February 24, 2024

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Propelling South Australia’s Space Start-ups

The collaboration between the University of South Australia’s Innovation & Collaboration Centre (ICC) and the Australian Centre for Business Growth (AuCBG) represents a significant boon for tech startups in the space industry. With generous support from the South Australian Government, these institutions are offering space startups a fully funded scaleup pathway alongside an AU$ 10,000 equity-free acceleration stipend. This initiative aims to propel the commercial viability of emerging companies within the space sector, fostering innovation and collaboration.

Under the guidance of South Australian Deputy Premier and Minister for Defence and Space Industries Susan Close, the new space scaleup offering signifies a strategic investment in the future of the space economy. Through programmes like the ICC’s six-month Venture Catalyst Space accelerator and the AuCBG’s six-month Growth Ramp scaleup programme, companies in the space sector have a unique opportunity to take their businesses to the next level.

Since its inception in 2018, the Venture Catalyst Space programme has nurtured 36 space startups, collectively raising over AU$ 31 million in additional investment and creating more than 220 new space jobs. This programme stands out globally for its tailored approach to developing commercial space ventures, offering equity-free funding, industry mentorship, business development support, access to university resources, and a vibrant startup community.

The addition of the Growth Ramp programme to the space scaleup pathway marks a significant milestone. Craig Jones, Deputy Director of ICC, emphasised the importance of timely and tailored support for emerging businesses in Australia’s burgeoning space industry. This unique offering provides a clear pathway for space ventures to evolve into scalable and thriving businesses, driving sustained growth in the space ecosystem.

Driven by a strong appetite for expansion and investment, the pathway from Venture Catalyst Space to Growth Ramp underscores the growing momentum of the space industry in South Australia. Growth Ramp targets companies with five to 11 employees, offering support to refine product/market fit, identify optimal customer bases, develop growth strategies, and build executive teams.

Ryan Williams, Director of AuCBG, highlights Adelaide’s readiness for success in the realm of business ventures. He stressed the transformative journey of entrepreneurship, noting that scaling a company requires a heightened focus on planning, organisational design, financing growth, talent management, and marketing strategies. Williams expresses excitement about working with CEOs through Growth Ramp, envisioning a future where great space companies thrive and contribute to South Australia’s economic prosperity.

For participants like AICRAFT, currently enrolled in the Venture Catalyst Space programme, the opportunity to join a scaleup programme could significantly enhance their investment potential. CEO Tony Scoleri views the scaleup journey as integral to company growth, recognising the value of expert mentorship in navigating the complexities of scaling operations. With access to guidance and support, startups can build awareness, mitigate risks, and strategically position themselves for sustained growth and investment.

The launch of applications for the 2024 Venture Catalyst Space programme signifies a new chapter in South Australia’s space innovation landscape. Tech startups in the space sector are invited to seize this opportunity for growth and collaboration, leveraging the resources and expertise offered by ICC and AuCBG to propel their ventures to new heights.

The collaborative efforts of ICC and AuCBG, supported by the South Australian Government, represent a transformative initiative for tech startups in the space industry. By offering a fully funded scaleup pathway and equity-free acceleration stipend, these programmes aim to fuel innovation, foster collaboration, and drive sustainable growth in South Australia’s burgeoning space ecosystem.


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