The partners final interviews: Startup Division

1. These almost three years have brought a lot of challenges, and the project has turned out more virtual than planned. What were the challenges behind it? 

A new way of going virtual definitely brought quite a challenge to the project. We had to rethink new ways to build and engage the audience to keep them interested. It was difficult, especially with the events that are usually held on-site and require a lot of teamwork and interaction (e.g. hackathons). However, even with such conditions we have adapted more to be flexible and creative with the new ways of making these events attractive.

Also working internally we had not had a chance to meet with all the partners in person and build these connections early on that made it easier to cooperate as a team and achieve more together later in the project. 

2. How about coordinating a project with this topic and all the constraints in the beginning?

Coordinating a project with a very specific topic as space for the first time certainly came with a big learning curve. However, with all the challenges present it proved to be a great opportunity to immerse ourselves in a completely new domain and start building a new knowledge base. Although, it must be said that the learning continues it was a great experience to be coordinating this project and discovering more about the space industry. 

3. SUN is all about helping startups scale in space – what that means to you? 

Helping startups scale in space means listening to their needs and finding relevant support solutions that would help them to move forward and overcome their challenges. Sometimes it can come in the form of changing a mindset to help them pivot in the right direction and at times it could be finding a good expert, making a connection with relevant industry stakeholders or suggesting a useful support mechanism. Throughout the programme we learned that space startups come with a very specific set of needs, therefore it is very important to go case by case in order to find what would work the best. 

4. How do you think SUN impacted the startups?

SUN project left a positive impact on startups. With our support startups got quite a few accomplishments under their belt. Of course, everybody’s journey is individual, however, we could mention some of the achievements from the most successful participants that we got a chance to gather during our closing interviews: attracting funding, finding partners, winning pitch competitions, being accepted to follow up acceleration and support programmes, expanding existing teams and much more. 

5. The project is now ending! How do you feel about these three years, and what’s still coming in the future?

It is quite emotional to finish the project after putting in so much effort throughout this time. However, I do believe that together with the partners we have built a very special project. Although, the SUN project is finishing we hope that all the learnings as well as materials accumulated throughout this time will serve as a useful source of information in the future. As for the project team, we will continue to be present in future space initiatives creating better support for startups.