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Expanding the existing NAVOBS network of GMES users in order to factor out common needs and instigate economies of scale in service delivery which will help SMEs (GMES service providers or customers)

Exploitable results

The starting point of the Navobs PLUS project sits on the results obtained through the Navobs, launched in 2003 with partial funding from the EC Space Unit and which mobilised a community of 150 SMEs active in the development of service activities downstream the satellite telecommunication, earth observation and navigation facilities. Even if the previous contract has encouraged a number of SMEs to be selected for EU-funded projects with their innovative ideas, the success rate was not satisfactory. Navobs PLUS project built on this previous experience, highlighting the importance of helping SME players in the deployment of innovative services, especially those using GMES, Satcom or Galileo infrastructures. The main goal of the Navobs PLUS Support Action for the two year contract was twofold: - to expand the portfolio of GMES users (SMEs acting as GMES service providers and/or their potential customers); - to network such GMES users to factor out common needs and initiate economies of scale in service delivery. The Navobs PLUS consortium implemented five intertwined processes to reach these objectives: 1. Detect new regional SME service providers, away from GMES, but ready to use GMES core services to meet regional market demands. 2. Convince more customers to become clients of existing or new SME service providers. 3. Bundle existing or future GMES services to reach new clients with more competitive services in EU25 or beyond. 4. Cross fertilise expertise gained on pioneering regional or specific GMES markets initiated by SMEs, which will amplify market penetration towards other customers in Europe or beyond. 5. Encourage SME service providers to develop unique services for international customers. During the course of two years, the Navobs PLUS consortium condensed the most of the activity, further to the execution of the pre-financing payment by the EC. - 57 proposals highlighting potential SMEs contributions were submitted to the leaders of GMES Core Services and Space Foundations projects responding to the first FP7 Space Call and 7 proposals to the second FP7 Space Call. - 24 interviews were performed and more than 80 other companies were contacted by Navobs PLUS partners for interviews to be undertaken in early 2008. - more than 500 SMEs registered into the Navobs PLUS database (; 561 entities registered in total (27 research organisations, 150 industries, 8 incubators, 61 consultancies, etc). Additionally a database of more than 300 SMEs involved in the space foundations was compiled. - 25 Workshops / fairs were organised regionally in which Navobs PLUS was proactively promoted. - Good communication level with EC representatives, reached thanks to constant communication and several physical meetings. - A better understanding of the needs of regional GMES services end users was pursued by conducting additional end-users interviews. 92 organisations were interviewed all over Europe. - Training sessions dedicated to SMEs were held to reinforce the dissemination of business opportunities and provide key success factors to SME wishing to develop new GMES services. - Implication of space foundations technical contributors was sought through a call for expressions of interest. However the response got was very low. The major difficulties encountered by Navobs PLUS consortium over the two years of activity are mainly three fold: 1. Administrative delay in contract signature: In the absence of a contract, during the first year of activity (the signed contract was received in November 2008), most of the partners could not afford involving budget in the project. Workshops and GMES users interviews were the most affected tasks. This delay had consequences over the second reporting period. 2. Few SMEs finally managed to be part of proposals. The Navobs PLUS consortium feels that several innovative ideas / contributions promoted by SMEs to core service projects leaders have been left aside, even though they showed promising business prospects. Involvement of SMEs in the proposals: In some cases the SMEs, interested in the opportunity represented by the FP7 Space call, encountered some difficulties in getting involved. The activities aiming to support the SMEs had to be squeezed further to the call postponed: the SMEs have not had enough time or resources to meet the potential partners abroad. In addition it was observed a skeptical approach of some SMEs about the real opportunities to be inserted in projects with the big industry players. More effort needs to be done in this direction. 3. Low readiness of SMEs for collaborative international projects in new member states. Although Core Service projects leaders were looking for integrating partners from the new member states, the project team experienced difficulties in enhancing the participation of such SMEs in RDT proposals by reason of low readiness of the companies for collaborative international projects. During the second year of activity the consortium enforced the activities in the eastern countries thank to Polspace, the partner in charge of enabling synergy with the on-going and planned GMES-related initiatives in Central and Eastern Europe. 4. Reinforce the Space Foundations SMEs community. Efforts already undertaken by Navobs PLUS partners to reinforce the links with SMEs from the space foundations community were continued. The database that was built for this purpose was made operational and was used in 2008 for better promoting the EC FP7 call and to instigate networking across Europe. Navobs PLUS consortium stimulated the building of SMEs proposals for the Space Foundation FP7 Call, but a very low level of reaction and interest was registered from the Navobs plus community. The main activities, events organized and results are available, together with the catalogue of Navobs plus members realised within the project, at the project website ( The website was constantly updated by EBN with information about any relevant event or news in the area; it was used as a tool to promote expression of interest to build partnerships among companies. It represents the public interface of the project towards the wide public.

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