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Last week I have spent a very stimulating 4 days at FIDAE. The International Air and Space Fair is the foremost aerospace, defence and security exhibition of Latin America, which has become one of the most important business platforms of the region due to its long and successful experience. The fair took place between 3-8 April 2018 in Santiago (Chile) and at the same time, also hosted the Latin American Remote Sensing week (LARS) with a parallel programme. The latter event was a discovery for me, as it was exactly at that pavilion where most of the EO value providers in the region were represented in the whole exhibition.

The event also had as main organisers the matchmaking platform Business Beyond Borders, an initiative funded by the European Commission and coordinated by EUROCHAMBERS, and Eurochile Business Foundation. Within the matchmaking event, European and Chilean companies have gathered addressing business opportunities in the sector, as well as initiatives of the European Union in Chile. For this latest part, we have the opportunity to meet again with our Eurochile friends with whom we have established an excellent collaboration in the past months. We are now discussing the details of an MoU and how to join forces in different European and Chilean projects. EuroChile has just been announced as a Copernicus Relay and we shall help them understand how the European space arena works in their preparation of the Copernicus Relay activities.

Many countries in Latin America are now developing space-related programmes, which will lead to new business relationships with the key players in the area, therefore, we thought it was important for EARSC to be present at this event and to showcase the association activities and present the capabilities of the European Earth Observation providers. I also took the opportunity to collect helpful information about the space industry in Chile as it is one of the target countries for the current study on internalisation produced by the IDEEO project.

Given that EU have recently signed a Copernicus agreement with Chilean Government, EARSC would like to leverage on it and will work with stakeholders in the region to initiate discussions on future collaborations. There are so many actors in Chile and big enthusiasm around Copernicus however I think they still search for the next step to take this National strategy forward since they need to find a good level of political support. There is a strong academic/university interest, but there are also industrial foundations such as EuroChile which could help rally the various interests and provide a lever for growth on the back of Copernicus as part of the Copernicus Relays. During these days I met around 25 stakeholders from private and public side, in fact I was very happy with the organization of BBB/EuroChile as they were the chairs who created such an excellent platform and environment to meet and chat with cooperation partners. Thank you Eurochambers for giving us the opportunity to participate in FIDAE!

One strong message that came out was about awareness. Quite a few of the stakeholders attending the event wondered where they could get data from Copernicus, is that easy to download from the cloud, what type of processing could be done with it? how we could be more engaged? So what EC called “the network of Copernicus ambassadors: the Copernicus Relays” will have big opportunities for awareness campaigns; coordinating and promoting activities around the programme, its benefits, and opportunities for local residents and businesses. Reflecting on this afterwards with another expert, we discussed the value-adding community is the best target to be involved in those campaigns as they really know the final users.

At EARSC we fully support the Regional industry and the wider EO community to establish a national strategy and are ready to work with any other national organisation which wishes to put a strategic plan in place, as one way of helping the industrial sector to grow.

I also had the great pleasure to discuss with the EU Ambassador in Chile, Stella Zervoudaki. She was fascinated “to see the innovative EO businesses with global ambitions that have the potential to add value to established networks and markets” and fully supported our partnership with Eurochile.

So many side events happened, and it will be time to follow up with all these business cards collected, meanwhile and in brief… it has been very good to see this sort of meetings under such a big event and maybe as EARSC we shall try to attend more to these events specially supported by the Internationalization strategy we are developing.

Keep an eye on us! We are going Global !!!

Blog written by Mónica

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