Digital Catapult is the UK authority on advanced digital technology. Through collaboration and innovation, we accelerate industry adoption to drive growth and opportunity across the economy.

We bring together an expert and enterprising community of researchers, startups, scaleups and industry leaders to discover new ways to solve the big challenges limiting the UK’s future potential. Through our specialist programmes and experimental facilities, we make sure that innovation thrives, and the right solutions make it to the real world.

Our goal is to accelerate new possibilities in everything we do and for every business we partner with throughout the journey – breaking down barriers, de-risking innovation, opening up markets and responsibly shaping the products, services and experiences of the future.

Digital Catapult works with organisations on projects involving at least one of the technologies from its “Advanced Digital Technology Stack”: Artificial Intelligence, Immersive, Internet of Things, Distributed Ledger Technologies, 5G/Future Networks and Quantum Technologies.


2.1 The Programme

The International Supply Chain Accelerator is part of the Made Smarter Innovation | Digital Supply Chain Hub programme. This project is aiming to support UK technology innovators and startups to identify and address operational inefficiencies in current trade processes. Leonardo UK and BAE Systems have set out the industry challenges with BT Group as a technology sponsor and International Chamber of Commerce as an industry body emphasising the significant potential for optimisation and improvement of import and export processes used in cross-border trade (“Programme”).

Digital Catapult is working with the following partners to deliver the Programme:

Industry Partner Representative: International Chamber of Commerce, 1st Floor 1-3 Staple Inn, London, WC1V 7QH, company number: 10763507 (“International Chamber of Commerce”);

Industry challenge owners:

  • BAE Systems (Operations) Limited, Victory Point, Lyon Way, Frimley, Camberley, Surrey GU16 7EX, company number: 1470151(“BAE Systems”); and
  • Leonardo UK ltd, One Eagle Place, London, SW1Y 6AF, company number 02426132 (“Leonardo UK”); and

Technology sponsor: BT Group plc, 1 Braham Street, London, United Kingdom, E1 8EE, company number: 04190816  (“BT”).

This call addresses the challenge of the Seamless Trade Across the Borders that covers 2 specific challenge areas:

Challenge area 1: Standardisation and sharing of high quality data by all participants in the supply chain.

Aim: to establish a standardised and consistent supply chain data ecosystem, ensuring interoperability and harmonisation, while delivering high-quality, real-time data and ensuring due diligence, accuracy, accessibility, and telemetry.

Challenge area 2: Enhanced transparency and visibility of the export and import process steps in the supply chain

Aim: to enhance visibility and transparency throughout the Export/Import processes by seamlessly gathering data from diverse systems within BAE Systems and Leonardo UK.

2.2 Programme Objectives

The Programme objectives include:

  • Facilitate the collaboration between startups and industry challenge owners with the support of the technology sponsor and industry body representative.
  • Develop up to 4 prototype solutions addressing the challenges set up by the industry challenge owners with the global impact and utilising advanced digital technology.
  • Increase industry awareness of the challenges faced in the cross border trade and emphasise the importance of digitalisation of the existing processes.

2.3 Programme Judges

During the application stage, the judges will be responsible for scoring the applications according to the process and criteria set out in these Competition Terms. The judges will be chosen based on (i) their experience and expertise. The Programme Judges comprise:

Internal Judges: A number of judges from the Digital Catapult team will help judge the applications.

And may include any of the following judges:

Industry Partner Representative Judges: A number of judges from International Chamber of Commerce.

Industry Challenge Owner Judges: A number of judges from:

  • BAE Systems;
  • Leonardo UK; and

Technology Sponsor Judges: A number of judges from BT

Together the “External Judges”

2.4 The Programme Partners

The following organisations are partnering with Digital Catapult to deliver the Programme:

Challenge owners: BAE Systems and Leonardo are large industry players with a global impact and strong reliance on supply chains. They set up and define a supply chain related challenge that they are currently facing and guide the solution development process.

Programme sponsor: BT brings industry expertise and experience to support the development of the solutions and potentially gives access to their existing capabilities and infrastructure for solution providers to experiment with.

Programme industry partners: International Chamber of Commerce will oversee the solutions development process, providing guidance, expertise and introductions to their networks to ensure that solutions that are being developed during the Programme are aligned with the industry priorities and regulations.  may support the Programme through delivery of relevant workshops, hosting office hours, and/or through providing discounted services or products.

2.5 Applicants & Participants

You are considered an “Applicant” if you apply to this competition.

You are considered a “Participant” if you are successful with your application and complete all pre-Project activities (e.g. signing the Programme Agreement).

  • Where you are applying on behalf of a consortium:
  • Applicant shall mean each of the members of the applying consortium, for which the Lead Applicant (the party submitting the application) is responsible for each “Applicant”.
  • Participant shall mean each of the members of the successful consortium, for which the Lead Participant (the party submitting the application) will be responsible for each “Participant”.


