BT and Cabinet Office launch prizes for smart city start-ups

BT and the Cabinet Office have unveiled development support and cash prizes for ideas supporting ‘smart cities’.

The BT Infinity Lab SME Awards 2016’s Connected Cities award, aimed at small businesses and start-ups, is looking for innovative digital products and services in sectors such as employment, education, social care and transport.

The competition, run in conjunction with TechHub and MK Smart (which promotes economic growth in the technology-focussed town of Milton Keynes), will be judged in three categories: Smart City, Connected Society and the Internet of Things. The winners will show how their ideas could make a difference to cities of the future.

Shortlisted businesses will be able to pitch ideas to a panel from BT, the Cabinet Office, Department of Health, Department for Transport, Milton Keynes Council and TechHub at BT Tower on 26 April.

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The total prize pot is £30,000. The judges will award each category winner £7,500. The overall winner will pick up an additional prize of a £7,500 plus six months’ membership at TechHub. In addition, the Smart City winner will work with Milton Keynes Council to turn their idea into reality, while the Connected Society and Internet of Things winners will each receive six months of support from BT to help them develop their ideas.

Cabinet Office Matt Hancock said there needed to be a “recasting” of the relationship between citizen and state, making public services simpler, clearer and faster, taking advantage of state-of-the-art digital technologies. 

“To get this right we need to draw on the expertise of digital innovators from all over the country, and especially small businesses, which we know to be some of the most innovative in the marketplace,” he said.

“We’ve made it easier than ever for small businesses to win government work, but we know that there is more to do to encourage growth in the sector.”
Ian Dalton, president of Global Government and Health at BT Global Services, said the initiative aims to “foster innovation and give SMEs the help they need to turn their great ideas into reality”.

Entrants can submit their ideas at The closing date is 11 March. 

Colin Marrs

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