On Being a Space Entrepreneur

Astronaut Hans Schlegel working on Columbus module of the ISS
Astronaut Hans Schlegel working on Columbus module of the ISS (Copyright ESA)

Elon Musk proved that through his on-going success with his rocket building company SpaceX. With a background in physics and economics, his success in the area of space can be attributed to his tenacity to paint opportunities with the skills and tools at his disposal. He demonstrated that a successful space entrepreneur requires first and foremost the capacity to assemble and build a strong team of experts around you, while you lead with the overall vision.

StartupWeekend Space is driven by the view that anyone can start a space startup. We are opening up the space sector to attract outside talent: Artists, designers, lawyers, doctors, economists and many more. Not only will they contribute their skills, but they will also provide fresh, innovative inputs to traditional challenges in the space sector.

I consider myself a space entrepreneur even if it does not appear so on a first glance. My company Design & Data GmbH provides crossmedia services exclusively to the space sector. I created Design & Data while still working for the European Space Agency. It was born out of a need to develop better communication products to reach out to the broad public. Within the last seven years, the company grew from a one-man business to a core team of six and a customer base encompassing both space agencies and private space companies.

Last summer I participated at International Space University’s Space Studies Program. This education program introduced me to the concept of the three I’s:

  • Interdisciplinary: Crossing discipline boundaries
  • International: Crossing global boundaries
  • Intercultural: Crossing cultural boundaries

We will apply the same principles to help the participants of StartupWeekend Space to gain a unique 3I experience at the event and generate a number of space business concepts that transcend these boundaries.

Being an entrepreneur is an enriching experience that everyone should attempt at least once. Do not be put off by the fact that you lack either experience or education. Most importantly, do not listen to others that try to discourage you. If you do not try, you will never know if you would have succeeded.

Key ingredients to being a successful entrepreneur are tenacity, endurance and a pinch of chutzpah. These will not only help you create new products, but also create new markets. With this in mind, what is still holding you back from becoming a space entrepreneur?

StartupWeekend Space is your first step to enabling that giant leap for mankind and most importantly for yourself. Be part of it, #BeSpacial.

Live long and prosper

<em>StartupWeekend Space is supported by the <a href=”http://www.wfb-bremen.de/en/wfb-wirtschaftsfoerderung-bremen“>City of Bremen</a>, the <a href=”http://www.esa.int/ESA“>European Space Agency</a>, <a href=”http://airbusdefenceandspace.com/“>Airbus Defence and Space</a>, <a href=”https://www.hespace.com/“>HE-Space</a>, <a href=”http://www.designdata.de/“>Design &amp; Data</a>, <a href=”http://spaceangelsnetwork.com/“>Space Angels Network</a> as well as <a href=”http://www.up.co/“>Up Global</a>, a non-profit organization connecting a global community of entrepreneurs across all topics. The organization is headquartered in Seattle, US and is considered a <a href=”https://blog.up.co/2015/01/13/week-two-corporate-capital-propels-seattles-newspace-industry/“>hub</a> for entrepreneurial space.