From the Lecture Hall to the Board Room
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From the Lecture Hall to the Board Room

May 11, 2011 - To pave the way from university to entrepreneurship, the European Satellite Navigation Competition (ESNC) is running the ESNC University Challenge. The student or research associate with the best idea in the field of location-based services will be able to take part in a 12-month incubation programme and receive patent consulting worth a total of approximately EUR 80,000.

The ESNC University Challenge is looking for innovative ideas related to locationbased services. As these are so various, the competition is reaching out to any young researcher dealing with potential application areas. Engineering, logistics, business, marketing, communications, information technology, media, geology, geography – these are just some of the topics that could be turned into a promising idea. What counts is creativity. Hence, the evaluators will be focusing on originality and market needs rather than technological perfection of the idea.

Location-based services (LBS) have exploded in recent years. Consumers are discovering new ways to experience the world around them through their smart devices, and businesses are learning how to leverage location information to provide more value to their customers. A location-based service is a mobile service or application that exploits the user’s geographical location. It can be used on mobile phones and other handheld devices, but also with in-vehicle applications. The most popular categories of LBS include navigation applications, indoor routing, friend finders, asset tracking systems, social networking, shopping/couponing, safety alerts, and gaming.

Ultimately, the ESNC University Challenge aims to realise the winning idea in the form of a start-up company foundation. To achieve this goal, NAVTEQ – the leading global provider of maps, traffic and location data enabling navigation, location-based services and mobile advertising – is sponsoring an incubation programme worth EUR 75,000. The prize includes coaching, technical and business development support, access to NAVTEQ® map data, content and services, web promotions, and the opportunity to present the final application to NAVTEQ’s customers. Furthermore, the winner will receive EUR 5,000 in patent consulting sponsored by the European IP firm Awapatent AB, with the aim of filing a patent for the nominated idea.

The ESNC University Challenge is a fairly new concept in the eight-year history of the ESNC, which did not establish the special prize for students until 2010. Nevertheless, the concept was well received. “The high number of participants showed us that many young people have great ideas on their minds,” says Thorsten Rudolph, managing director of Anwendungszentrum GmbH Oberpfaffenhofen, which organises the ESNC. “They are just waiting to be given a fair chance to prove their creativity and entrepreneurial spirit.”

“Location-aware applications are one of the most popular and profitable categories of downloads,” said Marc Naddell, vice president of Partner and Developer Programs at NAVTEQ, “and new advances in technology will send adoption rocketing. Our relationship with ESNC enables us to tap into the creativity of university students and empower them to develop and market the next great app.”

Last year, 29-year-old Vivek Dadu from Cranefield University (UK) won the challenge. He developed “Flood Guardian”, a solution that uses satellite navigation to generate advance warnings and provide solutions to avert potential floods. He is currently working on realising his idea and has already filed a patent application. Dadu was inspired by a devastating flood in Poland. “The news acted as a catalyst for me to think in the direction of averting such a natural disaster,” he says. Dadu, who studies aerospace and vehicle design, thinks the ESNC University Challenge was a big step in his career. “Exposure – that is what the ESNC promises to each winner,” he says. “And international exposure is what everyone is looking for.”

Benjamin Kirschner of the German company flinc shares Dadu’s opinion, adding that the ESNC also has much more to offer – credibility, for example. “This award demonstrates the business potential of your idea to partners and customers,” Kirschner says. During a study project, he and some fellow students developed a social mobility network – an app that arranges real-time ride sharing with the help of satellite navigation. After they graduated, they decided to start their own business. “And it was the best decision in my life,” he says. Their app is currently in the testing phase and will be launched this summer.

About the European Satellite Navigation Competition

The European satellite Navigation Competition is an international ideas competition that awards the best ideas based on satellite navigation. Anyone can participate, from companies and entrepreneurs to research institutes, universities, and private individuals. What counts is the idea. Between 1 April and 30 June, participants can submit their ideas at

Having started in 2004 with three partner regions, the ESNC has since grown into a global network of innovation and expertise. More than 20 regions now compete against each other to produce the overall winner – the Galileo Master – who receives EUR 20,000 and the chance to realise their idea in an incubation centre of their choice.


NAVTEQ is the leading global provider of location content in the form of maps, traffic and places data that enables navigation, location-based services and mobile advertising around the world. NAVTEQ supplies precise, comprehensive location content to power automotive navigation systems, portable and wireless devices, Internet-based mapping applications and government and business solutions. The Chicago-based company was founded in 1985 and has approximately 5,600 employees located in 213 offices in 50 countries.

About NAVTEQ Network for Developers

NAVTEQ Network for Developers ( provides developers with the technical and business support needed to build, showcase and launch innovative location-enabled web and mobile solutions for individuals and enterprises. NN4D includes mapping APIs, LBS content, point of interest data and routing information as well as geospatial platforms and tools from NAVTEQ and its partners. Developers new to the site can register at

Find the NN4D on Facebook at and on Twitter at @NN4D.

For additional information on the NN4D University Program visit


European Satellite Navigation Competition
Ulrike Daniels
Anwendungszentrum GmbH Oberpfaffenhofen
Friedrichshafener Straße 1
82205 Gilching
Tel.: +49(0)8105-77277-14
Fax: +49(0)8105-77277-55
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