SME Forums





The SME Forum is an annual consultation process for ESA, organised in collaboration with SME4Space, to collect feedback from SMEs and their associations on factors that affect their business environment. The resulting recommendations will feed into ESA’s SME Policy.

The proposed topics this year are:

  • Covid impact on space SMEs
  • access to finance
  • internationalisation and exports

The preparatory process will be:

  • by mid-August, SME4SPACE will send out some floor documents as food for thoughts;
  • Space SMEs and SME4Space Working Members are asked to send initial reactions/contributions on the provided documentations by 1st September;
  • ESA and SME4SPACE will consolidate and condensate the received contributions to be further discussed during online meeting(s);
  • The first working meeting for the SME Forum will be on 11th September with ESA SME Office and all Space SMEs willing to participate. A possible further on line working meeting for SME Forum would be announced in due time;
  • The consolidated positions and contributions will be presented on 9th October in a meeting (participation on invitation only) with Eric Morel, ESA Director of Director of Industry, Procurement and Legal Services (D/IPL) in Paris;
  • post event: we draft conclusions and recommendations to feed into ESA’s SME policy; they will be presented in other fora.

As mentioned above, the First SME Forum Working Meeting will be held on 11th September online with this Agenda.

To participate to the online working meeting(s), to received the floor documents and to be informed on all the evolution of the SME Forum, please register at the following link:

9th October 2020, ESA HQ Paris/WEBEX (on invitation only)

12:30 – 14:00 Arrival and welcome lunch (for those who will be in person)

14:00 – 14:15  Presentation of the SME Forum, objectives & expected outcome

Eric Morel de Westgaver, Director of Industry, Procurement and Legal Services, ESA

Jens Kauffmann, Head of the SME & Analytics Division, ESA

14:15 – 14:25 Challenges and opportunities for space SMEs in Covid-19 times

Hans Bracquené, Chair of SME4Space

14:25-16:20         Round table: SME feedback on business in ESA (Covid-19, access to finance, exports etc.)

Moderator: Teodora Secara, Industrial Policy Officer, SME Office, ESA


  • Janet Charlton, CEO, JCR Systems, UK
  • Emile de Rijk, CEO, Swissto12, CH
  • David Grünthal, CEO, Misterine, CZ
  • David Henri, CEO, Exotrail, FR
  • Christian Hoffmann, CEO, Geoville, AT
  • Ernst Pfeiffer, CEO, HPS & Speaker on behalf of AKRK, DE
  • Luca Rossettini, CEO, D-Orbit, President of AIPAS, IT
  • Marius Truşculescu, CEO, RISE, Romanian In-Space Engineering, RO
  • Antonios Vavouliotis, CEO, Adamant Composites, GR

16:00-16:30    Conclusions and way forward

Jens Kauffmann, Head of the SME and Industry Analytics Section , ESA

Eric Morel de Westgaver, Director of Industry, Procurement and Legal Services, ESA


ESA and SME4SPACE are co-organising a SME Forum “The Future of Work” on 17th June 2021 from 14:00 to 16:00 CEST.

The Covid-19 crisis has accelerated the evolution of the way of working in the space sector, especially towards a more digital and  green industry. The skills and competences required in the sector are quickly changing. This development needs to be anticipated to support the evolution and the competitiveness of Europe’s space industry and to attract the best professionals whose talents will be sought after by all industrial sectors.

ESA intends to foster exchanges among Member States and industry to reflect on the evolution of the space sector and, on that basis, to define the main skills and competences that will be required to ensure that European industry maintains and strengthens its competitiveness.

In this context, the Agency is organising a consultation process with industry to gather inputs from Large System Integrators, Midcaps and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises in three dedicated preparatory workshops. These workshops will provide inputs for and feed into a plenary event on 2 September 2021 entitled “The future of work in a more digital and green space sector”. This event will be attended by ESA, the OECD, delegations as well as industry representatives and will culminate in a report to the ESA Council.

To gather SME contributions, the Agency now invites Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SME) active in the space sector to participate to the discussion by attending the online preparatory event, the SME Forum on “The Future of Work” on 17 June 2021. In addition to sharing opinions and feedback during the event, registered participants are also invited to support the preparation of this Forum by providing their inputs through an online questionnaire which will be attached to the event’s registration confirmation.

