Our voice of business this month is: Portia Bowman, Director of Growbotics Space

As a start-up business, the ability to receive as much help and support as possible is vital for our development.

We are thrilled to have been the first company to have been chosen for the Westcott Incubator and Accelerator (WIA) Programme aimed at encouraging start up and SME companies to grow and develop at Westcott Venture Park.

The Satellite Applications Catapult (SAC) will run the programme funded by Buckinghamshire Local Enterprise Partnership and we will be based at the Westcott Innovation Centre.

Growbotics is on a mission to build an in orbit circular economy. Currently, satellites are single use but now the technology exists to dock with them, like a roadside recovery vehicle, we need to design them differently enabling them to be repaired rather than disposed of.

This means their life can be extended by maintaining and upgrading them instead of launching new satellites that burn up in the atmosphere when we don’t know what damage that is causing.

We have a lot of space sector knowledge but want help with manufacturing and robotics specifically so cross-sector transferral with the growing ecosystem of Westcott Space Cluster businesses and the In-Orbit Servicing and Manufacturing Facility will be very useful.

The incubator programme will help our business strategy and market analysis and hopefully we will also be accepted onto the accelerator programme to develop hardware. The aim is to access the robotics lab and start rapidly prototyping.

We want to hire a mechanical engineer this year and by the end of 2024, grow the team to about seven people.

I am also really looking forward to working alongside other space related start-up companies joining the programme so we can accelerate the development of our concepts. I would thoroughly recommend it to any space-related entrepreneurs and applying was a really easy process.

The barriers to entry are low enough to encourage innovative ideas but high enough to ensure there is a certain quality required to ensure the money is spent in the right way. The form took an evening to complete, and the most challenging part was creating a pitch confined to just five minutes.