Government announces £8m tech boost for UK high streets

Technology Strategy Board funding competition will reward tech start-ups solving British retail challenges

Science and universities minister David Willets today announced the launch of a new £8m initiative, designed to reward tech start-ups who come up with solutions to problems facing British high streets.

Run by government-sponsored innovation agency the Technology Strategy Board, the £8m scheme will allow businesses to compete for funding awards in order to trial innovative ways of addressing the challenges facing UK high streets, such as the challenge posed by e-commerce to retail stores or travel and parking issues.

Phase 1 of the competition, entitled ‘Re-imagining the high street’, will open for entries on 13 January, and is set to award successful businesses with a 100% funded development contract of up to £100,000, as part of an initial £2m available.

Phase 2 of the competition will see businesses which were successful in Phase 1 compete for the remaining £6m available to further develop their projects.

The Technology Strategy board said that successful projects should demonstrate real commercial potential and a feasible route to market.

The deadline for registration is noon on 26 February 2014, and the deadline for Phase 1 applications is noon of 5 March 2014.

David Willets, minister of state of universities and science, said: “Technology plays a vital role in people’s everyday lives and has the ability to influence our movements and shopping habits. By developing innovations to regenerate the retail sector we will be able to breathe new life into the UK’s high streets.

“This competition will encourage exciting new developments that could change the way business is done across our high streets. Giving shoppers and businesses real time information that they can use to their advantage will make a real difference in helping to boost the UK economy.”

Technology Strategy Board chief executive Iain Gray said: “There is real appetite among business and consumers to come up with new ways to regenerate our high streets.

“This competition is aimed at encouraging businesses of all sizes to come up with innovations that address key challenges, such as ways we can combine both physical and virtual shopping or develop real-time parking information.”

A webinar briefing containing further information will be held on the competition page on 20th January 2014.


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