Tech & Innovation

Prestigious Sat Nav competition calls on budding entrepreneurs to submit ideas

By Business & Finance
21 March 2014

Now in its 11th year, the highly-anticipated European Satellite Navigation Competition (ESNC) 2014 is about to get underway, with participants across Europe being invited to submit their ideas for new opportunities in the €100bn satellite services market.

From April 1st to June 30th, the competition web portal, will be open to budding entrepreneurs to submit ideas for new services, products and business innovations that integrate satellite navigation technology into everyday life such as mobility, health or safety.  The burgeoning Sat Nav market is expected to grow to €240bn by 2020.

The regional Irish winner will receive a prize valued at €20,000, which includes incubation space, business coaching, technical support, marketing expertise as well as travel costs and automatic entry to the Galileo Masters, where competitors across the globe compete for the €1m prize fund.

Since 2004, the ESNC has become the world’s largest innovation network in the field of satellite navigation. In the last decade, the ESNC have selected and rewarded 204 winners from 2,397 ideas submitted by a total of 8,200 participants. The ESNC’s network is supported by the European Commission (EC) and the European Space Agency (ESA) and currently comprises 25 global partner regions, with the Irish region being sponsored by the National Space Centre (NSC).

NSC chief executive Rory Fitzpatrick said: “We are delighted to continue our association with this prestigious competition as it gives Irish entrepreneurs and businesses in the space and satellite sector an opportunity to showcase their innovations on a truly global level. The competition is a unique platform that can launch a concept, business or application as well as further helping to build a space-based tech industry in Ireland and Europe.”

NSC is located in the south of Ireland, based at Elfordstown Earthstation, just outside Midleton, Co. Cork, and is Ireland’s only teleport. NSC provides carrier grade satellite communications facilities from Elfordstown for the commercial satellite sector and partners with organisations and institutions worldwide for R&D projects, which include a number of emerging satellite technology projects.

Last year’s winning idea from Ireland, CarSafari, was the brainchild of James Mannix and Paula Kelleher from Tralee, Co. Kerry. The CarSafari concept is a way for car passengers to interact with the locality and environment they are travelling through. It is currently at feasibility stage and the creators intend to launch a demo this year.

The international competition will ‘kick-off’ on April 15th in Rotterdam and winners will be announced in Munich at the Galileo Masters Ceremony in October 2014.