Program to accelerate SME growth in space industry

November 15, 2021

CSIRO has opened applications for a new program for small to medium businesses working in the space sector.

Image: CSIRO researcher working in the CSIRO LAB22 3D-printing facility.

CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, has opened applications for a new program for small to medium businesses working in the space sector, drawing on its more than 75 years’ space experience to accelerate growth in Australia’s burgeoning space industry. 

Supported by the Australian Space Agency, CSIRO’s ‘Innovate to Grow: Space’ program will support 20-25 small to medium enterprises (SMEs) with mentoring from some of Australia’s leading space experts, including from CSIRO and the Space Agency, access to world-class research facilities and infrastructure, and support to navigate grant application processes.

Innovate to Grow is a free 10-week training program designed to boost the innovation and take-up of research and development (R&D) by Australian small businesses in industries with high innovation potential, like space, agrifood, plastic waste, net zero, and cybersecurity. 

CSIRO Space Research Program Director Dr Kimberley Clayfield said collaboration was key to growing Australia’s space industry. 

“CSIRO works with leading global companies, international space agencies and small-to-medium businesses on a variety of space-related activities,” Dr Clayfield said.

“SMEs have a lot to contribute and when combined with our strong capabilities in Earth observation, robotics, advanced manufacturing and communications, the sky is no limit to what we can achieve together.”

Amanda Falconer, Founder of Bestie Kitchen based in Newcastle, NSW, participated in the Agrifood round of Innovate to Grow.

“Innovate to Grow really made research accessible. Before the program, I thought there was no way that a tiny company like mine could work with CSIRO or a university. Now it has been demystified!” Ms Falconer said.

Following the program, Bestie Kitchen participated in CSIRO’s Kick-Start program, received Federal Government Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC) commercialisation funding, and begun scaled manufacturing from her new factory.

Dr George Feast, CSIRO SME Collaboration Lead said the program built on rich foundations.

“Innovate to Grow: Space is another example of how we’re working to develop innovative technologies and capabilities and support the growth of the Australian space industry,” Dr Feast said.

“With so many incredible opportunities on offer here and globally, we’re committed to helping SMEs understand how to best engage with a R&D partner and understand how to get the most benefit for their needs.”

CSIRO has over 75 years of space-related experience and operates a range of facilities, research programs and industry development activities contributing to the Australian space sector. CSIRO is growing its space capabilities in a wide variety of areas with the aim of generating new innovations that will benefit our nation and help provide new opportunities for the space sector. 

The Australian Space Agency aims to support Australia to significantly grow its domestic sector from around 10,000 jobs and a market size of $3.9 billion to up to another 20,000 jobs and $12 billion by 2030, with further jobs and economy growth from spill over effects.

CSIRO Innovate to Grow is delivered using Practera’s online ed-tech platform and facilitation services.

Applications are open until 22 November. More:

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