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Kick start your start-up with Geovation

July 22, 2015

I've recently come across an interesting program for those in the UK with an entrepreneurial spirit and innovative geo-spatial ideas.

£20,000 worth of funding, expert technical help and transformational business for innovative and outstanding start-up ideas that recognise the value of location

The Geovation Programme offers a unique opportunity for developers, innovators and entrepreneurs with bright ideas to be guided through an innovation process that focuses on developing the idea through product creation and commercial realisation, all the while being paid a wage of up to £20,000. The altruistic programme, which runs out of Ordnance Survey’s recently opened Geovation Hub, is believed to be the first of its kind in Great Britain.

Geovation Hub manager, Alex Wrottesley, has had his own successes (and failures) running start-ups, from launching Real Madrid’s brand in Asia to building an ambitious 3D city platform of London, says: “There are many people out there who have really good business ideas, but who have to give up their evenings and weekends to pursue them, because of the very real need to earn a wage. This means ideas progress at a slower rate or are lost altogether, which constitutes a disappointing loss to the economy.

“The Geovation Programme levels the playing field for those who cannot afford to take time off to pursue their ideas. It offers anyone with the right idea, commitment and passion to take the time needed to make their idea a commercial reality. Through it they can earn up to £20,000 in exchange for a minimum of 20 hours a week at the hub dedicated to working on their idea. If they need to top up their income they can take on extra work without it inconveniencing their goals. In addition to funding we provide a full curriculum of innovation modules to help our participants develop their ideas. Whether they need access to experts from Ordnance Survey and the wider geo-spatial industry, business mentors to help make their proposals bullet proof or senior developers who can help them build concept proving prototypes and Minimum Viable Products to attract investors and early-adopters alike, we will be there to support them. What makes this a special prospect for people is that we do not want or expect a penny back. We just want them to succeed. I don’t think there is anything else out there quite like it.”

In an as yet unpublished report on the UK geo-services industry, kMatrix estimates the direct value of the sector’s activities at £2.2bn, with its wider economic impact estimated at being around £25.9bn. There’s no doubt about it, spatial information is big business and the Geovation Hub is perfectly positioned at the centre of this. Geo-services is also a growing market, projected to advance at a rate that out-performs a range of industries that are more commonly associated with innovation – including software solutions, mobile communications and videogaming.

The report concludes: “With the increase in sensors and communicating devices (The Internet of Things) and increasingly integrated “SMART” cities, geo-services will continue to impact on all areas of urban life and increasingly on rural/remote living too.”

Wrottesley continues: “There’s a sense that we are just scratching the surface of what can be achieved with location data and intelligence, and that the digital era we are in suggests we are on the cusp of unlocking its full potential. If you think you have a great idea for a business we would love to hear from you.”

Examples of ideas that have been turned into commercial entities by the Geovation process

Run an Empire - (Sam Hill)
Run An Empire were winners of the ‘How can we encourage active lifestyles in Britain?’ Challenge. The Hoxton based, PAN Studio were awarded £26,000 to develop their idea. Run an Empire is an exercise strategy game on a smart phone app, which uses GPS with Ordnance Survey data to record paths players take and allow people to compete to capture and maintain control of as much territory as possible, using neighbourhoods as arenas for play. The more times people run or walk around their neighbourhood the more secure they can make it against ‘invasion’.

AR Carbon Ltd - (Richard Page) AR Carbon’s Carbon Prophet is a Government funded project that provides farmers and landowners with a new income stream from selling captured carbon to companies that want to off-set their own emissions.The company measures and maps the carbon content of soils in the UK to develop a carbon trading scheme that can unlock the value of this important asset. For more info visit -

OpenPlay - (Sam Parton)OpenPlay is a web and mobile platform designed to connect sports facilities to the public. It takes away the hassle of finding and booking sports facilities and activities with a focus on parks, open spaces and schools. Examples include tennis courts, football pitches, multi-use games areas and sports halls. It was born out of frustration whilst trying to source football pitches for an U15 team in South London. The owner of the company, Sam, found the experience to be a complete nightmare with endless fruitless phone calls and a lack of transparency over pricing and condition of facilities on offer.
Element Green Recycling - (Ayo Isinkaye) The Green Alchemist (from Element Green Recycling) is a recycling web app; it empowers businesses to sell their recyclable waste, and to make better recycling decisions.The concept of Element Green Recycling (The Green Alchemist) is simple enough. The company want to make recycling simpler, more accessible, and financial rewarding. We fail to realize the monetary value of the rubbish we produce. Clean separated waste is in demand by the reprocessing industry and they are prepared to pay for it because it saves them money in the manufacturing process. However, contaminated waste is worth very little and actually costs money to be taken away. By using the new app users will be able to find out what their separated recyclables are worth, find organisations willing to buy it and licensed waste couriers happy to transport it. By entering your postcode, what type of waste you have, organisations and households will be able to see, their local network of recycling facilities and waste courier options in their area. All this information will be displayed via an Ordnance Survey map.
The closing data for applications to the Geovation Programme is August 1. Applications can be made at: