Five North East entrepreneurs have won spots on a space incubation programme designed to help their businesses access the Uk’s growing space sector.
Newton Aycliffe’s Viper RF, which is based at the North East Technology Park (NETPark) in Sedgefield , County Durham, is among the firms that have joined the incubator.
Viper RF designs and manufactures high frequency semiconductor chips working in the defence, commercial electronics and space sector. It has also started supply chips that can be installed into satellites to provide “internet on the move”.
NETpark-based firms aXenic and Lexicon have also won seats on the programme. aXenic designs high-speed optical modulators, which are used to link satellites in space with those on Earth. Lexicon’s main focus is on using VR technology in the education sector but the company has launched a three year plan to develop its first satellite project for the maritime sector.
Also joining the incubator is Saltburn-based Scoutek Ltd, which specialises in technology for space exploration such as miniature satellites, and Alnwick’s Northern Space and Security, which is developing products for the defence sector.
By joining the incubator the five businesses will receive support from experts working in a number of areas, such as marketing, law, financial management, business growth and IP protection.
The incubator has been funded through a £30,000 investment from the UK Space Agency. It is being run by Business Durham, the economic development organisation for County Durham.
Catherine Johns, director of innovation and business growth at Business Durham, said: “The North East is fast becoming a hub for innovative companies which are tapping into the space sector. They have the support they need to scale up here, the networks which are vital to secure funding and build peer relationships, and access to world-class universities.
“The space incubation programme will help these five companies take their businesses to the next level.”
The investment made by the UK Space Agency is part of plans for the UK to secure 10% of the anticipated £40bn global space market by 2030.
Helen Roberts, regional growth manager at the UK Space Agency, said: “We are delighted to award this additional financial support to the North East Space Incubation Programme. We have successfully supported more than 30 new and innovative space companies across the regions, providing valuable jobs to the UK.
“The feedback from the supported companies has been extremely positive and the additional funding from the UK Space Agency will be used to stimulate further opportunities for start-ups by these experienced incubators.”