Time for SMEs in the West of England to seize the opportunities from the transition to net zero

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Calling SMEs across the West of England region – now is the time to plan for net zero with fully funded support from the Skills for Clean Growth programme.
 
The pace of change in the economy and legislative environment is accelerating as business leaders and politicians look to reach ambitious targets to reduce carbon intensity at a regional, national and international level. The West of England has gone beyond the commitments of central government with the ambition to reach net zero across the region by 2030.

At the same time, consumers, businesses and investors are growing in appetite for products and services that have a positive environmental impact and are driving decarbonisation.

By embracing low carbon practices, you will help position your business to prosper in this rapidly changing world.

Skills for Clean Growth will support you to grow your business in a sustainable way by upskilling your management team and employees to drive change and the adoption of low carbon practices.

Free expert support from the Skills for Clean Growth programme

The Skills for Clean Growth programme (part of the West of England’s Workforce for the Future Programme and being delivered by UWE Bristol and NatWest) is supporting SMEs to manage the risks and embrace the opportunities from the transition to net zero. Driven by the needs of businesses on the programme, training is focused on support that is immediately actionable.
 
SMEs are supported with analysing their skills needs & action planning before being given access to bespoke training, resources, and peer networks to help reach their targets.

Current workshops topics include Green Energy Procurement and Management, Measuring Carbon Emissions, and Behavioural Change, with new training and resources continually developed in response to the needs of businesses engaging with the programme.

Register now to start your clean growth journey .

“There is a climate emergency and everyone is going to have to do their bit to help build a greener future. As we change the way we make goods and retrofit our homes we will need a newly skilled workforce. That is of course also a significant opportunity to create high skilled, well paid, green jobs. I’m pleased to be able to offer this support so workers will get the skills they need to meet the demands of a greener economy.”
Dan Norris, Mayor, West of England Combined Authority

Launch event

Join us on Wednesday 25 May to find out about the programme and the opportunities available to businesses.

This event will bring together key stakeholders and SMEs on the programme, whilst providing an overview of the overall Workforce for the Future programme and the support available through Skills for Clean Growth. There will be several speaker slots from key partners, UWE Bristol academics and industry leaders with a green skills and low carbon focus.

This launch event is open to eligible SMEs on the Workforce for the Future programme. To be eligible for support, you must have a business presence in the West of England (Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset) and be a small or medium sized enterprise (SME). If you are eligible and new to the Workforce for the Future programme, please register your details here.

Develop your workforce in other areas through Workforce for the Future

Skills for Clean Growth is being delivered by UWE Bristol and NatWest as part of the West of England Combined Authorities Workforce for the Future programme, supporting SMEs with skills development across a range of future focused areas. Support is funded through the European Social Fund and is being delivered across a number of partners.

Find out about support available through Workforce for the Future.

Contact the team to find out more – cleangrowth@uwe.ac.uk or visit our website.

Free Digital Skills workshops for SMEs

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UWE Bristol are offering free & comprehensive Digital Marketing support for SMEs based in the West of England.  

The support is part of Workforce for the Future, a free service that will help SMEs to identify and address their skills needs, by upskilling and retraining employees, or supporting them to source and bring in new staff to drive their business forwards. 

What Support is Available? 

As part of our diverse offer, we will show you how to harness the power of digital with in-depth 1:1 support with expert advisors. We can help you with:

  • Introduction to Digital Marketing  
  • Digital Marketing Strategy Workshop   
  • Follow up & review sessions with consultants to develop your strategy  
  • SEO  
  • Social media, analytics and advertising    

Across the programme, your business and your employees will be able to access a bespoke combination of support via the below strands: 

  • Leadership & strategy 
  • People, Culture & Organisation 
  • Customer Insight & Interaction 
  • Process Operations & Data 
  • Technology & Security 

You will work with UWE Bristol to define an action plan of learning based on your specific needs. All courses are delivered as part of Workforce for the Future.  

How do I access the support?

