Register for GMES & Africa Startups Development Programme

GAIA Initiative

The GMES and Africa Incubation and Acceleration initiative, a part of the GMES and Africa Phase 2 programme, focused on supporting research and entrepreneurship in the African NewSpace ecosystem, is organising the Startups Development (SD) programme on the sidelines of the NewSpace Africa Conference 2023 in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire from 25th to 28th April 2023. The SD programme will feature 15 local, budding startups in various stages of growth in the EO and geospatial space to showcase their innovations, gain key industry stakeholders’ attention, and develop their ideas into minimum viable products.  

Organised in conjunction with Space in Africa, the Startups Development programme is part of the GAIA initiative’s strategies to develop and source indigenous talents and innovations using Earth observation technologies across various African industries. Furthermore, the GAIA initiative aims to create an environment for co-creation and cross-fertilisation among young or early-stage entrepreneurs to form viable startups and enhance capacity and participation in the GMES and Africa phase 2 programme.  

Five finalists will receive the opportunity to present their solutions to a panel of expert judges from the South African National Space Agency, GMES & Africa, Nigerian Satellite Communication Ltd, Edeway Foundation, Africa EO Services, and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.

Thus, the GAIA initiative invites interested African startups and companies utilising EO for development in their core business offerings to participate in the Startups Development programme. The Startup Development programme will showcase, beyond expectation, worthwhile young African startup founders working towards the development and advancement of the African newspace ecosystem, and attendance will provide opportunities for networking, funding and inspiration. 

  1. Selected teams will be invited to attend the NewSpace Africa Conference 2023 on an all-expense paid grant.
  2. Opportunity for selected teams to meet and network with top industry stakeholders and investors in the African space ecosystem and pitch their ideas;
  3. An exhibition booth (10m x 10m) will be provided for the shortlisted startups to exhibit their products at the conference; and
  4. Feedback from reputable industry experts and stakeholders on participants’ pitches and business ideas.

The Startups Development programme will accept innovations from the idea, pre-seed, piloting, or implementation stages in Africa with some demonstrated success. The solutions must leverage a space technology or EO application to solve holistic African challenges or achieve any SDGs.

  • Proposed solutions and pitches must solve developmental challenges in Africa;
  • Interested teams must leverage EO/geospatial technologies for their solutions and core product offerings (Earth observation, geospatial intelligence, satellite imagery, precision mapping, weather intelligence, satellite data mining and analytics, and navigation and positioning);
  • Applicants are NOT required to be a registered business; however, the team must be made up of Africans;
  • Registered businesses must be domiciled in Africa, and the object clause of their business must be in line with their proposed ideas; 
  • Registered businesses are required to present their business registration documents with their application; 
  • Interested teams may only pitch one business idea or product;
  • Business operation stage: Seed-stage, pre-seed-stage, idea stage NewSpace or potential  NewSpace companies in research, development and deployment technological readiness stages; and
  • The grant will cover only one team member, and shortlisted teams must be able to attend and present live at the NewSpace Africa Conference 2023 in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. 
Programme Timeline
  • Applications opening: 1st February 2023
  • Enquiries and questions: 1st -15th February 2023
  • Applications closing: 27th February 2023
  • Announcement of shortlisted candidates: 30th March 2023
  • Virtual boot camp: 10th April 2023
  • Startups Development programme: 25th -28th April 2023
How to Submit Entries

The application portal opens on 1st February 2023. Interested startups can visit the NewSpace Africa Conference 2023 website, navigate the GAIA Initiative page, click on APPLY, and begin their application.  

Participating companies will be evaluated based on the quality of their pitch deck and the viability of their business plan. The judges will shortlist five finalists who will be invited to compete in the final pitch competition at the Conference. Only pitch decks submitted through the online application portal will be considered. Submissions via email will not be accepted. 

NOTE: By submitting your pitch deck, you agree that it can be shared with members of the organising team, investors, and judges of the NewSpace Africa Conference 2023.

For questions and enquiries, kindly contact


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