Start-ups and government join forces to find solutions

By Jonathan Nally
Friday, 02 August, 2019

Start-ups and government join forces to find solutions

A program that brings IT start-ups and government bodies together to solve public sector challenges has begun in Victoria.

Under the program, four start-ups have been paired with government challenges, with the aim of increasing their competencies as well as their connections with the public sector.

If successful, they’ll also have an opportunity to secure an investment of up to $185,000 to develop the solution they’ve come up with.

The CivVic Labs accelerator is funded by LaunchVic, with additional funding from the Public Sector Innovation Fund.

“As Australia’s first GovTech accelerator, CivVic Labs aims to apply innovative and agile start-up thinking to government problems and in turn contribute to scaling Victorian start-ups and creating more jobs,” said to Dr Kate Cornick, CEO of LaunchVic.

One of the start-ups taking part is WeGuide, which is developing a digital solution to capture and report patient data to improve healthcare delivery for Melbourne-based Western Health.

“CivVic Labs has been an amazing side door entry to the public hospital system and has provided invaluable exposure to the public health sector,” said WeGuide’s General Manager, Sandy Buchanan.

Buchanan said he has been surprised at the thirst for innovation within the public health system, and that CivVic Labs has “demystified the government process”.

“Usually the government procurement process means putting forward a solution that can be rolled out across the whole state — [but] this [CivVic Labs] process allows us to test a proof of concept and then explore how we could build it out across the system,” he added.

“This way of thinking is so different from how the public sector usually works, and it’s really exciting to be at the forefront of this revolution.”

Victoria’s Department of Transport is one of the government bodies that has set a CivVic Labs challenge — it is searching for a data-led solution that will help optimise public transport in the state.

The Department’s Director of User Insights & Analytics, Michelle Thomas, said CivVic Labs is a great way for government to “explore the talent in our start-up ecosystem and test inventive solutions without taking a huge initial risk”.

“The start-up we’re working with, Envision Systems, has impressed us with their commitment to the project, and I think both sides are learning a lot from one another,” she said.

“It’s great to see these start-ups being exposed to a new world of opportunities and us within the public sector being supported in the application of more progressive and agile start-up thinking.”

Pictured: LaunchVic's CEO, Kate Cornick.

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