eSpace Press Release
eSpace: The Center for Space Entrepreneurship, a non-profit business incubator and workforce development organization for aerospace companies, today announced that it is seeking a second round of aerospace entrepreneurs to participate in the eSpace incubator. The move reflects the industryâ€™s demand for eSpace services as well as the success of the incubator model created by eSpace and its potential for replication to cultivate space entrepreneurs in other regions of the country.
By opening its first center in Colorado, eSpace has placed itself in the middle of the nationâ€™s second largest aerospace economy. The demand for eSpace and space entrepreneurs in Colorado is highlighted by the following statistics, furnished by the Colorado Space Coalition:
- 176,930 â€“ number of people employed in Colorado in space-related jobs
- 25.7 â€“ percent growth in private aerospace employment in Colorado, from 2003-2008 (compared to 11.5 percent nationally)
- 130+ â€“ number of aerospace companies operated in Colorado during 2008 (half of these companies employ fewer than 10 people)
- * 9.2 â€“ approximate percent increase in number of aerospace companies in Colorado from 2003-2008 (compared to approximately one percent nationally)
- 7 â€“ number of major aerospace contractors that have significant presence in Colorado (Ball, Boeing, ITT Corp., Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, United Launch Alliance)
â€œThe statistics speak volumes about the opportunities in aerospace,â€ said Scott Tibbitts, executive director for eSpace. â€œLarger aerospace companies are coming to eSpace, actively seeking out innovations and technologies being cultivated by new, smaller companies that are participating in the eSpace incubator. That success demonstrates the viability of the eSpace model, so weâ€™re expanding the program to include more participants in Colorado and working to develop a program that can be replicated in other regions in the U.S.â€
Successful Launch Leads to Expansion
eSpace is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to creating new entrepreneurial space companies, commercializing aerospace technologies created within these companies and developing the aerospace workforce to support them. The organization is once again actively seeking space entrepreneur candidates regardless of company size, maturity and technology sector; however, candidates for this second round must be Colorado-based companies.
The first three companies selected to participate in the eSpace incubator were chosen from a wide-ranging applicant pool of more than 30 companies. The selected organizations typically receive $20,000 or more in seed grant funding and enjoy access to a broad range of eSpace resources, including physical space, access to successful entrepreneurs as mentors, access to investment capital, and access to aerospace infrastructure, manufacturing facilities and relationships. eSpace also helps incubated companies with operational basics such as website development and government accounting systems.
For the first three eSpace incubator participants, the benefits of working with eSpace have included:
- Zybek Advanced Products, Inc., has established a business model for its â€œlunar simulant,â€ or synthetic moon rock. Zybek is thinking strategically about its lunar simulant, derivative technologies, and talking to potential customers who were introduced by eSpace. Exciting terrestrial applications for the technology are being developed for diverse areas such as ground water remediation and lithium ion battery performance.
- Space Awareness Services has quickly connected with potential partners and investors, opening up paths to both business and investment. â€œeSpace introduced us to very senior people at some of the larger aerospace companies, and those connections helped us avoid a lot of the bureaucratic roadblocks that can impede progress at lower levels,â€ said Chris Franz, vice president of Space Awareness Services.
- Net-Centric Design Professionals designs and develops complex computer networks used for command, control and communications between spacecraft and end-user organizations on Earth and is expanding its base of customers, partners and business opportunities to move beyond government programs to pursue commercial projects. Such prospects include working with eSpace and the University of Colorado to present NASA with a proposal for making the Internet accessible from lunar outposts.
Tibbitts said, â€œThe aerospace industry faces a critical workforce issue over the next 10 years as aerospace veterans of Apollo and Shuttle retire. It is a telling fact that in the 60â€™s the average aerospace engineer age was in the mid-twenties. Now it is the early 50â€™s. Many students in engineering want to work in dynamic, entrepreneurial environments, and they donâ€™t perceive traditional aerospace in this light. We are showing them that space can be entrepreneurial and exciting. Our participants are paving the way to that future, helping to develop the next generation of aerospace companies and their workforce.â€