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CivTech launches with £7m of contract opportunities for tech entrepreneurs
Business minister Ivan McKee at CivTech Demo Day at the Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh last year/Supplied.
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CivTech launches with £7m of contract opportunities for tech entrepreneurs 

CivTech – the Scottish Government’s tech accelerator for the public sector – has launched its latest round of innovation challenges with £7m of contract opportunities up for grabs.

The national programme – which seeks to bring government and the world of technology closer together – has revealed its latest round of challenges to appeal to budding startups.

The programme is inviting companies and individuals from across the UK and beyond to develop solutions for 13 new challenges which have been set by public sector bodies, local councils, charities and the Scottish Government itself. 

Successful respondents are paid over a series of stages to work with public sector organisations to develop their proposals from ideas through to commercially viable products.

The contract value available on each challenge ranges between £350,000 and £800,000 and this year’s focus is on how to use technology to empower communities, minority groups, and marginalised individuals, as well as including opportunities to help solve environmental problems and improve transport infrastructure. 

The best ideas from initial submissions will be placed into the CivTech Accelerator, resulting in a Demo Day ‘big reveal’ in February 2023. 

Ivan McKee, Scottish Government minister for business, trade, tourism and enterprise said: “CivTech is a success story and its continued role in inspiring and innovating technology across Scotland is something to celebrate.

“This year the Scottish Government committed £6 million to this programme, which attests to the confidence we have in the real world solutions which the Accelerator produces. The Scottish Government’s National Strategy for Economic Transformation will build upon this by helping deliver innovative solutions to build a sustainable economy.

“We want thinkers, creatives, entrepreneurs, innovators, to all come together and join us in finding answers to major challenges facing not just communities and individuals across the country, also around the world.

“The CivTech experience is the first chapter of so many success stories about the forging of homegrown tech talent. This is an opportunity unlike any other, and I can’t wait to see what happens next year on what is set to be the biggest and best Demo Day yet.”

Launched in 2016, CivTech aims to inject innovation into the way that the public sector deploys new technology to improve the lives of Scotland’s citizens.

During its first six years, CivTech set 64 Challenges for entrepreneurs and companies to solve, with 184 teams taking part in its initial exploration stage, and 71 teams going through to the accelerator. Over 90 per cent of the teams engaged were pre-starts, start-ups and early stage SMEs.

George Eckton, director of advice services at Citizens Advice Scotland, said: “Local advice delivered by local people is what makes the Citizens Advice network so special. Last year we had tremendous success working with SIDE Labs to develop a solution that allowed us to connect people who need help to their local Citizens Advice Bureau through a single entry point, allowing people to access the services they need in their specific area faster than ever before, enabling technology to augment our face to face services.

“Taking part in the programme has allowed us to develop a unique, world-class technology suited precisely to our needs at the greatest value and benefit to Scotland. We look forward to continuing our relationship with CivTech as sponsor/co-sponsor of another two challenges this year, and relish the opportunity of working with new teams of innovators.”

Andy Bell, co-founder at SIDE Labs continued: “Working with CivTech has been a genuine game-changer for us. When we saw Citizen’s Advice Scotland’s Challenge to create a more inclusive and efficient helpline, we knew we could help. CivTech’s guidance and financial support allowed us to properly explore the problem and build an intelligent, tailored solution. 

“CivTech have worked hard to craft a good experience for participating firms that we will be able to continue to draw from in the future. They are genuinely passionate about making Scotland a better place for all. I would encourage anyone considering joining the Accelerator to go for it.” 

Any organisation or individual wishing to learn more about the CivTech programme can find out more information at https://www.civtech.scot/ 

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