7 Reasons to Participate in Innovation Competitions


What makes startups and entrepreneurs submitting their ideas to innovation competitions? As the organisers of the Copernicus Masters competition, that is on the hunt for outstanding ideas, applications, and business concepts for commercial use of Earth observation data, we addressed this question to our participants from all over the world. We would like to share the results with you and take you on a virtual motivation journey to provide you with seven main reasons why participation boosts your business.

1. Create Awareness for Your Idea

Many people have forward-thinking ideas that could potentially benefit business and society. In order to actually initiate turning a specific idea into reality, it is crucial to raise awareness and spread the word. This is exactly the point in time in which innovation competitions come into play. As soon as like-minded people, experts, various industry stakeholders and other entrepreneurs come together within an innovation competition, the creative environment is set up to facilitate the development of pioneering ideas.

2. Sharpen Your Sales Pitch

Having a great idea is the initial step on the road to success. The following step is very important to actually make it happen. The way you represent and sell your business idea is pathbreaking for the further development. Innovation competitions are the best way to scrutinise your idea and receive valuable feedback to improve it. As the expert jury consists of your target group in general, these competitions offer you the chance to enhance your pitch skills effectively.

3. Prizes Can Boost Your Business Case

Rewards always feel good. Especially in the context of the assessment of one’s business idea, competing with other innovative people and taking the victory of such a competition gives the winners a true boost. This boost is not only limited to cash prizes, it pushes your business development, as success stories are intriguing to various target groups.

Now we want to take you on a short exploration mission of space-related motives that are exceptional for the Copernicus Masters.

4. Unique Networking Opportunity

The Copernicus Masters is the leading innovation platform for commercial Earth observation (EO) applications. After receiving more than 700 submissions from nearly 60 countries, the organisers have selected and rewarded 40 winners over the past five years. These services offer an exciting glimpse into the future of Copernicus services along the entire value chain and affirm the growing importance of Earth observation in virtually every sphere of our daily lives. Throughout the last years, the competition has provided Europe with groundbreaking innovations and has established a huge network consisting of industry stakeholders, more than 100 experts and renowned institutions in EO related fields as well as creative entrepreneurs. Each year the Copernicus Masters attracts the most relevant personalities of the commercial space sector and serves as the perfect networking opportunity to get to know the right people for your business idea based on EO. You could become the next important member of the EO network family with your idea!

5. Prizes and Promotion for Your EO-based Idea

This year’s Copernicus Masters prize pool is valued at EUR 600,000. Next to cash prizes, support in bringing your winning idea to market, exclusive data access, and the chance to enter the incubation programme of one of Europe’s 13 ESA Business Incubation Centres (BICs) are awaiting your pioneering idea. Spread the word about yourself and your idea on an international platform, to boost your business to a bright future and take your share of the highest valued Copernicus Masters prize pool ever!

6. Expert Advice from Space-Related Stakeholders and Proof of Concept

Feedback always helps to improve a submission and evaluate your business case in different perspectives. The jury of the Copernicus Masters comprises respected experts and luminaries who have the adequate background to assess your idea appropriately and advise how to enhance your business case to make it a future high-flyer. Today, several former winners have become players within the European EO community themselves, as the Copernicus Masters helped them to have a proof of concept. The expert feedback reassures the participants’ business concept and their performance. For instance, Steve Lee, founder of Stevenson Astrosat Ltd., has made a name for himself and his company on a global scale and even hosts his own Astrosat End-to-End EO Challenge as part of this year’s Copernicus Masters.

7. Copernicus Accelerator Access

The brand new Copernicus Accelerator, funded by the European Commission and organised by AZO, has doubled this year’s Copernicus Masters prize pool to EUR 600,000. This coaching service is specifically customised to startups, to get their business off the ground. Mentors who have great expertise in various fields of application will coach the participants intensively and give them first-hand advice tailored to their individual business case. The initiative will be made official during the Accelerator Bootcamp, which will take place at the Awards Ceremony of the Copernicus Masters on 25 October 2016 in Madrid, Spain. This event will also be an excellent occasion to join the international EO and GNSS community, meet investors and benefit from AZO´s global network of innovation and expertise.

Get inspired by prime examples of former Copernicus Masters winners who show why it is worth to submit your idea the Copernicus Masters platform to grow into a business case.

Former Winners and Participants about the Copernicus Masters

Winner Smart Cities and Intelligent Transport Challenge by the Satellite Applications Catapult 2015, Steve Lee from Stevenson Astrosat Ltd. states: “Winning the Copernicus Masters enabled Astrosat to gain the attention of big companies within the industry and prove to them that we are a reliable future partner.”

Winner Ideas Challenge 2014, Dr Mark Matthews from CyanoLakes about the EO ideas competition: “Having my idea scrutinised by the expert Copernicus Masters jury was very valuable. It not only helped to precisely define the business concept, but also encouraged me to start a business.”

Winner Radar Constellation Challenge by Airbus Defence and Space & Hisdesat and Copernicus Master 2014, Paul Bhatia from the Geomatic Ventures Ltd. team claims, that: “As a pre-start-up, winning the Copernicus Masters encouraged us to take the first step into the industrial realm. The credibility we gained in the process enabled us to make rapid progress.”

Winner T-Systems Big Data Challenge 2014, Prof Dr Peter Baumann, Jacobs University and rasdaman GmbH affirms: “The Copernicus Masters competition is very close to the market. As such, winning this Challenge not only makes it easier to establish relevant contacts, it boosts your industry credibility, as well.”

Do you have an Earth-shattering idea based on the Copernicus data? Then make it happen and turn it into real business and register for the Copernicus Masters today, before the submission ends on 25 July 2016.

Copernicus Masters

Take the chance to write your own chapter of the Copernicus Masters success story. Geared towards entrants from all over the world, the sixth edition of the biggest international competition in the commercial use of Earth observation data is on the hunt for outstanding ideas, applications, and business concepts that use such information in everyday life. Renowned partners, including the European Space Agency (ESA), the German Aerospace Center (DLR), T-Systems International GmbH, Satellite Applications Catapult Ltd., the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI), and Stevenson Astrosat Ltd, are sponsoring prizes in seven topic-specific challenges. Along with cash prizes, the winners will receive access to a leading international network, corresponding data, startup funding, and other support valued at more than EUR 600,000 in total. Furthermore, the Top 40 of the competition will enter the unique Copernicus Accelerator programme to boost their ideas to the next level. The submission phase is scheduled to end on 25 July 2016 at www.copernicus-masters.com.


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