SmartSat CRC sets up new company to help space start-ups navigate path to success

Max Blenkin

The government-backed SmartSat CRC has created a new company to give small space sector start-ups a voice alongside the major players of the space industry.

SmartSat CRC sets up new company to help space start-ups navigate path to success
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SmartSat CRC industry director Peter Nikoloff said the idea was to have a single entity representing the start-ups, reducing bureaucratic red tape and giving them greater representation in the industry.

“Because we’ve got so many it’s quite difficult to manage them individually so by establishing one company it gives them experience to work on the board of a bigger organisation, but the chair of the board will be the voice for all of them so we’ve got one point of contact,” he said.

“The start-ups are the ones we’re trying to motivate to drive growth in the space sector and SmartSat CRC’s prime objective is to grow the space industry, so we really need to make sure we’re hearing from them about what their issues and challenges are as part of the CRC.”

The SmartSat CRC (Cooperative Research Centre) was launched in April to boost Australia’s growing space sector, leveraging national expertise in satellite capabilities.

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That involves 99 industry and research partners include 13 global companies, 20 Australian firms, 17 universities and more than 40 space sector start-ups. The federal government contributed funding of $55 million and total funding is now $245 million.

The organisation has its headquarters in Adelaide and is due to move into the Lot Fourteen innovation and entrepreneurial neighbourhood, where it will be co-located with the Australian Space Agency.

Smartsat CRC’s new company offshoot is Australian Space Industry Start-up Company (ASISC), which will become a collective core partner. Start-ups will be given free company membership for the first year to assess the value of being part of the larger entity.

Nikoloff, co-founder of Adelaide defence and space company Nova Systems, said this was loosely based on a model used by the former Spatial Information CRC.

ASISC is now setting up its board, which is to be comprised of its start-up members.

“For some of the start-ups who may not necessarily have an understanding about how a formal company is managed and set up, our environment will give them that experience and we’ll also link them in with incubator and accelerator training and provide linkages to all the partners,” he said.

“We’ve got a large number of partners between universities, Australian companies and big multinationals and we’ll be creating environments where they can work together and possibly some of the start-ups might end up partnering with the bigger companies.”

 

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