SMEs Urged to Explore Space Sector Potential

Jun 12, 2014

Pictured with the Minister are (l-r) Dr Colin Hicks, President, Eurisy and Robert Hill, Director, Northern Ireland Space Office.

Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Arlene Foster has highlighted the opportunities open to Northern Ireland’s small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the space sector.

The Minister was speaking at the Eurisy Digital Society and Satellite Applications Conference. Targeting the digital sector, the conference featured hands-on, successful business cases shared by SMEs who have created innovative digital products.

Arlene Foster said: “Today’s conference shows how small businesses and local government can benefit from satellite services which are readily available due to European investment. For us in Northern Ireland, this is particularly timely as earlier this year we launched the Northern Ireland Partnering for Growth Strategy that set the direction for our space sector.

“The Strategy sets a target for our space industry to achieve higher levels of sales per capita than the rest of the UK. SMEs are increasingly aware of the potential of this emerging market and continuing engagement from them will go a long way in helping to realise that ambition.”

Co-organised by the Northern Ireland Space Office (NISO) and Invest Northern Ireland, delegates from across Europe were in attendance. The conference provided guidance on how SMEs and local government can benefit from satellite services in areas such as e-learning, education, media, tourism, culture & leisure and smart cities.

Arlene Foster concluded: “In line with the UK Innovation and Growth Strategy for Space, Northern Ireland’s short-term focus is on developing the sector’s supply chain. I firmly believe that the success achieved by our businesses within the aerospace industry can be replicated in the space sector.

“With economic development at the centre of our Programme for Government, I am confident that the ongoing development of the space industry and the digital economy can deliver significant economic and environmental benefits to Northern Ireland.”

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