Fourteen tech companies are set to showcase how digital platforms can solve real-world challenges as part of Scotland’s public sector innovation programme.
CivTech – the Scottish Government’s national accelerator programme, which supports and mentors tech startups – will host its annual ‘Demo Day’ at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC) on Wednesday, March 4.
Now in its fourth cycle, CivTech has helped to create 94 jobs and led to participants winning over £8.5 million in contracts since its launch in 2016.
CivTech 4.0 is the biggest funding round yet with government contracts worth up to £250,000 secured by innovators who can play a part in the tech for good economy.
The 14 companies were selected in November by 10 Scottish public sector ‘challenge sponsors’ – after a rigorous assessment process – to work on a range of government and societal problems.
The winning solutions will include a platform which allows anyone carrying a mobile phone to calculate and lessen their impact on climate change, a digital assessment tool for people with dementia to access the best tech services to maintain their independence and a storytelling app that will help schoolchildren understand how to best navigate their future career paths.
Minister for Public Finance and Digital Economy Kate Forbes said: “As Minister for Public Finance and Digital Economy I am responsible for both ensuring that we get value from our public services but also that we create the conditions for Scotland’s digital economy to flourish. This is why, since taking up this position, I have always been a great supporter of the Scottish Government’s CivTech Programme.
“It has been hugely exciting to see public service teams with the courage to take a different path and team up with Scotland’s entrepreneurial tech talent to deliver innovative solutions.
“That is why it is my pleasure to invite you to Demo Day 4.0 on 4th March at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre to see how this year’s cohort will solve a variety of challenges.
“Whether you are from the public sector wanting to see how your organisation can benefit from harnessing entrepreneurial talent, or an innovative company intent on doing well by doing good or indeed an investor scouting for the next wave of investable opportunities, I look forward to welcoming you.”
Mark Elliott, Programme Director, CivTech at The Scottish Government, said: “There’s just six weeks to go until what will be the largest cohort of challenge sponsors and companies to date on the CivTech programme.
“It is an incredibly exciting and no doubt nerve-wracking time for the companies who will be able to spotlight their innovations, live on stage, to a large audience that will include the best and brightest of Scotland’s innovation eco-system, including members of the investor community.
He added: “CivTech 4.0 Demo Day is an opportunity for public sector organisations to come together to learn a bit more about the programme and how it can assist them on their own journeys to delivering better public services. It brings together public sector expertise and private sector creativity to solve real problems, develop new products and deliver better, faster and easier services for everyone.
“It is also a chance for budding entrepreneurs and tech start-ups to hear about the pipeline of new opportunities coming up in CivTech 5.0, which they will hear more about on the day.”
Some of the tech companies from previous cohorts involved with CivTech Accelerator 1-3 have already attracted considerable interest from the investor community.
Trickle built a staff engagement platform for the Scottish Government’s Digital Directorate as part of CivTech 3.0 last year, allowing its 400 divisional staff to provide a direct feedback loop to leadership teams, enabling greater insight into workforce health and wellbeing levels. The human resources-style app went on to secure £1m in seed funding in December from venture capital investor TechStart Ventures, to develop the platform at scale.
In addition to featuring the challenge sponsors and companies, the event will be opened by Kate Forbes, Minister for Public Finance and Digital Economy and Fergus Ewing, Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy, will address the Net Zero Zone.
The Net Zero Zone is part of a policy commitment to ensuring Scotland becomes a net-zero society by 2045 and CivTech 4.0 features a number of challenges focused on responding to the climate emergency.
Lisa Witter, Co-Founder of Apolitical, the global learning platform for government, will also deliver a keynote speech based on the challenges facing a 21st century public servant and Katy McNeil, CivTech Intrapreneurship Lead, will hold a session on developing entrepreneurial talent from within the public sector.
Elliott added: “The programme has been extended this year to include these new learning elements, which reflects how CivTech has grown. We were one of the forerunners of what has now become a global govtech movement, which according to some estimates is on course to grow in value to $1trn by 2025. As part of our international engagement, and partnership with Scottish Development International, we also look forward to hosting a number of our counterparts in leading govtech nations including Australia, Estonia, Dubai and the Netherlands.”
If you are tech innovator, entrepreneur or public servant and want to experience CivTech 4.0 Demo Day, registration is free and you can secure your ticket now via the link here. For inspiration, you can also watch a short video featuring Kate Forbes, Minister for Public Finance and Digital Economy, on why programmes like CivTech are so important to support innovation in the economy of the future.
CivTech 4.0 Challenge Companies & Sponsors
Global Trails (sponsored by Skills Development Scotland), Lumera Health (sponsored by Alzheimer Scotland and the government), Wallet.Services (sponsored by SAAS), Novoville (sponsored by City of Edinburgh Council), Reshape Technology (sponsored by Glasgow City Council), M2M Cloud ((sponsored by West Dunbartonshire Council), Trickle Data Insights (sponsored by West Dunbartonshire Council), Amiqus (sponsored by Scottish Government People Services), Deblur (sponsored by Transport Scotland), Elsoms Seeds; Silvibio; Cumbria Tree Growers; Forest Research; Forestart (sponsored by Forestry and Land Scotland).