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8th Continent Project Starts Colorado's First Aerospace Incubator

by Staff Writers
Golden CO (SPX) Mar 20, 2008
The 8th Continent Project, the world's most comprehensive effort to integrate space technology and resources into the global economy, has received a $150,000 grant from the Colorado Economic Development Commission to start Colorado's first ever aerospace business incubator - helping the state maintain its national ranking as the second largest private aerospace employer.

The 8th Continent Project, an initiative of the Colorado School of Mines, includes a chamber of commerce, funding network, research center, and now the business incubator.

The Project is organizing "Space 2.0" - the emerging generation of entrepreneurial space-related business ventures - and working to define the next frontier and solve some of the world's biggest challenges, from global warming to resource and energy development. The infusion of space resources into the global economy will be the next big leap as we begin to bring space down to Earth.

"For the first time, government, industry and academia have joined forces with entrepreneurs and venture capitalists to forge the next frontier in commercializing space technology and resources," said Colorado Governor Bill Ritter. "With our region's unique cluster of businesses, IT infrastructure, research institutions and aerospace workforce, the 8th Continent Project and Colorado's first aerospace incubator will position Colorado at the vortex of 'Space 2.0.'"

The incubator, which will provide services but no office space, will serve companies that are involved in space technology and resource development for everything from activities in space to immediate opportunities on Earth. The companies can include anything that is typically associated with the space program.

The 8th Continent incubator expects to serve 14 to 15 start-ups per year. Burke Fort, executive director of the 8th Continent Project, and John Metzger, CEO of Metzger Associates, will serve as co-directors of the incubator.

"We are delighted that the Colorado Economic Development Commission chose the 8th Continent project to fund the first-ever aerospace incubator in Colorado," said Burke Fort, 8th Continent Project executive director.

"The 8th Continent business incubator will serve the Space 2.0 entrepreneurial community by bringing entrepreneurs together with expertise in venture capital, legal, risk management, communications and management consulting. The incubator companies also will receive membership in the 8th Continent Chamber of Commerce and gain all the benefits that it offers."

Each dollar provided by the Commission is being matched by $2.5 dollars through cash and in-kind contributions from the 8th Continent's founding partners, including the Colorado School of Mines, Townsend and Townsend and Crew intellectual property law firm, and Metzger Associates public relations and capital strategies firm. The grant will be distributed over three years at $75,000 the first year, $50,000 the second year and $25,000 for the third year.

"The incubator and the 8th Continent Project also will provide more resources for the traditional large budget spacecraft and exploration-based firms, Space 1.0, that have a strong presence in the state," Fort added.

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