To access the support and courses your organisation must be registered with Workforce for the Future Program.  Please contact us to register at: digitalworkforce@uwe.ac.uk  or register your interest via this form.


UWE Bristol is delivering Workforce for the Future on behalf of the West of England Combined Authority. If it is determined that your development needs do not fit with the digital enhancement opportunities available at UWE Bristol, you will be referred to the West of England Combined Authority Growth Hub, who will refer you to a more suitable partner. 

SMEs in the West of England start their net zero journey through the Skills for Clean Growth programme

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Skills for Clean Growth (SCG) is a free business support programme co-delivered by UWE Bristol and NatWest, as part of the Workforce for the Future (WftF) programme, helping to drive the West of England Combined Authority region’s ambitions for clean and inclusive growth.

The programme is supporting SMEs to manage the risks and embrace the opportunities from the transition to net zero, drawing on the expertise of UWE Bristol academics and professional services staff, industry leaders and subject matter experts.

SMEs are supported across three areas:

  1. Green Skills Needs Analysis & Action Plan – An initial diagnostic to analyse skills needed and development of an action plan to drive clean growth
  2. Training and Workshops – developing practical skills & knowledge across businesses that is directly actionable
  3. Skills Ecosystem and Network – Practical, industry targeted case studies and resources, peer learning and connections to likeminded businesses (in person and online).

Matt Hatcher, Director of Commercial Banking, West of England at NatWest, said:

“Our ambition is to play a leading role in the UK’s transition to a net zero economy. We know from our Springboard to Sustainable Recovery report that SMEs could create up to 130,000 new jobs, produce around 30,000 new businesses and result in an estimated £160 billion opportunity for the UK economy.

We want to support them on every step of the journey that takes them from awareness and understanding, to ability to act, and finally to achieving positive climate and financial impact.

This is why we are delighted to partner with UWE Bristol on their Skills for Clean Growth programmes, helping SMEs and their workforce develop the skills required to transition to net zero and embrace the opportunities arising from a greener economy.”

West of England’s Metro Mayor, Dan Norris, who is also supporting the programme, said: 

“There is a climate emergency and everyone is going to have to do their bit to help build a greener future. As we change the way we make goods and retrofit our homes we will need a newly skilled workforce. That is of course also a significant opportunity to create high skilled, well paid, green jobs. I’m pleased to be able to offer this support so workers will get the skills they need to meet the demands of a greener economy.”

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for support, applicants must have a business presence in the West of England (Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset) and be a small or medium sized enterprise (SME) with less than 250 employees.

Registrations

The SCG programme is accepting registrations from SMEs. Register today to start your clean growth journey!

Please apply via the SCG website or select Apply now where you will be asked to fill out some details about your company and the support you are looking for on a registration form.

A member of the UWE Bristol team will then be in touch with you to arrange an initial discussion around the programme and any of your needs. If you have any further queries in the meantime, please contact us via cleangrowth@uwe.ac.uk  and one of the team will get back to you.

Workforce for the Future

Funded by the European Social Fund (ESF), UWE Bristol is delivering Workforce for the Future on behalf of the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) in collaboration with other partners.

Alongside the SCG programme, SMEs can access other support from expert partners. Please visit the West of England Combined Authority Growth Hub to find out more.

UWE Bristol announce upcoming Skills for Clean Growth programme for SMEs in the West of England

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UWE Bristol, in collaboration with NatWest and West of England Combined Authority (WECA), has announced its upcoming launch of the Skills for Clean Growth (SCG) programme in January 2022.

SCG is a free business support programme for SMEs in the West of England to help drive the region’s ambitions for clean and inclusive growth, as part of the Workforce for the Future programme.

The programme, funded by the European Social Fund (ESF), will provide the skills and workforce development needed for businesses to transition to a low carbon economy.

This includes access to a range of skills development, training and CPD – including the leadership skills needed to build a clean growth strategy; and the knowledge and tools to achieve sustainability.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for support, applicants must have a business presence in the West of England (Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset) and be a small or medium sized enterprise (SME) with less than 250 employees.

