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Enterprise M3 at heart of UK's growing space industry

Last updated 11 June 2019
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Enterprise M3 at heart of UK's growing space industry

The Enterprise M3 region is  at the heart of the UK’s growing, multi-billion pound space industry, a new report has confirmed. 

The South East has 368 organisations engaged in space-related activities, according to the analysis by London Economics, and tops the table.

Enterprise M3 has approaching a third of those with an impressive 108 of the South East’s space businesses - 30 engaged in space manufacturing, 8 in space operations, 40 in space applications and 30 in related services. 

The report, the ‘Size & Health of the UK Space Industry 2018 - A Report to the UK Space Agency” also found  the national space industry employed 41,900 people and generated £14.8bn in 2016/17. London’s income was £9.3bn compared to the South East’s £1.7bn, with Enterprise M3 contributing the lion’s share, a weighty £1.4bn.

In the Enterprise M3 region, Guildford is the base of a strong space cluster which includes Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (part of the Airbus Group), the world's most successful producer of small satellites.

The Surrey Space Centre (University of Surrey, Guildford), is a world-leading research centre for small, low cost space missions, offering access to a stream of talent and skills. . The Centre has multidisciplinary engineering excellence with capability, to develop and execute space missions, from concept study to spacecraft design, to mission operations and exploitation of space data to support engineering research and education.

The Space Centre is linked to the Surrey Space Incubator on Surrey Research Park. Here, growth is accelerated for start-up and scale-ups that are leveraging space technology as a critical asset in their businesses. They are assisted by the SETsquared enterprise partnership of universities, including University of Surrey, and twice ranked as the global number business incubator.

The Enterprise M3 backed Farnborough International Exhibition centre Airshow adds to the area’s space industry expertise. Its dedicated Space Zone offers exceptional networking opportunities and business engagement across this growing sector.

Enterprise M3 LEP’s £5 million investment in Farnborough airport has help ensure Farnborough’s airshow retains its pivotal position for space contracts and the UK economy. .

The area’s industry base includes Airbus – Zephyr which has a satellite production site close to Farnborough Airport. TAG, which operates the airport has Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter capabilities.

At Enterprise M3, we fully understand the value of our space sector, as corroborated by this report. We have great ambitions to build on this strength in our economy in order to benefit the people and places in our area. 

Our Growth Fund targets companies in this sector by investing in, and supporting the ideas of business men and women who want to expand or to launch an innovative idea or product

Kathy Slack , Enterprise M3 Executive director

The ‘Size & Health of the UK Space Industry 2018’ report also highlighted how UK expenditure on this sector is much less than in other sectors. France spends almost $1,400m USD per annum, Germany $600m, Italy just under $600m while the UK comes in at under $200.

Enterprise M3 LEP plans to address this in its Local Industrial Strategy, due for publication in 2020. The strategy will outline how high priority sectors in the region, such as the space industry, can greatly enhance productivity and contribute to the UK economy as a whole.  

From 1 April 2024, the responsibility for LEP functions across the Enterprise M3 LEP region has transferred to Hampshire County Council and Surrey County Council.

The Enterprise M3 Board met for the last time in March 2024 and Enterprise M3 LEP is no longer operating as an organisation.

For any enquiries relating to economic development across the counties of Hampshire and Surrey, please visit the Hampshire County Council website and Business Surrey respectively.

Please note that Enterprise M3 LEP staff have transferred to Hampshire County Council to continue to deliver services and activities in Hampshire, including the Growth Hub, the Careers Hub, work on key business sectors, and trade and investment.  

They can be contacted by emailing and respectively. Alternatively, please contact the

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