The program - for government

Government and startups operate very differently. Complexities in current government procurement processes make it difficult for startups to apply their approaches to help government develop solutions for public sector challenges. As a result, departments and agencies miss out on cutting-edge innovative solutions that may deliver better outcomes for the public.

Victorian Government departments and agencies signing up to the CivVic Labs program will be asked to define a public sector challenge that would benefit from innovative thinking and new technology. Working in a collaborative environment, government Challenge Owners will work with startups to co-design solutions to their identified challenges.

What are the benefits of working with startups through CivVic Labs?

Smarter technological solutions: An opportunity to collaborate with startups to create innovative, technology-enabled solutions to address public sector needs.

A de-risked environment: The program manages the risk on behalf of government by enabling experimentation and exploration with startups through a staged process.

More procurement freedom: Procurement becomes less transactional and more transformative, centred around solving a public sector challenge.

Public sector savings: The end solution could provide better value for money than more traditional procurement pathways.

Improved internal capability: The program will build knowledge and skills around challenge articulation, market engagement, commercialisation and new technology.

Program timeline

The entire process is expected to take from six to eight months, from defining a challenge to co-developing a Minimum Viable Product. Challenge Owners are expected to assign a project manager to manage the project for at least one day a week (0.2 FTE) during the four months that covers the Pre-accelerator and Accelerator phases. This time includes attending workshops, pitch nights, meetings and site visits, as well as, co-development of the solution with the startup.

CivVic Labs aims to deliver three accelerator programs to September 2020. This will provide the opportunity to address up to 16 public sector challenges.

Contracting

Agreements will govern the interactions between LaunchVic, the Challenge Owner and the startup during the Pre-accelerator and Accelerator. There will be a separate agreement for the Implementation stage, likely utilising the Victorian Government eServices Contract, subject to the delivery of an acceptable Minimum Viable Product. Contract deliverables will be updated at this stage to take into account discoveries from the Pre-accelerator and Accelerator.

How do I submit a challenge?

Are you a Victorian Government department or agency with a challenge that would benefit from innovative thinking and new technology?

The CivVic Labs team will help you to define and explore your challenge to determine if it’s suitable for startups and what the CivVic Labs program offers.

You will also need to provide both time and a funding commitment of up to $165,000 to participate. For more information see the FAQs.

Interested in submitting a challenge?

The second round of challenges will be published in September 2019.

Get in touch with us ASAP if you’re interested in putting forward a challenge. There are only a few spaces left to participate in this round.

FAQ's

  • Who can submit a challenge?

    Any Victorian Government department or agency can submit a challenge.

  • Why would my department or agency be interested?

    This is an opportunity to collaborate with startups to create innovative, technology-enabled solutions to address public sector needs. The end solution could provide better value for money than traditional procurement pathways.

  • What sort of challenges are you looking for?

    We are looking for challenges that would benefit from innovative thinking and new technologies.

    The CivVic Labs team will help you to define and explore your challenge to determine if it’s suitable for startups and what the CivVic Labs program offers.

    For example, the first round of the accelerator program included challenges focusing on improving patient outcomes within Victorian hospitals and understanding public transport patronage.

  • What support will we receive during the program?

    Challenge Owners will be supported by the CivVic Labs team throughout their journey. We’ll provide technical advice and guidance at key decision points during the program, as well as, physical space for co-design and access to a world class accelerator curriculum for your challenge to be addressed.

    CivVic will provide funding of $30,000 to the startup during the 12 week Accelerator, as well as, mentoring and other in-kind support.

  • How much time will we be required to spend?

    The entire process is expected to take from six to eight months, from defining a challenge to co-developing a Minimum Viable Product. Challenge Owners are expected to assign a project manager to manage the project for at least one day a week (0.2 FTE) during the four months that covers the Pre-accelerator and Accelerator. This time includes attending workshops, pitch nights, meetings and site visits, as well as, co-development of the solution with the startup.

  • How much does it cost?

    To participate in the Program, the Challenge Owner will need to contribute up to $165,000 (ex GST) per challenge. This includes $15,000 for the Pre-accelerator phase (3 x $5,000 for each of the three startups chosen) and up to $150,000 for the Implementation phase at the conclusion of the Program, to implement the solution. CivVic Labs will provide funding of $30,000 to the chosen startup during the Accelerator.