Registrations

The SCG programme is accepting registrations from SMEs now!

If you are interested in registering, please apply via the SCG website here where key information is outlined. Please select the ‘Apply now’ button where you will be asked to fill out some details about your company and the support you are looking for on a registration form.

A member of the UWE Bristol team will then be in touch with you to arrange an initial discussion around the programme and any of your needs. If you have any further queries in the meantime, please contact us via cleangrowth@uwe.ac.uk and one of the team will get back to you.

Workforce for the Future

UWE Bristol is delivering Workforce for the Future on behalf of the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) in collaboration with other partners.

Alongside the SCG programme, SMEs can access other support from expert partners. Please visit the West of England Combined Authority Growth Hub to find out more.

UWE Bristol’s contribution to climate action and sustainability

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As the UK host the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26), we look at how UWE Bristol are contributing to climate action and sustainability:

With 40,000 students and 3500 employees, we are well aware of our impacts in terms of sustainability and carbon reduction – and well aware of our responsibilities.

We recognised the Climate and Species Extinction Emergencies in 2020, with our board of governors formally signing up to this commitment. Our 2030 UWE Bristol strategy sets out a clear commitment to be carbon neutral by 2030 across key areas. The strategy sets out our commitments across:

  • Carbon neutrality
  • Reducing water and energy use, waste
  • Aim to eliminate single use plastic – signed up to UK Plastics Pact
  • Working towards Clean air and smoke free campuses
  • Looking for year on year reductions in non-sustainable travel
  • Embedding awareness of carbon reduction and sustainability across all of our programmes and prioritising research that addresses these issues

Below is a small snapshot of some of the support we offer businesses and processes we are putting in place to achieve our 2030 carbon neutral goals:

Skills for Clean Growth

Skills for Clean Growth, in partnership with NatWest, will help address the skills needed to deliver the West of England’s net zero ambitions and vision for clean and inclusive growth. It will support SMEs in the region adapt and change as they transition to a low carbon economy, providing the leadership skills needed to build a clean growth strategy; and the knowledge and tools to achieve sustainability.

UWE Bristol and NatWest have shared values around supporting SMEs to achieve net zero, in support of West of England’s ambition to be a driving force for clean and inclusive growth, committing to net zero carbon by 2030.

The scheme, funded by WECA (Workforce for the Future) will address these challenges:

  • Increased demand for green skills – Harnessing the opportunities for innovation and growth
  • Growth in low carbon economy – predicted 11% a year
  • Creation approx. one million jobs nationally
  • Adaption required by high carbon sectors (e.g. building and construction)
  • Mismatch between what is currently provided and what employers need

Innovation support for SMEs

UWE Bristol works in partnership with WECA to identify the growth and regeneration needs of the region, focusing our activity on strategically important sectors such as Clean Growth. 

UWE Bristol has designed, developed, and delivered targeted programmes to support the growth of the region’s strategic priority sectors. We have secured a series of multi-million pound EU funded projects to channel capital grants and business support to SMEs across the region in support of innovation and growth. These have secured £11m for the region, leveraged over £10m of private investment and the university has invested over £3m in these programmes.

Over the past 3 years, UWE Bristol has channelled more than 100 innovation grants – worth £7m and attracting £8m in private sector investment – to fast-growth businesses through our Innovation 4 Growth Programme and other targeted initiatives.  This has secured nearly 1,000 new jobs in the region. The success of this activity is communicated across the local innovation ecosystem and feeds into the design and delivery of our portfolio of future business support programmes including our new Digital Innovation Fund.

