Space Foundation, a nonprofit advocate organization founded in 1983 for the global space ecosystem, on Tuesday formalized its partnership with Science Applications International Corp. SAIC joined Space Foundation in announcing the first inclusive space cohort of six companies representing small, minority-owned, and women-owned businesses for a joint Space Commerce Entrepreneurship Program. The six companies were selected based on diverse capabilities and ability to meet the mission-critical needs of SAIC Space sector customers.
The announcement was made today at the Space Commerce Entrepreneurship Program luncheon held at The Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs in conjunction with the 36th annual Space Symposium, the premier assembly for the global space ecosystem, hosted by Space Foundation. The luncheon featured presentations from SAIC, Space Development Agency, and Air Force Research Laboratory on high-level objectives and capabilities required for future missions.
The Space Commerce Entrepreneurship Program helps small businesses and individuals navigate the global space ecosystem through its Workforce Development Roadmap. The program was first successfully piloted in 2019 in workshops across the continental U.S. by Space Foundation’s Center for Innovation and Education under a U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency grant and today offers live workshops and online programs in collaboration with public and private enterprises, government agencies, universities, accelerators/incubators, and local communities. Entrepreneurs gain key insights that address the most common challenges in conducting business in the space industry. A complementary Junior Space Entrepreneur Program, offered for teachers and students, was recognized by Fast Company with a 2020 World Changing Idea award.
“Inclusion is critical to success in space. As an integrator, SAIC is constantly reaching across industry, government and academia to find and develop the best solutions, and we can’t ignore new and promising sources of innovation,” said David Ray, senior vice president of space at SAIC. “Partnering with Space Foundation and a cohort of extremely promising small businesses is a natural extension of that philosophy. Looking at the variety of backgrounds and capabilities represented in this new program, I can’t help but get excited for tomorrow and what these relationships will mean for space missions.”
Collaboration between SAIC and Space Foundation began with identifying companies that matched SAIC’s technical priorities. Companies matching those needs entered the Space Commerce Entrepreneurship Program, consisting of three phases to include special programming at the 36th annual Space Symposium, a virtual workshop to align goals and capabilities, and mentoring from professionals in space exploration and space-inspired industries.
“The opportunities for diverse companies to integrate into the deep and rich supply chain of the global space ecosystem are both expansive and yet within reach, and essential to advancing space innovation,” explained Shelli Brunswick, chief operating officer and executive leader of Center for Innovation and Education at Space Foundation. “Our partnership with SAIC validates our successful track record with entrepreneurs as we honor six companies, each showing a unique and promising future as a contributor to space exploration and space-inspired industries.”