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Daciana Sferle, President of APECS: Why you should join APECS Space Business Network

As our followers already know, The Association for Promoting Space Exploration and Research (APECS) is a Romanian non-profit organisation whose goal is to provide a platform for space enthusiasts, professionals and companies. In order to better promote this idea, we founded APECS Space Business Network. Daciana Sferle, space lawyer, founder and president of APECS, is going to tell you more about APECS' mission.

A.P.E.C.S.: What does space business mean?

Daciana Sferle: Lately, we hear more and more about New Space. It is a concept expressing the new era in the space sector linked to space commercialisation. It means that states are no longer the only actors that can afford to invest in space, and giants like Boeing, Lockheed Martin or Northrop Grumman are no longer the only private actors in the space sector. The development of small satellites technology and new state policies related to space activities and space applications opened new opportunities for small and medium-sized businesses. As a result, space has become a market open to new business opportunities.

So, a space business is any business that has a component related to space. Who can afford to go to space or to provide services to the space industry? The more traditional founding scheme is through the procurement process, and the main customer for the space businesses were governments. Nowadays, more and more ventures have developed the appetite to invest in space start-ups and space spinoff technologies. It is a risky market, with the return of investment uncertain but along "with great risk comes great reward," as Thomas Jefferson said.

The private sector is the future of space, and a space economy is now under development.

A.P.E.C.S.: Why is it so important to join a space business network? What are the advantages?

Daciana Sferle: A space business network is a platform, a community dedicated exclusively to the space businesses and other businesses willing to learn more about the sector before assessing the opportunity to develop a space segment within their company.

Every industry has its specific, from the business model to the business strategy, the funding scheme, and the market's challenges.

Within our non-profit organisation, APECS, we have created the first Romanian based space business network. Because I live in London and I am involved in the flourishing British space industry, my intention is first to create a bridge between the two communities, and continue to connect our network to space business worldwide to open it up to the global space economy. Since its launch last month, we are proud to announce that already two reputable British companies already joined our network. We are planning to make it public soon.

Our space business community is purposed for creating opportunities, offer mutual learning experiences. The new actors will be guided to gain insights about the space business-specific. Businesses and entrepreneurs will have the chance to connect in our dedicated networking events and make their businesses more visible. In addition, universities, and research centers will have the opportunity to engage with the industry. Our goal is to become a united community and support each other.

A.P.E.C.S.: How much does networking help a start-up business?

Daciana Sferle: Every entrepreneur faces the same challenges and knows the value of advice when needed, or of learning from other successful business stories. It is hard to find reliable partners, employees, contractors etc. These small things represent the difference between success and failure. Networking is half, even more of your effort to build a new business. These networks will be developed and extended throughout the entire business existence. The feeling of belonging to a community is also very comforting for any start-up.

A.P.E.C.S.: Can we all work and innovate together? How about the "competition"?

Daciana Sferle: The space sector industry is relatively new, and to develop a healthy space economy, we have to cooperate and innovate together (there are legal ways to protect your sensitive data if that is your concern), to learn from each other mistakes and to create a solid and united voice in our area. Joining a business network is the best way to assess the competition and become better and more competitive. Furthermore, it is the best way to keep updated with the latest news in your area.

A.P.E.C.S.: What are the areas that form the space business network? Who can join?

Daciana Sferle: There is no specific area. The space industry is very diverse, from space data to launch vehicles, cybersecurity, communications, geolocation, small satellites, Earth observation, defence, research activities, and many more, plus any complementary fields. Anyone interested can join. Start-ups, established businesses or entrepreneurs, research centres or universities. Keep in mind that APECS' first-year membership is free of charge.

A.P.E.C.S.: What are the steps to follow to join APECS' Space Business Network?

Daciana Sferle: APECS' membership is running yearly. There are three simple steps:

Step 1 - Register on our website, either in Romanian or English, and wait for our answer

Step 2 - After your admission, you will receive a badge to display on your website, so that you can be recognised by other members.

Step 3 - Send us your logo so we can display it on our Space Business Network dedicated page.

We are waiting for you to join us!

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