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In the early days of space travel, there was only room for a select few individuals working at space agencies, with everyone else joining in on the adventure through their televisions. However, since the start of the New Space Age where there is a renewed interest in all things space, entrepreneurs are now paving the way. Entrepreneurs are making rapid advances in areas such as creating reusable rockets, launching cheaper satellites, and even making space more accessible through space tourism.

What would you be doing?

There are various types of entrepreneurs, and so the type of work done depends on each individual’s experience. Unlike other roles, there is no prescribed route for an entrepreneur, so for the vast majority of the time, entrepreneurs are navigating uncharted territory. They may be building a business around selling products and providing value, or information for data collection, creating a completely new service, finding a better way to complete a task, or perhaps something to do with social responsibility.

Entrepreneurism is born out of the idea of creating something new, so they are constantly working to manage the logistics of starting new businesses around innovative ideas. Entrepreneurs are willing to take on the many risks of implementing their idea, and also take on the role as leader of their company or organization. In the space sector, entrepreneurs account for a large percentage of today’s space business, as they contribute innovative technology, new business models, and have a quick turnaround rate compared to traditional aerospace companies.

What does a typical day involve?

Entrepreneurs tend to work on the business every day. However, even though being entrepreneurial is all about enacting forward-thinking strategic moves, there is a lot of work behind the scenes that entrepreneurs do to help keep their business running. Running a company isn’t your typical 9-5 job, as there really is no set routine.

In terms of tasks to do, entrepreneurs might hold marketing meetings, press interviews, sales calls, or even pitch their idea to investors to acquire more funding. Depending on the size of the company and the investment behind it, their roles will vary greatly.

For example, a newly launched company probably needs to acquire more investment to launch their idea, and an entrepreneur will generally spend a significant amount of time securing investors. On the other hand, a more advanced company may want to create more, innovative technology, and therefore put a lot of resources into completing research and design at their facilities. An entrepreneur will generally oversee all of this, with help from their colleagues.

What specific skills are needed?

Although there are many types of entrepreneurs, there are a few key traits that they generally share. This includes the drive to succeed, good communication skills, a willingness to learn, creativity, as well as courage.

Of course, to be an entrepreneur, it is vital to have the drive to create a solution to an existing problem. This means that they must be passionate about their product, and have a vision for the future. Many times, the path of an entrepreneur is unclear, and it is their passion that drives them forward. To ultimately be successful, entrepreneurs must be confident in themselves and their abilities, and be proactive in whichever business they choose.

Communication skills are also essential, since entrepreneurs are constantly dealing with a range of people from clients to partners, as well as potential investors. They must be able to listen to others around them, but also be assertive enough to stand for what they believe in. Some people may not initially have the same long-term vision as them!

As an entrepreneur, constant learning is the key to success. After all, if entrepreneurs are creating something new, it is important to be able to adapt to changes in industry, as well as stay on top of the latest industry information.

Entrepreneurs stand out due to their bright ideas, and new ways of doing things. Therefore, creativity is another important skill in this line of business. Sometimes, unexpected obstacles will arise, and an entrepreneur must figure out how to navigate them; sometimes with or without a team.

Finally, to be doing all of this, entrepreneurs possess courage to act on their ideas. They spend a lot of time working out the details of their business, as well as convincing others of its potential. Entrepreneurs are able to take a step into the unknown, and have the courage to succeed, as demonstrated by the many start-up companies already present in the space industry.

What type of qualifications are required?

A great part about being an entrepreneur is that there is no specific type of qualification required! Of course, in the space industry, a technical background may help when navigating the business, but the real important factor is having an entrepreneurial mindset.

The training to become an entrepreneur starts well before stepping into the role, in the form of business, work, sports, or even everyday life. An entrepreneur generally builds their skills up in other areas, and then applies it to their business.

An entrepreneurial mindset is often spoken about, which is a set of adaptable skills that are frequently used in the role. Through thinking in actions, creating possibilities, embracing risk, and aspiring to make a difference, a budding entrepreneur will be ready when a new opportunity arises.

Where can I get some more information?

Astropreneuer Space Startup Accelerator offers lots of resources to help with your startup, such as business and technical mentorship, funding, a great network, and workshops

The ESA Technology Transfer and Business Incubation Office works with entrepreneurs to turn space company ideas to commercial start ups

Article about Eric Ward creating his own space start up company 

Three space opportunities in software for budding founders

Article about the woman behind India’s first space start-up and how she’s continuing to expand her business

Pavlo Tanasyuk, the founder of SpaceBit speaking about democratising space exploration

Interview with Plafountzis Eleftherios, founder of Prometheus Space technologies 

10 Podcasts for aspiring entrepreneurs

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Christina MacLeod

Christina is an undergraduate student studying towards an MEng in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Edinburgh.

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