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South Australian space agency seeks to attract global entrepreneurs



Entrepreneur | News

By Rebecca Thacker

Rapid growth of the space industry in Adelaide is generating national and global interest in an incubator program for space industry startups.

Following on from the success of its first intake, South Australian based space incubator, Venture Catalyst Space, is on the hunt for up to 10 companies to be part of its second international cohort.

Venture Catalyst Space began working with its first five companies, including Sydney startup Tekuma, in September 2018.  Tekuma relocated from Sydney to Adelaide to be part of the inaugural program and launch their drone and robot controller, which allows the user to operate the drone with one hand.

Tekuma co-founder Annette McClelland said the Venture Catalyst Space program had provided valuable connections with the local industry, including Defence SA.
“Since coming to Adelaide we’ve been making headway particularly with the defence industry here and it looks like there could be some positive collaborations happening this year as well as continuing our other avenues for selling into robots and underwater rovers,” Ms McClelland said.

“The space agency is going to bring more jobs and more money to South Australia – we definitely like Adelaide so far and we’re planning to stay here beyond the program.”

Venture Catalyst Space is run by the University of South Australia’s Innovation and Collaboration Centre (ICC) and funded by the South Australian Government’s $4 million Space Innovation Fund.

Late last year, the Supporting Innovation in South Australia (SISA) pilot visa program commenced and has attracted interest from national and global entrepreneurs.  Applications for the second intake have already attracted inquiries from Singapore, Germany, Pakistan, the Philippines and Vietnam.

Innovation and Collaboration Centre director Jasmine Vreugdenburg said the new visa and the announcement of the national space agency being headquartered in Adelaide were important for the incubator’s growth.

“We’ve had quite a few inquiries from India and a number of local inquiries as well from existing organisations that have projects they want to start working on,” she said.

“Having the space agency headquartered here is pretty significant because it does put the spotlight on Adelaide and it does show we have got a large amount of capability in South Australia that we are trying to build on.

“It also puts a spotlight on the research the University of South Australia is doing through its Institute of Telecommunications Research, which is where Myriota and Cohda Wireless were spun out of.”

Applications for Venture Catalyst Space close on April 26.