Participants of the International Supply Chain Accelerator will receive the following benefits:

  • MVP funding: Up to £85,000 in cash funding to develop a challenge focused MVP and supporting material within the timeframe of the project (including £57,000.00 of State Assistance see paragraph 9.2).
  • Access to expertise: Collaborate with technology and subject matter experts from Digital Catapult, Industry Body Representatives, Industry Challenge Owners and Tech Sponsors who will support the development of the Participants’ solutions/MVPs.
  • Pitch training: One-to-one pitching sessions with a coach to support each company to practise and build the narrative and script for the Final Showcase event
  • Networking Opportunity to participate in the programme networking events, roundtables and introductions to industry leaders, investors and potential customers.
  • Peer-to-peer learning: Be part of a cohort of selected companies made up of talented entrepreneurs from across a different range of sectors, all working towards improving supply chains, as well as being part of the Hub ecosystem and network.
  • Showcase event: Opportunity to participate, pitch and attend meetings at the showcase event in March
  • Potentially being part of the future Digital Supply Chain Hub: Upon successful completion of the project, the participant will have the opportunity to join the future digital supply chain hub and connect with the wider supply chain ecosystem and build further collaboration opportunities.
  • Join the Digital Catapult Alumni Network: Upon successful completion of the Project, the opportunity to join the Digital Catapult Alumni Network, which keeps them informed of opportunities and relevant updates from the Digital Catapult, and which provides additional opportunities to engage with Digital Catapult and other Alumni.


Participants of the International Supply Chain Accelerator have the following obligations if they choose to participate in the programme:

  • Build a MVP against the chosen industrial challenge working together with the Industry Challenge Owner, Industry Body and Tech Sponsor.
  • Provide a minimum Co-investment of £85,000 (“Co-investment”). There are various categories of Co-investment which can be considered. The Co-investment covers the value for money and cost to deliver the technology solutions. You can find further information on what Co-investment we are looking for in the Programme FAQs. Applicants are required to submit a document demonstrating details of the Co-investment when the application is submitted (Digital Catapult will provide a template for completion).
  • The startup team must be able to attend all key programme events below (Please note dates are subject to change):
    • Programme Kick-off event (in-person) – September 2024
    • Final Showcase event (in-person) – March 2025
  • Attend the majority (80%+) of the workshops, progress check-in meetings/calls, and/or webinars hosted by Digital Catapult from September 2024 to February 2025.
  • Showcase tech solution developed in the programme – Digital Catapult does not take ownership of your Intellectual Property developed on the Programme, however, we do require you to present your solution for the challenge at the Showcase event and other Programme related activities.
  • Participant agrees to be visibly (name and logo) associated with the Programme, whilst on the Programme and afterwards as a former participant and beneficiary. This includes marketing collateral, such as website, print and digital materials.
  • Participants shall complete the Digital Catapult EDI Survey (please note each question will have a “prefer not to say” option).
  • For a maximum period of five years following the Project end date, Participant shall use its reasonable endeavours to answer specific questions from Digital Catapult relating to its growth and progress to assist Catapult demonstrate the impact of its activities. This shall include: (i) participation in an annual telephone conversation of one hour, and (ii) participation in two yearly surveys issued by Digital Catapult.


5.1 Minimum Requirements

  • Applicants must be eligible to receive £72,000 in State Assistance. See clause 9.2.
  • Applicants must have a UK business bank account for any payments to be made.
  • Applicants must be a UK-based registered company, or prove they have an establishment in the UK and undertake the majority of the activity in the UK.
  • Applicants must be considered as either an early-stage company or a scaleup business with a proposed solution/ product/ service at the Technology Readiness Level 4-5 (TRL 4-5).
  • Applicants must develop solutions enabled by at least one of the technologies from the Advanced Digital Technology Stack: Artificial Intelligence, Immersive, Internet of Things, Distributed Ledger Technologies and 5G/Future Networks.

If you are applying as part of a consortium:

  • You may enter as a collaborative team, but there must be a lead company that will contract with us and get paid.
  • All other collaborators involved must be named in the application process. It is the responsibility of the lead company to arrange any collaboration agreements or subcontracts as necessary and to comply with the International Supply Chain Accelerator terms and conditions.
  • Your collaborators may be international companies.
  • You can be named as a collaborator on more than one application but can only be a ‘lead’ company once.
  • We may carry out due diligence on the lead and any collaboration companies so they must be willing to submit documentation upon request (including but not limited to, bank account statements for the business and personal references).

5.2 What we’re looking for

The ISCA (International Supply Chain Accelerator)  Open Call 1: Seamless Trade Across the Borders is welcoming applications from startups and innovators within the Supply Chain Industry that are developing digital technology solutions that address international supply chain challenges set by BAE Systems and Leonardo UK.

Startups and SMEs should have an early-stage solution at the TRL 4-5 and be able to progress to the TRL 6-7 within the timeline of the programme.

