CivTech is a tech accelerator, launched in 2016 by the Scottish Government.
Its aims are simple: to create better public services for citizens whilst boosting Scotland’s economy by helping innovative companies launch new products with global potential.
A forestry based initiative was launched in July 2019 as part of the 4th year of CivTech challenges entitled 'How might we use technology to make better use of Scotland’s valuable supply of high quality tree seed?' This was the final Challenge set in 2019 with a submission deadline of August 21st.
The Challenge sponsors, Forestry and Land Scotland (previously known as Forestry Commission Scotland and Forest Enterprise Scotland) were looking for innovative new ways to improve tree seedling numbers and increase production efficiency at their Newton Nursery in north east Scotland.
Extremely hot, dry weather during the spring and early summer of 2017 and 2018 had caused poor seed germination in the Nursery which was causing a shortage of young trees for planting in Scotland, at a time when national tree planting targets were, and still are increasing.
Having had ideas about methods of accelerated tree seedling production since around 1990 it seemed an ideal moment for them to be presented to an eager audience.
A brief timeline of our involvement with the CivTech process.
10th August 2019
Chance discovery of the forestry Challenge
21st August 2019
Initial proposal submission by Cumbria Tree Growers.
2nd September 2019
Notification of acceptance to interview stage
11th September 2019
30 minute interview and pitch presentation to the CivTech team and Challenge sponsors at Codebase, Edinburgh.
12th September 2019
Acceptance to CivTech Exploration stage, which is an introduction to the CivTech process and to the workshop schedule, which takes place over 2 weeks at Codebase.
4th October 2019
Deadline for a resubmission of an improved version of original application.
9th October 2019
10 minute pitch of the second submission followed by a 20 minute Q & A by the CivTech team and the Challenge sponsors at Codebase in Edinburgh
16th October 2019
Notification of Acceptance to the CivTech Accelerator stage
5th November 2019
Start of the Accelerator stage which is an incredibly well supported 5 month programme of intense project development, business workshops and Checkgate meetings, all taking place at Codebase, Edinburgh
10th January 2020
Submission deadline for the Pre-commercial proposals for the field trials that will begin following the end of the CivTech Workshop programme after Demo Day on March 4th.
21st February 2020
Final agreement of size and scope of first TreeTape trial with Forestry and Land Scotland.
4th March 2020
First public presentation of TreeTape at the CivTech Demo Day hosted at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre to an invited audience of more than 500 delegates drawn from many areas of Government together with many people from the business world and also potential Investors.
Demo Day also marked the end of the Civtech workshop and business development programme, a process that has involved around 60 workshops, checkgate meetings, 1-2-1 sessions and around 4,300 miles of car, bus and train journeys.
27th April 2020
Contract for a 2nd production trial signed between Cumbria Tree Growers Ltd and Forestry and Land Scotland.
19th May 2020
Company incorporation and official start of trading for TreeTape UK Ltd which will now take over the development and commercialisation of the growing system.
Codebase, Castle Terrace, Edinburgh
-home to CivTech and many of Edinburgh's Tech start up companies
Doug Knox (Head of Technical Services Group at Forestry and Land Scotland ) and Josh Roberts (Innovation Manager at Forestry and Land Scotland) outline the industry need for the CivTech Challenge
Demo Day -March 4th 2020
TreeTape is publicly presented for the first time to an audience of over 500 people at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre