Twelve companies line up to become next CivTech innovators

Twelve companies have joined the national innovation accelerator challenge programme and will showcase their solutions in industries including healthcare, transport and forestry at a ‘Demo Week’ in February next year.

The software and tech businesses are the latest to join the Scottish Government’s pioneering ‘CivTech’ programme, which seeks to connect government to innovative entrepreneurs in order to solve public sector challenges.

The companies were announced at a 100-person accelerator launch event, and will go on to demonstrate their solutions during Demo Week, a virtual showcase between 2-4 February 2021.

Ben Macpherson, Minister for Public Finance and Migration, who attended the online launch, said: “I’m very impressed by the new innovative way in which CivTech is approaching procurement, and pairing public service teams with Scotland’s digital entrepreneurial talent.

“In previous years the programme has provided ways of exploring responses to the most difficult issues we face as a nation, including how we respond to the climate crisis and build a wellbeing economy, and this year’s winners show that CivTech will continue to make significant contributions towards addressing these shared challenges.

“The winners this year have posed a number of ground-breaking solutions and I look forward to hearing more about the proposals that the teams come up with at the Demo Week.”

Mark Elliott, Programme Director at CivTech, said: “The quality of solutions put forward as part of this year’s programme together with the record numbers of applicants has been extremely rewarding to see and we are excited to see how the solutions develop.

“We’re proud of our growing international reputation as the pre-eminent public sector focused tech incubation system in the world and that is due in no small part to the quality of solutions put forward by our entrants. We want to create great businesses and jobs that will drive prosperity for the nation. We also want to ensure that we deliver on the Scottish Government’s mission to make every aspect of life better.”

There are ten challenges in all, which will span a broad range of sectors including healthcare, forestry, transport and learning. Key challenges consider ways in which technology can assist farmers to improve the environment under their stewardship such as a farm payments system based on the quality of the environmental results delivered. Others include how we can help shape the future of online learning in the wake of COVID-19, how Scotland can use technology to create a smart and sustainable travel network in remote and rural areas and how innovation can help NHS Scotland to reduce virus transmission in care settings.

Each challenge is connected to a public sector sponsor who will benefit from the solutions generated. This year’s sponsors include Transport Scotland, NHS Scotland, Nature Scot, HITRANS, Connecting Scotland and Forestry and Land Scotland.

This year’s Accelerator programme saw a record number of 132 ambitious applicants come forward, making it the most competitive year to date during a time in which the public sector faces a series of unique challenges as a result of the effects of Covid-19.

Over a 12-week period, CivTech will work with the chosen teams and Challenge Sponsors in a series of workshops that will focus on collaborative working and knowledge sharing designed to stimulate innovation. Each team completing the Accelerator will receive an initial contract of £25,000 to take on their Challenge. New for this year is the support offered by Amazon Web Services (AWS) as the Accelerator’s first commercial sponsor.

The CivTech Accelerator will culminate in a ‘Demo Week’ 2-4 February 2021, also supported by AWS as headline sponsor, where the selected teams will demonstrate their solutions to an audience of key stakeholders seeking answers to similar problems.

The 12 companies are:

  •   Carbomap – a team of forest mapping specialists, with an international reputation in active remote sensing methodologies such as LiDAR and Radar.
  • Vivid Economics with Arbonaut – Vivid Economics is a strategic economics consultancy spanning public policy and support for commercial decision making with a broad, international focus. Arbonaut are world leaders in developing information gathering and GIS solutions for forest inventory and natural resource management and supporting all kinds of activities, from satellite data collection to computer data analysis.
  •  Sentinel Unmanned – a developer and service provider of unmanned aerial systems and is the pioneer of the ground-breaking LONGREACH long endurance unmanned helicopter.
  • EOLAS Insight – a young company providing analytics and information to support livestock and wildlife management.
  • Iceni Earth – exists to empower farmers with digital technology to respond to the climate and biodiversity emergency.
  • This is Milk – a digital strategy & consultancy specialising in service design, business change, transformation for growth & precise digital delivery.
  • SkillSeeder – seeks to create new opportunities for people to learn and share skills across Scotland by connecting learners to their perfect skill sharers through a personally tailored search, then helping them arrange in-person or online courses.
  • Rujuvi – a new Scottish company that is centred around providing information, resources, and access to support to Connecting Scotland’s users through a pre-installed app.
  • The Routing Company – an on-demand vehicle routing and management platform that partners with cities to power the future of public transit.
  • Wallscope – aims to empower organisations to navigate and link ever-increasing volumes of information, and present this in an understandable and engaging way by using semantic web techniques and linked data principles to improve the search and discovery of information.
  • Yoti with GeneMe– combines a rapid Covid-19 test with a digital ID and credential management platform that allows organisations to verify identities and trusted credentials online and in person.
  • Nectis Ltd – use data to dynamically overcome barriers to collaboration, such as silos, failed project delivery, the loss of valued staff members and more.

Full list of challenges:

  • How can tech help to optimise the management of timber and forests?
  • How can we use technology to estimate herbivore populations and their impacts across Scotland in a greener and more cost-effective way?
  • How can digital help farmers improve the environment under their stewardship, and track that improvement?
  • How can digital help invent the future of immersive learning?
  • How can technology help develop a skills sharing system that encourages people to engage, and those with expertise to share their skills, in rural and remote locations?
  • How can tech help develop our evidence base, and build trust with our users?
  • How can we use technology to create a smart and sustainable travel network in remote and rural areas?
  • How can IoT and tech make our homes safer to live and work in?
  • How can innovation help NHS Scotland support employers to ensure the health of their people?
  • How can tech help foster the development of informal networks when people are working at home or in Work Local hubs?

Full list of challenge sponsors:

  • Eildon Housing Association
  • LANTRA Scotland
  • Scottish Government Digital Academy
  • Transport Scotland
  • NHS NSS Scotland
  • Nature Scot
  • HITRANS
  • Scottish Government Connecting Scotland
  • Forestry and Land Scotland
  • Scottish Government
  • IoT Scotland
  • Scottish Government Health and Social Care