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Tech firms lead innovation move

CivTech 2 gives boost to public sector services

Derek Mackay (photo by Terry Murden)

A new accelerator programme will help bring SME-led technology solutions to a range of public sector services from road repairs to flood forecasting.

Following a successful pilot, CivTech  aims to match innovators – typically SMEs – with public sector organisations.

The government programme aims to bring innovation to public services, empower the public sector to think differently, and provide economic development opportunities for digital companies.

Last year’s pilot saw nine firms deliver a range of products in partnership with the likes of SEPA, the  NHS and Transport Scotland.

This led to a new flood forecasting system, smart road monitoring software which promises “to detect potholes before they happen”, and a new fundraising service for homeless people enabling them to raise and access emergency funding.

CivTech 2.0 as its being called poses a new set of challenges and invites companies and individuals to propose a solution. These are:

  • Cairngorms National Parks Authority / Scottish Natural Heritage: Combat bird of prey persecution
  • Historic Environment Scotland: Track visitors to Scotland’s historic attraction
  • NHS National Services Scotland / Scottish Government: Improve access to Scotland’s statistical information
  • NHS Scotland: Create a smarter booking system for outpatient appointments
  • Scottish Government: How might we use data to provide better access to public services through
  • Scottish Enterprise: How can we better mobilise our networks to build brand Scotland?
  • Stirling Council: Capture and use data to improve local services

Finance Secretary Derek Mackay said: “Scotland is highly regarded around the world for innovation. We have some of the brightest entrepreneurial minds based here on our own doorstep, so it makes perfect sense to tap into that talent to help the public sector work faster and smarter.

“If we want to be a world leader in tech we need to create conditions that allow companies to thrive, and that includes enabling new ways of working, such as streamlining the public sector procurement processes and working in a more agile, fast-paced way.”

Shortlisted companies and individuals will receive £3,000 to develop their initial proposal. The finalists will then receive an additional £17,000 for three months development work.

Post-accelerator funding (up to a further £80k) to support further development of the product will vary according to needs, and be assessed on the basis of the commercial potential of the idea. The costs are met jointly by the Scottish Government and the public sector bodies “sponsoring” the challenges.

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