The event is free of charge and it will be on line, however the registration is needed.

Please see below the full programme and to read more details and to register for this event please use the following link.


SME Forum “The Future of Work”

14h00 – 14h05: Welcome and introduction (ESA)

14h05 – 14h20: ESA overview presentation on events since last SME Forum and outlook Agenda 2025 (ESA)

14h20 – 14h30: SME4SPACE Covid-19 Surveys (SME4SPACE)

14h30 – 15h45: The Future of Work interactive discussion

Topic 1: Tomorrow’s space activities and the evolution of the way of working (Moderated by ESA) 

  • New opportunities: space solutions in the post-covid world
  • Integration of new technologies (AI, big data, etc.)
  • Opportunities for greener activities
  • Digitalisation
  • Remote working
  • Investing in R&D

Topic 2: Evolution of skills and competences – what will be needed to address these changes? (Moderated by ESA)

  • New skills
  • Hard vs. soft skills
  • Challenges and Opportunities of the demographics of the sector (hiring new generation and life-long learning)

15h45 – 16h00: Wrap-up and conclusions

Jens Kauffmann, Head of the SME and Industry Analytics Section, ESA
Hans Bracquené, Chairman of SME4SPACE

Participants: Registered SME representatives



Every year the ESA SME Office with the support of SME4SPACE, organise a series of meetings, where SMEs active in the space sector, are invited to share with the Agency their views regarding what affects their work.

A. PREPARATORY MEETING(s): In this phase space SMEs are invited to express at a high level, the topics/ issues of their interest. These topics are gathered from the Agency and will feed the agenda of the ESA SME FORUM that will follow.

B. SME FORUM: In this phase, there are presentations of ESA and SME4SPACE regarding important ongoing programs related to the industry, and then based on the issues brought up by the SMEs in the preparatory meeting, a fruitful, in-detail discussion is made between the Agency and the companies or/ their representing associations.

Every year important outcomes are extracted from this milestone consultation process, that benefits the European space companies and ecosystem.


The meetings will be held online, and we encourage those interested to be involved, to watch and actively participate in the process. You would be able to watch/ comment via the chat/ be given the floor to express your opinion.

In 2022, topics to be addressed will include:

  • Challenges for the industry in ESA programmes and the space market: impacts of the geopolitical situation and external factors (the war in Ukraine, COVID-19, scarcity of materials and components, supply chain issues and inflation)
  • Commercialisation, New Space and fostering the space SME ecosystem
  • Responsible procurement
  • Other issues to be brought to the attention of the Agency


To express your interest in contributing to the process and to sign up for the preparatory meeting on 8 June, please register here.


ESA and SME4SPACE invite all SMEs involved in the space sector to participate in the first preparatory meeting of the ESA SME Forum for 2023. The event is scheduled for Monday, 27th March from 15:00 – 17:00 CEST.

The ESA SME Forum is an annual consultation process where ESA engages with SMEs to gather their feedback and views on important issues that impact their work in the space sector.

As an SME, your participation in this event will help shape future policies and activities of the Agency. The consolidated feedback from the event will feed ESA’s High-Level Forum and will be used to inform future considerations about the activities and policies of the Agency related to the SME Community.

To participate in this event, please register below before the 24th of March 2023. Please note that participation in this event is subject to approval.

Registered participants will receive invitations to the on-site ESA SME + Midcap Days 2023 that will take place on April 2023 as well as to the preparatory online meeting(s).

Agenda of the 1st preparatory meeting of ESA SME Forum 2023:

  • ESA Introduction (events and actions since the last SME Forum)
  • SME4Space opening remarks.
  • Topic 1: Challenges for industry in the space market: impacts of the geopolitical situation and external factors (supply chain issues and inflation, scarcity of materials and components, maintaining competitiveness, workforce, etc)
  • Topic 2: Working with ESA: challenges, needs and evolution (Procurement, Contract Execution, NewSpace, Commercialisation, Transformation)
  • Other issues to be brought to the attention of the Agency.
  • AOB

If you have any questions, please contact us at