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UniSA Opens Up Space Innovation Programme

The University of South Australia’s Innovation & Collaboration Centre (ICC) is now accepting applications for its 2022 Venture Catalyst Space program. As the first of its kind space accelerator and incubator, the program forms part of the State Government’s $4 million Space Innovation Fund, which supports activities to grow the space industry in South Australia. Now in its fourth year, the program supports space start-ups through a program of tailored support, mentoring and access to resources at the University of South Australia.

Complementing the thriving ecosystem of more than 60 existing space industry companies, the HQ of the Australian Space Agency, and the Smart Sat CRC in South Australia, the competitive and globally recognised Venture Catalyst Space program has nurtured companies from Canada, India, the United States and Australia.

Recent graduates of the 2021 program each received funding, workshops, mentoring and introductions to key Australian space industry contacts as well as a world-class workspace with access to the resources of the University of South Australia for the duration of the program.

Working closely with the ICC’s industry partners and a global pool of industry experts that includes the expert in residence, Kirk Drage, the companies were able to test and develop their products and services and build out their business. Associate Director of the ICC Jasmine Vreugdenburg encourages local start-ups as well as companies from across the global space industry to apply.

It was noted that since launching the program, 19 companies have been supported in building, testing as well as iterating their minimum viable product, raise funds and develop partnerships with both research and industry across Australia and abroad.

The latest cohort of companies has gained global media attention, connected with leading industry organisations including NASA and the Australia Space Agency and have rapidly integrated into the space community and industry.

The centre is now looking forward to opening up its Venture Catalyst Space program once again to innovative talent across the globe; founders have been encouraged to apply for the next intake. Applications are now open for the 2021 intake via icc.unisa.edu.au and will close on 28 November 2021. The program will run from January to July.

About the South Australian Space Industry Centre

The South Australian Space Industry Centre is supporting the state’s emerging space industry by providing funding to grow jobs and build South Australia’s space ecosystem through the Space Innovation Fund. The Fund is responsible for invigorating South Australia’s space innovation ecosystem by supporting promising entrepreneurs, new start-ups and early-stage businesses to scale up and activate their ideas.

The Space Innovation Fund aims to support potential entrepreneurs and start-ups providing a pathway for post-graduate innovators and entrepreneurs to:

  • develop expertise and build knowledge in specialist space-related fields of study
  • develop entrepreneurial ideas in order to bring them to market
  • rapidly develop their technology, build channels to market and pitch for investment by tapping into global networks of mentors, investors, and corporate partners.

Australia’s space sector

The Australian Space Agency noted that the space sector provides essential data and services for daily activities, from banking and internet access to knowing where you are. Space also provides critical data that supports emergency management, planning, and weather forecasting, and inspires young people to engage in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) domains.

Space is a fast-growing and competitive commercial sector. Space technologies support Australian innovation and the digital economy.


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