  • What happens if something goes wrong?

    CivVic Labs is designed as a staged process. If there are no viable solutions at the end of each stage, the Challenge Owner has the option to withdraw and the process ends there, the final contract is not awarded.

    The CivVic Labs team or the Challenge Owner may cancel the Project at any time, by providing thirty (30) days’ notice, for any reason.

    Partial funds, less funds spent on the start-ups, will be returned to the Challenge Owners depending on which Stage the Project is terminated.

    The program is covered by legal agreements that require adherence to standard terms on privacy, indemnity, publicity, etc.

  • What are the arrangements around Intellectual Property?

    Any intellectual property (IP) developed throughout the program (foreground IP) will be owned by the startup. Both parties own the background IP that they bring to the program.

    Government will be granted a perpetual, non-exclusive licence to the IP created during the Accelerator phase. Both parties can discuss IP arrangements prior to entering the Implementation contract at the end of the Program.

  • Can we involve other partners in the challenge?

    Partners can collaborate on the challenge, but there must be a Challenge Owner that can commit the right level of commitment to the program (time and up to $165,000 in funds).

  • What is a minimum viable product (MVP)?

    A minimum viable product (MVP) is a product with just enough features to satisfy early customers, and to provide feedback for future product development.

  • Who manages this program?

    CivVic Labs is an initiative of LaunchVic and DPC’s Public Sector Innovation Fund. The program is managed by the CivVic Labs team, which comprises of LaunchVic and DPC personnel, operating out of LaunchVic’s premises at the Victorian Innovation Hub in the Docklands.

  • Who are LaunchVic?

    LaunchVic is Victoria's startup agency. It was established by the Victorian Government in March 2016 as an independent agency responsible for developing Victoria's startup ecosystem. LaunchVic’s role is to grow Victoria's startup ecosystem by investing in organisations and projects that support startups to scale innovative companies, & deliver benefits to the Victorian economy.

  • What is a startup?

    A startup is a ‘business with high impact potential that uses innovation and/or addresses scalable markets’. They are businesses in the early stages of formation, developing an idea into a functioning business that meets market needs and is able to grow.

    A startup differs to a small business largely in its focus on growth, innovation and in its behaviours. It is sometimes difficult to differentiate between a startup and a small business.

  • Isn’t working with startups risky?

    The program manages the risk on behalf of government by enabling experimentation and exploration with startups through a staged process.

  • Why are you only focussing on startups?

    The Victorian Government already has experience working with large, medium and small businesses, academic and research organisations through a number of programs and initiatives. CivVic Labs focuses on startups as they differ from small business because they are highly scalable, disruptive and use innovation. Not only can they bring new thinking and innovative solutions to public sector challenges, but as they expand, they create jobs and wealth, making them an important part of the mix in Victoria’s economy.

  • What is an Accelerator?

    An Accelerator is a program that usually provides participants with access to mentoring, office space, and cohort events. Startups enter a program for a designated period of time, and ‘graduate’ from the program having followed a set methodology to develop their startups. Positions are usually determined through a competitive process.

  • How is CivVic Labs different from a typical Accelerator?

    CivVic Labs offers startups and government a new way of working together. The program aims to strengthen their understanding of each other and their ability to successfully develop smarter solutions. The curriculum is designed for the most ideal flow for startups and government partners to work through, in order to develop a robust product (that can be adopted and implemented on the Government side) whilst contributing to the startup’s business growth, furthering the product to serve a larger market beyond this particular case.

  • Who else is doing this? How do you know it works?

    Challenge based programs are a popular tool for governments around the globe. Traditionally these have been grant based programs like STIR in the USA, with newer programs like CivTech in Scotland or TWiG in Queensland introducing accelerator components. There is a strong body of evidence that suggests working to a specific problem can have better outcomes for both industry and government partners.

Current challenges

open in progress completed
How can we increase cyber security awareness to reduce risk to Victorians?
Department of Premier and Cabinet (Enterprise Solutions)
How can we make the Victorian transport system more responsive to user safety and wellbeing?
Department of Transport
How can emerging technology keep Victorians safe at work?
WorkSafe Victoria
How might we incorporate the health outcomes that matter to patients into clinical practice?
Western Health
How might we reduce hospital acquired complications?
St. Vincent's Health Australia
How might we better understand how Victorians use public transport?
Department of Transport

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