A new £6m funding round was announced today to support startups vying to transform government services.

The Scottish Government launched the investment into its flagship innovation accelerator ‘CivTech’ at the Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh, hosted live and virtually.

The cash injection was timed to coincide with CivTech’s Demo Day 6 event, which showcases new tech solutions for a range of public sector challenges.

The funding will significantly increase the number of challenges, ensuring a wide range of problems can be solved in collaboration with increasing numbers of public and third sector organisations such as local councils and national charities.

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. 

The CivTech programme claims to be the first of its type in the world and has set 60 challenges for tech entrepreneurs and companies since inception in 2015.

During that time 178 teams have taken part in its ‘exploration stages’, with 67 teams going through to the ‘accelerator stage’.

At Tuesday’s event, 12 tech entrepreneurs and companies presented their tech-based solutions which they have been working on throughout the accelerator.

They included technology pitches to tackle climate change, support social care services and improve educational facilities.

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 peatlands, and Digiflec, which has developed sensing technology to better manage road infrastructure in rural communities.

Demo Day gives the tech firms a chance to engage with key public sector industry partners and explore potential for future contracts. 

Business minister Ivan 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. 

The event was sponsored by by Amazon Web Services, Harvey Nash and Sopra Steria.