‘SMEs AFRICA’ is an initiative that aimed at developing and promoting Copernicus Earth Observation data access to end-users in 4 African countries (Gabon, Senegal, Ethiopia and South Africa) to help face climate change and sustainable development issues. It started in December 2019 and ended in November 2022.
15 European SMEs supported to enter the African continent
End of November, CNES and Aerospace Valley have successfully finalized their internationalisation program “SMEs AFRICA”, which aimed to foster the use of Copernicus based products and to support the export business of European SMEs.
15 European SMEs* coming from 7 European member countries have been selected in Spring 2020.
The support provided by Business France and its partners in targeted countries, was operated in two steps:
- Knowledge and international strategy
SMEs were invited to attend country webinars in order to get many insights about the country development. Then, each SME selected two countries of interest for which Business France realised an individual export strategy followed by an international roadmap to the most promising country. This individual support was highly appreciated by 92% of the SMEs.
- B2B meetings
The second step of the programme was to liaise EU SMEs with local stakeholders in Senegal, Ethiopia or South Africa, the countries targeted by the companies. With the strong involvement of Business France and its partners, each SME received between 4 to 10 contacts in order to carry out business meetings. The majority of the companies taking part in the programme were satisfied with the contacts provided.
As a result of the internationalisation programme, 76% of the SMEs accompanied will continue their development in the selected countries, whereas others will target other continent (Latin America for instance) or refocus its activities in Europe.
4 sensitization workshops or conferences on Copernicus data through Africa attended
- GABON: one workshop in cooperation with AGEOS, the Gabonese Agency for Earth Observation took place in Libreville in May 2022. This workshop was dedicated to the use of Copernicus data to support the natural resources management and the security. It took place in Libreville on May, 17th with 80 attendees.
- SENEGAL: Expertise France invited the SMEs AFRICA project to attend and participate to a workshop on geospace data organized within the frame of the D4D Hub, a project funded by the European Commission. Several topics were addressed during this event: space data as a service for the development of smart cities, agriculture and maritime activities. It took place in Dakar in June 2022 with 120 attendees, gathering space experts and public bodies.
- SOUTH AFRICA: the SMEs AFRICA programme was selected to be a speaker during the ENLIT Conference “Africa’s Premier Power and Energy Event” from the 7-9th of June 2022 in Cape Town.
- RWANDA: Aerospace Valley was invited by the Africa Union to take part in a workshop on Entrepreneurship organized by the Professional Network of African geomaticians (RPAG) during the AARSE Conference “Space and geospatial technologies for the Africa we want“ in Kigali. It took place from the 25th until 27th of October 2022. In front of 15 African start-ups, Aerospace Valley presented the benefit of the Copernicus uptakes, the SMEs AFRICA programme and in which way working in partnership with European stakeholders benefits African companies.
Some feedbacks of participants:
” We are glad that we were given the opportunity to participate within the SMEs AFRICA programme. It delivered interesting insight into the Francophone Senegalese market. We welcome the support of the organisers and look forward to leveraging this relationship to meet new and relevant stakeholders! ” - BigTerra (CZ)
“It was a good experience and useful to understand the market trend in Ethiopia. » - LuxCarta (FR)
“I am satisfied with the support of the programme, an exploratory project for SpaceSense. The programme is a good entry point to explore a market, even if the results are not those expected. the individual support was very valuable. - SpaceSense (FR)
“Helpful to have a panorama about African capibilities - Seminars about the 3 Countries (problems on territory + mains interest) General background information before chosing the country + list of event dedicated to space and other sector ( water, energy, infrastructure...)- Planetek (IT)
SMEs Africa has been launched on June 2021 by CNES (the government agency for shaping France’s space policy and implementing it in Europe). The operation is financed by the FPCUP project of the European Commission and operated by Aerospace Valley (the world’s first aerospace cluster, based in Toulouse, France).
*VisioTerra, Pixstart, Action Air Environnement, Noveltis, Murmuration, TerraNIS SAS, SpaceSense, LuxCarta Technologie, DIGINOVE (France); Planetek Italia (Italy); Omanos Analytics (UK); Detektia Earth Surface Monitoring S.L (Spain); Big Terra (Czech Republic); Space4Good (Netherlands) and Soilwatch (Belgium).