£6m funding boost awarded to CivTech to ignite public sector innovation

Ivan McKee at Demo Day. Photo by Rob Gunn

THE Scottish Government has today announced £6 million in funding to drive innovation across the public sector to improve the lives of Scottish citizens, and support a new generation of technology businesses and entrepreneurs.

Awarded to CivTech – the world’s first Government-run accelerator for public sector tech innovation – the cash injection will allow the programme to fund small to medium businesses in the private sector as they work to find ways to improve public sector services. 

Announced at CivTech’s sixth Demo Day event, live-streamed from Edinburgh’s Assembly Rooms today, the funding will significantly increase the number of Challenges set by the Scottish Government’s ground-breaking accelerator, ensuring a wide range of problems can be solved in collaboration with increasing numbers of public and third sector organisations. 

For the first time, it will provide opportunity for private investors and the Scottish Government to co-fund the high growth potential businesses coming out of CivTech. 

Tech entrepreneurs and organisations compete to help find new digital solutions to these Challenges, set by public sector bodies ranging from parts of the Scottish Government through to local councils and national charities.

The current cohort will unveil their solutions for the first time at today’s event, Demo Day 6. Twelve teams will showcase innovative technologies that will help to tackle climate change, support social care services and improve educational facilities.

Sponsored by Amazon Web Services, Harvey Nash and Sopra Steria, participating companies include Environment Systems, which, in partnership with Tweed Forum and Land Habitat, has created a technology that uses satellite data to help land managers restore our peatlands, and Digiflec, which has developed sensing technology to better manage road infrastructure in rural communities.

Demo Day also gives the Challenge winners the unique opportunity to engage with key public sector industry partners and explore potential for future contracts. 

Ivan McKee, Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise will open the event with a keynote address. 

Mr McKee said: “CivTech’s Accelerator Programme creates a hub for government and industry to come together and develop transformational technologies to tackle problems faced by local communities. 

“CivTech clearly demonstrates that the public sector can innovate, and that innovation can contribute to the economy. It is regarded both in Scotland and across the globe as a world leader in GovTech – the application of technological solutions, expertise and technical ability across our public services – a market that will grow from $400 billion (£298 billion) in 2018 to $800 billion (£597 billion) in 2023.

“This funding will allow CivTech to realise its growth ambitions and support the success of businesses taking part on the programme, which in turn allows us to build better public services and drive our economy.”

Demo Day attendees will also hear from notable speakers from some of the program’s key sponsors. Alexandra Lima, Europe Public Sector Sustainability Lead at Amazon Web Services, and South of Scotland Enterprise’s Chief Executive Officer, Jane Morrison-Ross, will discuss their experience of working in tech and how innovation can benefit everyone. 

Since inception in 2015, CivTech has set 60 challenges for tech entrepreneurs and companies, with 178 teams taking part in its Exploration Stages, and 67 teams going through to the Accelerator Stage.

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