Assessment of the financing needs of space SMEs in Europe

The space industries, since their inception in the late 1940s, have been discrete, relatively niche sectors whereby political and military considerations superseded scientific and market rationales. This status quo is changing rapidly in recent years with increased commercialization of the sector and thus, poses the problem of access to finance, especially for small and medium space enterprises. To date there has not been a comprehensive study with statistically significant data of the economic and financial developments and requirements of the European space industries. There is an expressed need for industrywide investment research and publications on the subject. Without comprehensive and reliable aggregate economics, business cycle and financial metrics, commercial banks and private
equity funds would continue to offer sub-optimal financial products. Ultimately, this results in forgone opportunities for European economies and society in general. Hence, this paper attempts to examine in a systematic way the access to finance challenges faced by European small and medium enterprises active in the space sector, particularly when expanding their business activities.
The conducted research identified market inefficiencies and suboptimal financing conditions for European space SMEs. Significant improvement in the investors’ confidence in the sector along with moderate pace of public investments, mainly in the form of financial instruments, are both simultaneously needed to reduce the perceived market risk.

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