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The Scottish Techscaler programme has partnered with Scotland’s public sector innovation accelerator CivTech.
The partnership between the two means alumni companies, which have previously taken part in one of CivTech’s challenges, will automatically be given Techscaler membership and access to a number of facilities and services.
This includes access to its network of “tech scaler” incubators, or tech hubs, across the nation. The tech hubs aim to provide “long-term affordable, high-quality incubation spaces” and education in a range of areas, including Silicon Valley business models, internet-economy working practices, how to manage people and teams and basic operating hygiene.
They also offer tailored mentorship and aim to give entrepreneurs and startup staff the skills to fast-track growth and innovation across Scotland.
There are currently seven tech hubs across Scotland, including in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Stirling, Aberdeen, Dumfries and Inverness.
Scottish government’s chief entrepreneur, Mark Logan, said the partnership between CivTech and the Techscaler programme “is an important element in our strategy to create a world-class startup ecosystem here in Scotland”.
“Connecting the services offered across all of our key startup ecosystem enabling assets results in a powerful support network for startups that is greater than the sum of its parts. This accelerates both our rate of startup creation and the subsequent success rate of these businesses,” he said.
Scotland’s CivTech programme was launched in 2016 to “inject innovation” into the Scottish public sector’s use of technology.
It recently launched its ninth challenge round in April 2023, which revolves around how technology can assist in achieving the broad priorities of the Scottish government, in a diverse range of areas from the environment and net-zero targets to healthcare and building sustainable public services.
Examples of challenges include using tech to maintain the health of trees and wild plants, to help women access menopause support, to improve ecological restoration efforts, to create efficient and secure supply chains for public procurement, and to protect against ransomware and other forms of cyber crime.
Scotland’s minister for small business, trade and innovation, Richard Lochhead, said the alliance between the Techscaler programme and the CivTech programme “can help inspire a new generation of entrepreneurs and create a cutting edge network for startups”.
“This is another example of Scotland’s tech ecosystem being strengthened by partnership. It is exactly the kind of creative thinking we want to encourage through our National Innovation Strategy, which sets out our vision to become one of the most innovative small nations in the world over the next decade,” he said.
The Techscaler programme also recently partnered with the NHS, giving startups taking part in the programme the ability to trial their products and offered access to NHS regional test beds.
There are currently three NHS test beds across Scotland, funded by the Scottish government’s chief scientists office, including the West of Scotland Innovation Hub, which was founded in 2019. In 2021, the hub had 57 ongoing projects, from devices and sensors to machine learning and aided diagnostics.
The link-up between the test beds and the Techscaler programme means entrepreneurs will be given access to patients and anonymised data to test their ideas products and services.
As part of the deal, firms already working in NHS test beds will automatically become part of the tech scaler network.
In 2020, the then Scottish finance secretary Kate Forbes announced a short-term review of the country’s tech sector in May 2020.
The review, which was led by former Skyscanner chief operating officer (COO) Mark Logan, was published in August 2020. It called for government to build out “a world-class backbone implementation of core capability”, as well as setting up a network of tech scaler incubators, which led to the actual creation of the programme.
In 2022, technology incubator CodeBase won the contract to run the Techscaler programme.
Read more about tech startups and Scotland:
- The Scottish government’s CivTech accelerator is seeking technology businesses to help develop new tools to improve public services, as well as to address pressing social and environmental issues.
- Following a review of the tech sector, the Scottish government is creating five technology hubs to support startups in the country, aiming to support 300 startups by 2025.
- Startups taking part in the Scottish tech scaler programme will be able to trial their products within the NHS as part of a new agreement.