Brussels, 25 May 2005
Small businesses, entrepreneurs and researchers are being offered 50,000 euro in business development support to come up with the best idea for new applications for Galileo, Europe's satellite navigation system.
The Galileo Masters 2005 competition aims to encourage small enterprises from across Europe to produce new products for Galileo, or for the existing GPS, GLONASS and EGNOS standards, all of which will be significantly enhanced by Europe's navigation system.
This year, the competition will be held in seven high-tech regions across Europe: London (UK), Gothenburg (Sweden), Nice-Sophia Antipolis (France), the Czech Republic, Varese (Italy), South-Holland (Netherlands) and Munich (Germany). Experts in each will select the best idea for their region, and from among these an overall winner will be chosen.
All of the winners will be given a free stand at the International Systems IT and Telecommunications Fair in Munich in October, while the overall winner will be provided with an office in a business incubator in their region for six months, together with consultancy and promotional support. All told, the prizes are estimated to be worth around 50,000 euro.
The winner of the 2004 Galileo Masters was German company HCL Technologies, whose winning idea was an inexpensive device that combines GPS technology and existing data to help fishermen in the developing world decide where best to cast their nets.
According to Christian Stammel from Anwendungszentrum Oberpfaffenhofen, a European Space Incubator Network and one of the competition organisers: 'To find out information about the signal and then use it for a novel application is the sort of thinking we are looking for in small companies. Companies must wake up now because in four years they will have to move their businesses in a direction for Galileo.'
Bruno Naulais, manager of another of the competition's co-sponsors, the European Space Agency's space incubator (ESI), added: 'This competition is an incentive for more Galileo applications and increases innovative entrepreneurship. It is important for Europe's space industry as it creates novel utilisations for our navigation systems and in the end will generate income for their technology.'
The Galileo Masters 2005 competition opened on 1 May and runs until 30 June.
For further information, please consult the following web address: