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5 Years of Creative Entrepreneurship in Satellite Navigation
This mid-February, experts, business sponsors, and start-ups from 11 international partner regions will meet at the Starnberger Hotel Vierjahreszeiten near Munich, Germany for a two-day conference on company foundation in the satellite navigation sector. The event will be opened by Mr. Karl Schumacher, undersecretary of the Bavarian State Ministry of Economic Affairs, Infrastructure, Transport and Technology; the executive director of the European GNSS Supervisory Authority (GSA), Mr. Pedro Pedreira; the director of the space program at the German Aerospace Center (DLR), Dr. Hubert Reile; and the initiator of the competition and the kick-off conference, Mr. Thorsten Rudolph.
The conference will focus in particular on the announcement of the new special topic prizes and the introduction of the new partner regions of this distinguished innovation competition. Presentations on patent management, certification, incubation, and financing will round out the agenda.
Success stories and future perspectives
The initiative begun by the Free State of Bavaria in 2004 has in the years since become a global network of high-tech regions and international experts. The network maintains a strong orientation toward industry needs and leverages its partner regions to quickly implement the numerous product and service innovations produced by the competition. The ESNC is supported by the German Aerospace Center (DLR), the European Space Agency (ESA), and, for the first time this year, the European GNSS Supervisory Authority (GSA). As a result, the competition is now a Europe-wide event opening its doors to the international market through the participation of Taiwan and Australia.
The number of international experts from research and industry is increasing along with the rising participation of partner regions: what were just 17 experts in 2004 grew to 77 in 2007. To tap into the potential of this expanding competency and innovation network even more efficiently, the first ESNC kick-off conference will offer the winners, finalists, and other participants of the past four competitions another chance to introduce their business ideas, as well as new stimuli for the partner regions’ incubation activities. In addition, various winners from years past will present on the current status of their projects – among them the Dutch company iOpener, which recently secured €4.1 million in venture capital to realize its "real-time racing" game, and the Bavarian company superWise Technologies AG, which is prepared to present its first functional laboratory prototype of the "Eye-Phone" at the conference despite having just been nominated as a finalist in October 2007.
Thematic focus and international involvement
As mentioned, the focus of the kick-off conference will be the introduction of the new special topic prizes awarded for the first time in 2007 in order to better involve the competition’s sponsors in its overall theme. In 2007, more than half of all participants took the opportunity to submit their ideas for both regional evaluation and consideration for one of the new special topic prizes. In 2008, the concept will be continued with challenges presented by the European GSA, the ESA, Taiwan’s Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI), the DHL Innovation Center, and T-Systems. The respective prize topics will be discussed during the kick-off conference in two-hour workshops with the sponsors. With its prize, the ESA is focusing on ideas that can be realized both quickly and for the long term. The GSA is looking for promising solutions dealing with the specific functions and characteristics of the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS). The ITRI will award its prize to the innovation that best integrates Galileo’s precise positioning and time signal into a gaming concept. Finally, T-Systems and DHL are joining forces to offer a special topic prize for an innovative way to optimize delivery vehicle freight volume in the field of logistics.
The current agenda is available for download at www.galileo-masters.com/kickoff.
Facts and data on the European Satellite Navigation Competition
The European Satellite Navigation Competition is an international innovation contest that awards the best ideas for applications in satellite navigation. The competition has been organized annually by Anwendungszentrum GmbH Oberpfaffenhofen and SYSTEMS since 2004 and is oriented toward companies, entrepreneurs, research institutes, universities, and private individuals. Having begun with three partner regions, the ESNC will this year be held in 11 European high-tech regions: Bavaria, Hesse, Baden-Württemberg, Nice / Sophia Antipolis, Prague, South Holland, Madrid, and Great Britain, along with newcomers Queensland (Australia), Taipei (Taiwan), and North Rhine-Westphalia.
The ESNC is intended to further strengthen international collaboration among these regions, particular with regard to the development of applications and services made possible by the European satellite navigation system Galileo. The competition is held under the patronage of the Bavarian State Ministry of Economic Affairs, Infrastructure, Transport and Technology and is supported by the German Aerospace Center (DLR).
Ideas for applications in the field of satellite navigation can be submitted on the Internet at www.galileo-masters.com every year from May 1 to July 31.
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