Organized by the Czech Centre and Czech Embassy in Berlin, supported among others by CzechInvest and Bitkom, the German-Czech Innovation Festival (CGIF) presents innovations, science, new technologies and startups from Czechia and offers a Czech-German platform for innovative business and academic cooperation. The team of SpaceLabEU, a part of the hDock42 launchpad, has had the opportunity to present their project at this year’s edition on 9th of April in Berlin.

The day was filled with panel discussions and workshops, many of them aimed at the main topic of the festival – Space & Aerospace Business in Czech Republic. The keynote Karel Havlicek, Vice-Chair at the Council for Research of the Czech Government, in his speech pointed out the importance of data being the most valuable asset. He also announced a government plan to reduce taxes for companies investing in research & development. A hot topic in the subsequent panel discussion was Industry 4.0. Collaboration of companies with universities has never been as important as now. It is also hard to predict the future of jobs in professions that are going to get disrupted by industry 4.0. Therefore, the educational system must be transformed so that people are able to flexibly learn new professions faster and more easily during their lifetime.

The next panel discussion was about the development of aerospace and space-tech companies in Czechia. Currently, there are more than 40 active companies working in the field of space technology in Czechia. Space technologies are already omnipresent in our lives – we use so many without even realizing it (keyword navigation). Therefore, it is just logical, that this topic is gaining prominence not only in the USA and western Europe.

In the subsequent workshops, companies operating in both Germany and Czech republic, like E-on or Ackee, have shared their insights and experience in business development in both countries. All of them agreed, that outside of Berlin, proper communication in German language is usually quite crucial for success. The importance of references, having a local business entity and a well-localized website should not be underestimated, too.

The highlight of the day was the Czech Startup pitch. SpaceLabEU was present with a team of four people, with Petr Palan, Member of the Board, presenting our project in front of the international jury. We made it to the top three finalists of public vote which was a huge satisfaction for us, keeping in mind that our ion propulsion engine is still in a very early phase of development.

SpaceLabEU pitch (photo by Karolína Vacková)

At this point, we would like to thank the organizers and all participants from both countries for this perfectly organized event. Quality discussions and workshops on current topics and also a nice opportunity for networking – that is the CGIF. We are already looking forward to the future, when we will be able to showcase our project in a more advanced stage of development. But now it’s time to get back to hard work – see you some next time in Berlin!