The South Australian Government is calling for applications from global accelerator and incubators to manage local programs as part of the state government’s recently-announced $4 million Space Innovation Fund.
According to Martin Hamilton-Smith, Minister for Defence and Space Industries, the Fund will support a Space Incubator Program and Space Accelerator Program with $900,000 in funding annually over the next four years, as well as Space Scholarships of up to $100,000 each year.
The incubator program will look to provide year-round support for entrepreneurs, including mentoring, technical advice, market research, and business plan preparation to “convert ideas into early-stage businesses”.
The accelerator, meanwhile, will be a structured, intensive program for early-stage companies in the spacetech sector looking to tap into a global network.
“This is a unique opportunity for a suitably qualified organisation to play a key role in developing startups and early stage businesses and turning them into high growth commercial ventures,” Hamilton-Smith said.
Among other criteria, applicants must have demonstrated experience and track record running business incubation and/or accelerator programs for high-growth, technology-enabled businesses, either nationally or internationally, and extensive networks of experienced, expert mentors that will be engaged in the delivery of the programs.
The news of the Fund follows the South Australian Government’s launch of the South Australian Space Industry Centre last month.
“South Australia is working to establish itself as a hub for space industry research and development. We’re not talking about an agency the size of NASA that sends people to the moon. We are looking at capabilities that benefit society, communications and national security,” Hamilton-Smith said at the time.
“The space economy is one of five key areas paramount in transitioning our local economy. You are not a credible player in this industry if you don’t have a have a space agency and a well-coordinated plan. The kinds of partnerships you need to get Australians into space require a space agency.”
Along with this, the state government stated it will work with the South Australian Space Innovation Complex consortium to establish facilities in the state for launch testing, technology development, stepped flight proving programs, and space qualification missions.
South Australia’s push to develop its local space industry and capabilities comes as it looks to make itself home to the national space agency the Federal Government announced in September.
Acting Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Michaelia Cash, said, “The global space industry is growing rapidly and it’s crucial that Australia is part of this growth. A national space agency will ensure we have a strategic long-term plan that supports the development and application of space technologies and grows our domestic space industry.”
Image: Jay Weatherill. Source: sbs.com.au