Case study:

  • Collecteco works in partnership with UWE Bristol to donate surplus furniture and equipment to good causes and has generated over £363,000 social value and avoided 67 tonnes of CO2 in 2021. They said: “UWE’s support has been invaluable and has ranged from facilitating Scale 4 Growth funding through to them partnering with us to donate surplus furniture and equipment from their estate”

University Enterprise Zone (UEZ)

The University Enterprise Zone(UEZ) based on UWE Bristol’s Frenchay Campus, provides high quality space for 80+ high tech start-up and scaling businesses, employing in excess of 300 people, with access to a robust and vibrant investment community. It is on target to generate 500 jobs, and more than £50m for the local economy. These businesses are supported through targeted innovation support and growth advice.  Focus/gateway is on digital, HealthTech, bioscience and low carbon SMEs.

Case Study:

  • Inheriting Earth (in Future Space) is a sustainable product design company set up by Adam Root, with the mission to stop the flow of new plastic entering our water, trapping plastics shed by clothes in washing machines. They successfully grew their business, attracted investment and recently outgrew Future Space and moved on into their own premises. Read more about Inheriting Earth.
  • Albotherm is another Future Space business and they are focusing on developing technology that provides a solution to address climate change. Albotherm was founded by a team of scientists turned entrepreneurs in 2020 with a vision to bring our planet one step closer to carbon neutral and ensure future food security with their passive cooling technology. They have developed coatings for glass that respond to light and heat and control thermal gain, which reduce the need for air con.

Student Accommodation

We are developing a 2,200 bed student accommodation complex on Frenchay campus, which will be built to Passivhaus standards, the biggest development in Europe built to this exacting energy efficiency standard. The accommodation will have Air-tight fabric combined with air-heat pumps and solar panels. The accommodation will have high air quality and, low running costs, and will also be affordable.

Our Students

We aim to embed understanding of sustainability and carbon literacy across all of our programmes not just the many which are more obviously of direct relevant to the built environment, like environmental management and engineering.  Professor Jim Longhurst, Assistant Vice Chancellor Environment and Sustainability, commented “They are probably ahead of us any anyway, but if we can embed this understanding in all our students they will be committed ambassadors for the next 40,50, 60 years. They are the future – but the future is coming faster than we might like”.

Find out more about Sustainability at UWE Bristol

University Enterprise Zone Spotlight: Future Space

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Future Space is one of four areas that make up UWE Bristol’s University Enterprise Zone. The below spotlight explains a bit about them:

Who we are

Future Space is an innovation centre, based on UWE Bristol‘s Frenchay campus, within the University Enterprise Zone. The centre offers a range of office space, laboratories, workshops, and coworking facilities designed specifically for high-tech, science-based entrepreneurs and innovators. Future Space is managed by Oxford Innovation, the UK’s largest operator of innovation centres, and manages a growing network of over 25 innovation centres in the UK.

A former head chef, a PhD in cancer genetics, and one of the region’s top 75 innovators; just some of the eclectic accolades of our Future Space Team. With a wealth of experience in business, and managing lab and workspace, we’re on hand to help entrepreneurs grow their businesses.

What we offer to business

There are many reasons why Future Space is a fantastic location for growing science and technology businesses: Purpose built laboratories; Customisable workshops; and a range of flexible offices and shared spaces. A distinct advantage is the positioning of the centre – on UWE Bristol campus and co-located with the Health Tech Hub and Bristol Robotics Laboratory.

We also have an onsite Innovation team to oversee all the business needs of our community and provide practical business support for our tech and life science residents. As well as running peer networks and 1:1 support, the team organises free expert advice for resident businesses, connects companies with the University, and designs and develops a varied support programme of workshops and Q&As.

An event held in the Hub Space of the University Enterprise Zone

How we work with UWE

Our Innovation team works closely with UWE Bristol to drive collaboration opportunities. If you are a small company in the early stages of development, it can be difficult to find the capacity to carry out all aspects of running the business as well as giving focus to building your product and services. The knowledge and expertise you have in-house is also likely to be limited. Universities can play a key role in helping SMEs grow, with access to skills training, student and graduate resource, academic expertise, and an abundance of practical advice.

