Backing boosted

Threefold funding hike for CivTech innovation scheme

Ivan McKee
Ivan McKee: unveiled extra funding (pic: Terry Murden)

A scheme that encourages tech companies to solve problems in the public sector has seen support from the Scottish government increase substantially on previous years.

The £6 million package announced at the opening of the CivTech event is three times larger than the funding provided last year and is seen as a vote of confidence in the first accelerator of its kind anywhere in the world.

SMEs are tasked with finding solutions to problems such as traffic congestion, waste disposal and flooding. The new funding will significantly increase the number of “challenges”.

At this year’s event, live streamed from the Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh, 12 teams showcased innovative technologies that will help to tackle climate change, support social care services and improve educational facilities.

Sponsored by Amazon Web Services, Harvey Nash and Sopra Steria, participating companies included Environment Systems, which, in partnership with Tweed Forum and Land Habitat, has created a technology that uses satellite data to help land managers restore our peatlands, and Digiflec, which has developed sensing technology to better manage road infrastructure in rural communities.

Ivan McKee, Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise opened the event by saying: “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.”

Since inception in 2015, CivTech has set 60 challenges for tech entrepreneurs and companies, with 178 teams taking part in its Exploration Stages, and 67 teams going through to the Accelerator Stage.

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