Over the past year the UK space industry trade association, UKspace, has held workshops with each of the satellite primes and other leading space organisations, to improve their engagement with Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs). The most recent event was hosted at ECSAT in Harwell on 22nd March, when over 85 SMEs came together from all across the UK to meet Thales Alenia Space and learn more about becoming part of the space supply chain.
With a welcome by Ben Olivier, CEO of Thales Alenia Space UK (TAS-UK), the event followed a well proven format, with participants initially listening to presentations by company experts on innovation, quality assurance, export controls, commercial contracts, funding sources, procurement processes and links into the wider Thales Group. Key topics included the Neosat programme with ESA.
The plenary was followed by over forty individual meetings, where SMEs met representatives from a 15-strong TAS-UK team and presented their innovative ideas, including technology transfer and potential new opportunities for collaboration. In parallel, ESA shared information on ARTES co-funding and the ESA SME initiative. Participants also had ample opportunity for networking.
The event was supported by both UKspace and the Satellite Applications Catapult. Paul Flanagan of UKspace commented, “I’m personally delighted that UKspace is able to facilitate these important links between Industry and the SME network and I concur with Ben Olivier’s comments that by supporting each other in this constructive way today, we will grow our space supply chain in the UK in a way that is dynamic and sustainable for the global stage”.
For both UKspace and TAS, this was part of a wider programme of events throughout 2017 for supporting the growth of the UK space supply chain. Future TAS events are planned in Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, whilst UKspace is planning to expand its outreach to new companies that have not previously engaged with any of the space primes and also to those in the downstream sector. The first such event is scheduled in cooperation with TechUK in London, on 12th October.
Ukspace SME Forum: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thales Alenia Space UK: Jill.email@example.com