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Insider UK
Peter A Walker

Seven companies chosen for latest CivTech accelerator

CivTech has announced its latest cohort of companies set to use technology to solve challenges facing public and third sector organisations in Scotland.

The latest cohort follows CivTech 7’s demo day earlier this month, where the Scottish Government confirmed £10m funding to the programme over the next year.

CivTech 8 has marked the first time CivTech has run two accelerators within one year, due to the rapid scaling of the programme. The seventh and eighth cohorts had £6m made available, which created more opportunities for third sector organisations to get involved.

The accelerator stage is a 15-week period of fast-track product development, with teams and challenge sponsors coming together to produce a minimum viable product, alongside workshops to support their product development.

Seven teams across six challenges have been chosen to build technology-based solutions to CivTech 8 challenges. Those solutions include using tech to address issues in supporting vulnerable people with energy problems, digitising systems in the Scottish Government, and using tech to support Scotland’s wildlife and nature.

Four Challenges within CivTech 8 are part of its first partnership with NatureScot called ‘Innovate for Nature.’ These seek solutions from tech entrepreneurs to address problems faced by public sector bodies in Scotland in protecting nature, with a particular focus on how tech can be used to develop evidence-bases and make it easier to monitor and manage protected sites.

Trade and Business Minister Ivan McKee said: “CivTech 8 has shown just how quickly the Scottish Government’s accelerator programme has grown, and the ambition to create widespread and long term positive change in Scotland and around the world.

“The programme also demonstrates how timely this accelerator is, with solutions needed in helping the most vulnerable people in society through the energy crisis, digitising and modernising Scottish Government systems, and creating systems to support our marine and land ecosystems.”

The challenges and selected companies are:

  • Challenge 8.1: How can technology help to quickly identify and prioritise support for people in the most vulnerable situations, starting with those having energy problems?

Sponsored by The Extra Help Unit of Citizens Advice Scotland

Challenge winner: HelpFirst, a SIDE Labs spin-out, will develop an artificial intelligence-driven customer prioritisation system to help identify the consumer most at risk of harm, allowing targeted support to help those in need and the caseworkers who support them.

  • Challenge 8.2: How can technology help drive effective resource management for a multi-skilled workforce in a constantly changing environment?

Sponsored by the rural payments and inspections division of the Agriculture and Rural Economy Directorate, Scottish Government

Challenge Winner: ITER IDEA will develop a platform enhanced with AI-powered optimisation capabilities to give a systematic overview of resources’ skills, projects, availability and location.

  • Challenge 8.3: How can technology help to create a nature network by 2030 across all of the different areas of Scotland?

Sponsored by NatureScot and Scottish Wildlife Trust

Challenge Winner: AECOM will create a platform which will support habitat protection, creation and investment decisions, while facilitating community and landowner-led nature network projects.

  • Challenge 8.4: How can technology help us better assess and identify projects and opportunities that will improve and increase investment in Scotland’s marine natural capital?

Sponsored by Marine Scotland

Challenge Winner: Two businesses will solve this challenge with different solutions. Tritonia Scientific uses geo-referenced photogrammetry, an emerging technology that enables marine environments to be reliably quantified and monitored, while AECOM will develop tools to enable project design and collaboration in marine natural capital.

  • Challenge 8.5: How can technology help NatureScot flexibly manage its understanding of the state of protected areas by making best use of available evidence?

Sponsored by NatureScot

Challenge Winner: Informed Solutions will develop an environmental asset management platform, using spatiotemporal intelligence and AI to provide domain-specific insights regarding ecosystem health.

  • Challenge 8.6: How can biodiversity credits be designed in a way that provides simplicity for projects and buyers, and enables investment in Scotland’s nature?

Sponsored by NatureScot, Scottish Wildlife Trust and Scottish Government Environment and Forestry Directorate

Challenge Winner: CreditNature will develop a solution to make nature recovery investable by measuring changes in ecosystem integrity for assessing nature positive impacts and biodiversity related risk.

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