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Boeing will invest £2 million to boost innovation in UK aerospace industry over two years
By Gary Elliott
04 November 2019 12:00:AM
Read time: 3 minutes
Boeing and the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) have announced the launch of a two-year programme intended to support the growth of startups in the UK aerospace industry. The first round of the programme will be three months’ long and seeks world-class startups creating Industry 4.0 and sustainability enabling technologies with the potential to bolster the growth and competitiveness of the UK aerospace industry. Startups that are selected for funding will receive up to £100,000.
“Through this partnership Boeing and the ATI are accelerating innovation and the growth of a vibrant global startup ecosystem,” said Brian Schettler, Boeing HorizonX Ventures senior managing director.
The application period for the London-based accelerator closes on 15th November. The programme is delivered in partnership with Ignite, a UK-based startup accelerator and investment network. GKN Aerospace is the inaugural corporate sponsor, with other sponsors expected to join.
“Innovation is a common thread through the more than 80 years of partnership between Boeing and the UK,” said Sir Martin Donnelly, president of Boeing Europe and managing director for the United Kingdom & Ireland. “This £2 million investment is a new chapter in Boeing’s history, providing financial support and expert mentoring to enhance the UK’s thriving startup community and strengthen aerospace innovation and industry prosperity.”
Gary Elliott, Chief Executive Officer of the ATI, said:
We are excited to be setting up the first dedicated commercial aerospace accelerator, enhancing the opportunities for innovative startup businesses to be successful in the industry. The potential for new technologies or business models to enhance productivity and tackle sustainability challenges in the sector is growing. Many of these opportunities will be advanced through the fresh thinking and agility of entrepreneurs and high-growth businesses. It is therefore a priority for the ATI to ensure the UK aerospace ecosystem is well placed to support these businesses. This programme breaks new ground, leveraging our networks and neutrality to bring multiple corporate sponsors together and give the startups unparalleled opportunities to develop their ideas, source investments and access customers.
“This programme is an example of the aerospace industry at its best – global businesses working with dynamic startups to accelerate innovation and benefit the whole industry,” said Paul Perera, vice president of technology at GKN Aerospace. “Partnerships like this will drive the breakthroughs of tomorrow.”
In January 2020, the first cohort of startups will begin their participation in the accelerator. Leaders from Boeing, ATI and sponsoring partners will mentor the startups on business building and skill development, including connecting them with funding opportunities and commercialising solutions.
In April 2020, the startups will celebrate the end of the programme with a demonstration day, where they will pitch their businesses to customers, key industry stakeholders and investors to help the startups achieve commercial and equity outcomes.