Businesses based at Future Space have benefitted from more than 200 engagements with UWE Bristol, from the use of specialist equipment at the university, to funded business assist support through programmes such as the Health Technology Accelerator Programme and SABRE. This support has enabled companies to build new products and services, as well as giving access to valuable knowledge and technical expertise that is needed in the early stages of development.

You can read more in our recent article.

What’s new for 2021/2022

Student and graduate engagement with SMEs are a core focus in the centre, with residents offered fully funded UWE Bristol internships, as well as regular chances to pitch project briefs to degree and masters level students. This year we launched our new internship programme aimed at post-graduate students, as well as undergraduate students – more than 40 interns have been employed in the Future Space community over the years, and these internships bring in vital skills and talent to resident businesses. We will be developing this programme further in 2021/22.

This year, our team also got involved in UWE Bristol’s Digital Innovation Fund, delivering innovation training as part of the ‘Innovation & Bid-writing’ course, delivered to SMEs in the region. This was a great opportunity for SMEs and our Future Space community, and we are committed to working closely on future programmes.

Our strong affiliation with UWE Bristol brings a huge amount of opportunities for resident businesses, from student and graduate engagement, to innovation support, and funding opportunities. The impact of all of this work is seen in the great successes of our community, and you can read about some of these in our cases studies and blogs. We’re excited to see what’s next.

For further information about Future Space please contact info@futurespacebristol.co.uk

UWE Bristol and Future Space listed as top Innovators in region

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TechSPARK recently produced their list of top entrepreneurs, techies and innovators who they have named the Top Innovators in the region.

TechSPARK is a not-for-profit network dedicated to connecting, educating and strengthening the digi-tech cluster in the West. They work with tech and digital businesses from Startups to Scaleups, SME’s to Global Corporations based in the region to help them to grow.

In 2019 TechSPARK compiled a list of top innovators from across the region to celebrate and recognise their achievements. We were delighted that the 2021 list featured Aimee Skinner, Innovation Manager at Future Space and Mark Corderoy, Entrepreneur in Residence at UWE Bristol.

Aimee said:

“I am thrilled to have been named as one of the region’s top 75 innovators. The list is brimming with innovative thinkers, future leaders, and entrepreneurs, and I am proud to be considered amongst them.”

Aimee has background in Environmental Science and a decade of continuous improvement experience in regulated industries. She is currently Innovation Manager at Future Space, as well as co-managing Bristol Innovators’ Group. Future Space is part of the University Enterprise Zone, based on UWE Bristol Frenchay campus, and managed by Oxford Innovation. In her role she actively supports the growth of start-ups and SMEs within the South West, providing a range of business support and advisory services, as well as running University engagement opportunities, such as a dedicated Internship programme for resident businesses.

Mark said:

“It’s really pleasing that our work in the University Enterprise Zone is being recognised. Launching a start-up is an ambitious venture for anyone, and we are always trying to find new ways to help these companies succeed.”

With a background in engineering and technology in a variety of commercial settings, Mark is an experienced Technologist and Mentor. He has been at UWE Bristol for last four years as Incubation Manager for the Bristol Robotics Laboratory the leading and largest academic centre for multi-disciplinary robotics research in the UK and also Incubation Manager for Launch Space, a programme that provides business support and space to start-up businesses in UWE Bristol’s Enterprise Zone.

To contact Aimee email ASkinner@oxin.co.uk and to contact Mark email Mark.Corderoy@uwe.ac.uk .



Innovative SMEs gather to develop their digital innovation business ideas

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On the 7 and 8 July 2021, UWE Bristol hosted an in person innovation workshop for SMEs in the region. The workshop was funded as part of UWE Bristol’s Digital Innovation Fund, which was is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Innovation leads came together to deliver interactive creative workshops to SMEs. The sessions provided much needed time for small business owners to get away from their desks or kitchen table. For most this was the first time since early 2020 that they had been in a workshop or networking environment. The attendees worked on innovative ideas with like-minded people and got their mindset and innovative concepts ready for funding. The delivery team included Thanh Quan-Nicholls (Digital Innovation), Aimee Skinner (Future Space), Mark Corderoy (Launch Space), Lucy Paine (Innovation for Growth) and Alan Gould (Lightholm Consulting).

