://earsc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/EARSC_Events_GDPR.pdf).

If you have any questions, and/or you want to know more about the EOcafe, and/or you want to share an idea about a future EOcafe, please contact Tanya Walker (tanya.walker@earsc.org).