The next generation of tech firms developing digital solutions to public sector challenges have been unveiled by CivTech – the Scottish Government’s flagship innovation accelerator scheme.

Twelve teams have proposed innovative solutions to challenges faced by communities in Scotland, such as how to tackle climate change, improve social care services and boost educational facilities.

The innovators will join CivTech’s “world-beating” programme and aim to solve a wide range of challenges set by public sector bodies ranging from local councils, national charities and government.

This follows the recent announcement in the programme for government for investment of £13.5 million to scale Edinburgh-based CivTech over the lifetime of this parliament, with a further investment of £44m to fund the delivery of innovative products and services across the public sector.

The funding will help the CivTech programme expand, creating opportunities for businesses and new high-value jobs, while helping the public sector tackle strategic challenges such as the climate crisis.

Sponsored by Harvey Nash and Sopra Steria, CivTech will provide the winning teams with an intense programme of workshops and support as they develop their products over a 15-week period.

Towards the end of the process, the teams and challenge sponsors will have the opportunity to extend their relationship to develop and rollout their solution more widely, with up to £250,000 funding available for each challenge.

Further guidance and support has also been provided by CivTech’s partners, South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE), Interface, the Scottish Business Network and Censis.

This year’s programme saw over 130 applications, an increase from last year. Successful companies include iSumio, which has developed a way to measure indirect company emissions that will help decarbonise Scottish manufacturing, Matter Of Focus, which has created an app that allows care practitioners to speak directly with individuals about the services best aligned to their personal care needs, and Buro Happold, which has produced a data-driven platform that will improve learning environments across Scotland.

Ivan McKee, minister for business, trade, tourism and enterprise, said: “As we recover from the coronavirus pandemic it is vital government and industry innovate together to build a stronger, fairer and more sustainable economy. Our investment in the CivTech Accelerator programme is already delivering on our ambition for new digital solutions to challenges faced by our community.

“As we approach Cop26 in Glasgow in a matter of weeks, it is great to see CivTech using innovation to tackle the climate emergency and ecological decline, with one particular challenge sponsored by the Scottish Government aiming to help manufacturers decarbonise.

“We are committed to ending Scotland’s contribution to climate change and, critically, ensuring we do that in a way that is just and fair for everyone.”

The CivTech Accelerator will culminate in a ‘Demo Day’ on 8 February 2022, where the selected teams will demonstrate their solutions to an audience of key stakeholders seeking answers to similar problems.

CivTech claims to be the world’s first government-run accelerator for digital public services. It was launched in 2016 to inject innovation into how the public sector uses technology to improve the lives of Scotland’s citizens. 

During its first five years, CivTech has set 48 challenges for tech entrepreneurs and companies, with 142 teams taking part in its exploration stages, and 55 teams going through to the accelerator stage.