The workshops were held at at Future Space, part of the University Enterprise Zone.

Businesses learnt techniques for ideation, honed their pitching skills, learnt about investment and funding, and fine-tuned their bid-writing skills. Businesses also had to rapidly solve problems, pitched for chocolate and became bid reviewers. Future Space transformed their networking space into a spacious and safe area for businesses to gather and it was wonderful to see the space so lively!

Thanh Quan-Nicholls, Digital Innovation Lead UWE says:

“So much has changed over this last year and as the markets recover it is important for SMEs to dedicate time for innovation as this will be the key to their future competitiveness and growth.

It was great after so long to see businesses working together in person – at these events, businesses also learn from each other and this is the part that is hardest to recreate remotely. Businesses told us they find meeting other innovative businesses empowering and motivating. The warm and inspiring cohort reminded us of best of the region’s spirit of collaboration and diversity.”

The businesses sectors were very wide-ranging, including creative technologies, visitor economy, edtech, legaltech, not-for-profits, engineering, software and marketing. They included new start-ups right through to established businesses.

Businesses attending get to bid over the next few weeks for micro grants of up to £5000 to implement their ideas. This forms part of UWE’s commitment to providing a supportive and accessible business infrastructure.

Tracey John, Director of RBI says:

“Putting time into upskilling disruptive businesses and helping them access new opportunities is a key part of ensuring diversity and economic growth. We are creating a pipeline of innovative and ambitious businesses for the future.”

Find out more about the Digital Innovation Fund here.

Digital Skills support from UWE Bristol provides varied and in-depth development opportunities for SMEs

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UWE Bristol’s Digital Skills: Workforce for the Future project has grown significantly since its launch in April, and offers free support to SMEs looking to improve business productivity and sustainability through enhancing the digital skills and capabilities of their workforce.

All of the below support is available free of charge to SMEs in the West of England:

Digital Health Checks

Our expert advisors will work with you to discuss your strategic aims and ensure your digital capabilities support these. We will work with you to analyse your organisation across 5 key areas:

  • Leadership & Strategy
  • Process, Operations & Data
  • People, Culture & Organisation
  • Technology & Security
  • Customer Insight & Interaction

We will then work with you to create an action plan and identify suitable learning and development that will have the most significant impact to your operational requirements.

Digital Skills Training

Using the results of all of Digital Health checks across the project we will develop and deliver bespoke training courses that meet the needs of the workforce in the region.

All of the courses will fall into one of the 5 areas that the Digital Health Check assesses, and in each area, training will follow the below structure:

  • Introductory bitesize courses (individual skills and learning)
  • In depth workforce training for specific skill-sets, tools or technology: Both building on introductory courses and for those with a base understanding of the topic matter
  • Senior Management Training solutions for adaptive organisational culture
  • Access to accredited learning and qualifications if appropriate

To view the full list of courses and to register your interest, please visit our webpage here.

Digital Consultancy Projects

SMEs with a specific and more complex digital need will be able to request consultancy support to help you improve, develop and embed enhanced digital processes and workforce skillsets into your business.

With our extensive range of sector-specific knowledge and expertise, we will work with you to understand your challenge or opportunity, to find the best approach for your business by matching your needs to one of our ‘Digital Consultants’ drawn from our academic, student and external consultant networks.

To find out about application windows and how to apply, visit our Digital Consultancy page here.

Digital Mentors

Digital mentors are individuals who will work on a 1-2-1 basis with an employee or with a small group (max 3 employees) to support them in developing confidence in their fundamental digital skills. The employee will identify a task(s) they find challenging or want to improve their confidence in and the mentor will then work with them over a series of online sessions to develop their confidence and skills, and translate the knowledge gained from formal training into real life work situations.  

