NSW joins the space race with Cicada Innovations national hub

A national center for the space industry and an accompanying mentorship program was launched in Sydney as a joint initiative between the New South Wales government and Deep Tech incubator Cicada Innovations.

Cicada has received a $2.1 million investment from the state to set up the Australian Tech Park hub at Eveleigh, in the heart of Sydney’s Tech Central district. The hub is an extension of an ecosystem that Cicada has fostered on this site for over 20 years.

Office space, labs, rapid prototyping equipment, connections and mentorship through the Fast Start program are offered.

Sally-Ann Williams, Managing Director of Cicada Innovations

Current hub tenants include the Space Industry Association of Australia, the NSW Space Research Network, the SmartSat Cooperative Research Center (CRC) NSW node, space mapping company Leo Labs and robotics start-up Mawson Rovers.

The Space Hub project was announced in December 2018 with the aim of consolidating the space sector in Sydney, and has since been incorporated into the NSW space industry development strategy. The state is home to 38% of Australian space startups.

$1.4 million has also been invested as part of the NSW plan to set up the space research network and support for the SmartSat CRC node based at the hub.

The NSW strategy aligns with the federal government’s broader Australian Civilian Space Strategy to double the number of space jobs to 20,000 and more than triple the size of the market from $3.9m to $12m. here 2030.

In addition to what can be viewed internally, Cicada also offers access to facilities housed at its shareholder universities. These include the Australian National University, the University of New South Wales, the University of Sydney and the University of Technology Sydney.

The launch of its Fast Start program further builds on Cicada’s long-term integration into the space industry. This is a sixth-month intensive coaching program to help early-stage space startups bring their ideas to market.

Unlike an accelerator program, participants will receive no seed funding, but focus heavily on tailored mentorship experiences regardless of the commercialization stage of the business they are at.

Companies will be mentored by the hub’s expert-in-residence and current chair of the Space Industry Association of Australia, Dr Tim Parsons. Dr. Parsons brings a network of emerging space technology companies, innovation consultants, defense networks, government and venture capital.

Participants will also work with Cicada’s head of space technologies, Julie Autuly, who previously worked for the European and French space agencies.

The program is accepting applicants on a rolling basis and Cicada Innovations Managing Director Sally-Ann Williams has encouraged all ambitious space company founders to apply.

“It’s really important that across Australia we have incredible innovation in the space sector. It’s equally important that we all come together and remember that our competition is not between states or between individual organisations. , she’s international,” Ms. Williams said.

“That’s why we’re so excited to play our part and support the amazing organizations and founders in Australia,” she said.

“Most accelerator programs don’t have the benefit of a physical location full of Deep Tech entrepreneurs who are around 24/7. We have a cohort and community that has been here for decades, which we can operate at any time.”

In December 2021, the South Australian government announced a $20 million partnership with four space companies to build a space manufacturing hub, the Australian Space Park.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley by email.

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