There’s news out today that Strathclyde University in Glasgow will launch of the first Scottish Space Business Hub, promising a future of amazing stellar adventures and explorations through the development of unheard of technologies, mind boggling mathematical expressions of reality and new insights into big bangs, worm holes and the strangeness of quark and charm.
A space centre excites the imagination in a way that perhaps the building of a local supermarket on your doorstep doesn’t: the images of far away galaxies, zyglotrons and tractor beams whisking you away from here to eternity in less time than it takes to order a cappuccino bring the romance back to the space race. On a more prosaic level, the building of a Space Centre on your doorstep offers all sorts of opportunities for the fledging entrepreneur who’s wondering what do with their excessive and misdirected energies.
A Space Centre is a great example of a huge capital project which needs to generate an equally exciting and romantic cluster of start up business springing up alongside it in order to succeed. Whilst we might envisage a huge rocket being launched from Campsie Fells within the next 50 years, what is also worth planning for is the myriad of small businesses which will feed the project and provide all sorts of new job opportunities for local residents. Lingerie for astronauts? Why import underwear from France when you could make your collection from local sources of tweed? There’ll be no need to fly expensive diet pills from California as your start up could provide all the vitamins and nutrients drawn from the Highlands and Islands.
So, If you’re a start up entrepreneur looking for the next great start up opportunity but don’t have a Space Station on your doorstep, have a look around for the next best thing. Some say HS2 will provide exactly that although the jury is still out as to whether a project which is unlikely to start until the next millennium will provide the suitable climate for businesses that want to start up here and now. No, whilst you might not be able to gather around a local space centre, there are always going to be bigger challenges for the local entrepreneur to get their head around: how to feed people, provide affordable housing and engage young people in meaningful long term jobs wouldn’t be a bad start for the start up looking for a 21st century mission.
“It’s space Jim, but not as we know it” might be what your engineer mutters to you as your start up contributes to new visions of human possibility, but you can rest assured your contribution will have rapid and lasting effects in ways that rockets to the outer reaches of Galaxy #ZD/165 won’t have.