The software and technology our digital mentors can provide support in, will be mainly based around Microsoft Office, however we will look to support other products where possible.  

Cyber Hygiene Check

The Cyber Hygiene Check will review your current processes and systems to help you understand possible security risks and vulnerabilities and assess the resilience of your organisation.  

From this, we will work with you to look at how you can build you capabilities in this area across the organisation to become more resilient.  

To receive any of the support mentioned, you need to be registered with Digital Skills – Workforce for the Future. Register your details to receive a call back here. 


Notes 

UWE Bristol is delivering Workforce for the Future on behalf of the West of England Combined Authority.

Please visit the West of England Combined Authority to find out more about other partners delivering Workforce for the Future.

Access to Justice: Open Source LegalTech Hackathon 19, 24 and 31 March

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How do we use technology better to help those that need it most? 

The Challenge

Bringing the legal industry together with third sector, technologists and innovators, to rapidly design ideas on how we can purposefully use open source technology to ensure access to justice for all. We are calling for SMEs in the West of England to be part of an event that will rapidly prototype solutions for improved legal opportunities and legal service outreach. Together we will build a collaborative community that is focussed on solving problems for all.

Why Access to Justice?

The pandemic is widening the justice gap, with a sharp increase in the problems that many people face at a time when it is harder to get legal support. It has exacerbated many justice issues for those in vulnerable groups and low-income communities who are hardest hit by job or rental insecurity, homelessness and eviction, cybercrime and reduced access to criminal justice systems – now more than ever there are more people needing access to legal advice and help with understanding their rights.

What is a hackathon?

A hackathon is a competition, usually held over the course of a couple of days. It is a collaboration between small teams of business people and software developers to develop a product, service or platform that addresses a specific challenge. It is an opportunity for people with a common goal to come together to harness their ideas and build solutions for the future. We will bring together the growing legaltech community across the West of England area and take this diverse group through a creative design sprint process to rapidly develop and prototype ideas/demonstrators.

The event culminates in a pitching competition before a panel of judges, who score the pitches along the challenge criteria and select a winner. We will run workshops to help participants can learn more about the subject of the challenge and the capabilities of open source – in our case, justice, legal services, lawtech and using open source technologies to enable access to justice.

We are inviting registrations from SMEs across the region who deliver justice, advice, support, technology, business and innovation. Spaces are limited, so register now. Participation in the hackathon is by selection. Registration does not guarantee a place. We will notify the final participants separately by email.

SMEs: Register here

If you are not an SME or you are not based in the West of England but you wish to be part of the LegalTech hackathon delivery or to join the wider network, please contact Thanh Quan-Nicholls Thanh.quan-nicholls@uwe.ac.uk to discuss this further or register here.

How to take part and Key Dates

  • Sign up to the Open Source LegalTech Hackathon here.
  • You will need to commit to all three days plus a minimum of 4 hours working as a remote team on your legaltech solution during that week.
  • You will need a computer or laptop with a camera, internet access, ability to download meeting apps and file sharing software such as Zoom, MS Teams, Github, Slack etc and somewhere to work where you won’t disturb others.
  • Each team will have a mentor who will help organise, support prototyping and problem solve any issues.
  • Hackathon Days: 19 March, 24 March and 31 March, 9:30am – 1.30pm

View the full hackathon guidance here.

This event is delivered by the Digital Innovation Fund and funded by the ERDF for the benefit of SMEs in the West of England. We will be guiding SMEs and Social Enterprises through the enterprise innovation and ideation process, creative design sprints and agile working practices to support new product design, improve resource efficiency and R&D activities. Your attendance at this event will count towards to State Aid and by participating, you are agreeing to ERDF business support and accompanying documentation


European Regional Development Fund:

The project will receive funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.  The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund.

Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations.  For more information visit here.

West of England region: All organisations with a presence in Bristol, Bath, BANES and South Gloucestershire.

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