Key sectors that we are targeting include Transportation, Aerospace & Defence, Logistics (Maritime, Airways, Rail sectors)

It is intended that the solutions of the tech innovators would leverage the cutting edge (but proven) technology available in the industry. These technology areas are (including but not limited to): Artificial Intelligence; Distributed Ledger Technology; Advanced (Distributed) Identity Solutions; IoT etc.


  • Open Call – Applications Open – Wednesday 8th of May
  • Open Call – Application Deadline – Friday 14th of June
  • Judging – Phase 1 Assessment – w/c 17th of June
  • Judging – Phase 2 Interviews – w/c 8th of July
  • Intended notification of all Applicants – Friday 22nd of July
  • Intended public announcement of successful participants – w/c 5th of August
  • Programme:
    • Start Date: September 2024
    • End Date: March 2025


7.1 What information should my application contain?

Applicants must answer all required questions in the full online application form.

7.2 Who will see my Application?

The following people will see your application:

Catapult Representatives and Internal Judges: Relevant Catapult representatives will see your application in order to assess the application, and otherwise in the administration of your application and, if successful, participation in the Programme.

The External Judges will be involved in Stage 3 of the Selection Process only (see 8.2)

Challenge Owner Judges: will see your full application, except for your company name and personal information fields.

Industry Partner Judges: will see your full application, except for your company name and personal information fields.

Sponsor Judges: will see your full application, except for your company name and personal information fields.

Note: Even if personal information fields from the application are not disclosed, during the interview stage, names of presenters will be disclosed to Judges.

Programme Participation

Programme Partners: For Participants, Industry Challenge Owners, Industry Partner Representative and Technology Sponsor will see your full application, along with your company name, key contact name and key contact email address in order to provide bespoke support during the Programme including 1:1 office hours, mentorship, workshops and/or webinars. Note that External Judges will not see your personal information fields when judging applications.

7.3 Key contact

Applicants will appoint a main contact for the Programme (“Key Contact”). This person will be Digital Catapult’s main point of contact for the competition and, if successful, Applicant’s Programme activities, including: workshop and event commitments, team members’ availability, ongoing activities, and assessment of progress during and after the Programme.

Digital Catapult will use this personal information for the purpose of carrying out due diligence on Applicants prior to the point of selection onto the Programme and to notify successful and unsuccessful Applicants over their submissions. The personal data we collect may be shared with and processed by (i) Programme Judges for the purpose of assessing the Applications; and (ii) Programme Partners and third party service providers for the provision of benefits to the Participants in the Programme, as set out in these Competition Terms.

 7.4 Submitting your application

You must submit your application via the Skipso form (“Submission Method”).

All applications must be submitted via the Submission Method by the Application Deadline.

Once your completed application has been received, Digital Catapult will send you a confirmation receipt by email. If you do not get a receipt within twenty four (24) hours of the next working day, please email us at taras.kovtun@digicatapult.org.uk with the subject “International Supply Chain Accelerator Application Submission”.

 7.5 Digital Catapult’s Equality Diversity and Inclusion Survey

In addition to your application, you will be required to complete Digital Catapult’s Equality Diversity and Inclusion Survey (‘Survey’). Whilst the completion of this Survey is mandatory, please note that your responses to this Survey will be kept separately from your application and will have no effect whatsoever on your application to the Programme.

Digital Catapult (as the Data Controller) will collect and process your personal data, including the following special category data to help Digital Catapult improve its services in respect of equality, diversity and inclusion:

  • Racial and/or ethnic origin
  • Sexual orientation
  • Health (including disability)
  • Religious and/or philosophical beliefs

The data collected and processed may be shared with relevant third parties and/or published but only in an aggregated form, which means you will not be personally identifiable.

Your personal data will be kept for 15 months from the time you respond to the Survey. Should you apply to another of Digital Catapult’s opportunities within the 15 month period, we will provide you with the option to allow us to re-use the data we already hold, to resubmit the Survey or to delete your Survey data. If you choose to complete the Survey again, we will keep your updated data for 15 months from the time you resubmit the Survey.

Please note you are responsible for the accuracy of the data you share with Digital Catapult and you agree to inform us if your data needs to be updated.

For more information on Digital Catapult’s collection, use and protection of your personal data and your rights in regards to your personal data, please see Digital Catapult’s privacy policy (https://www.digicatapult.org.uk/privacy-policy) or contact us at privacy@digicatapult.org.uk. If you have specific queries on our use of your Survey data (including a request to delete your Survey data), please contact us at edisurvey@digicatapult.org.uk.


8.1 Qualification

The Catapult will undertake an initial assessment of the Applicants against the Programme Requirements.

8.2 Selection process

Applications will undergo the following review process:

Stage 1:

The Catapult Representatives will undertake an initial due diligence of the Applicants against the Programme Requirements. Applicants must be willing to submit further information or documentation upon request to qualify as ‘successful’.

Stage 2:

This is an assessment stage where the Internal Judges will rank applications against the selection criteria allowing the best applications to be easily identified and progress to the next stage.

Stage 3:

This is a final interview stage where a number of applications will be further assessed in an interview by the Internal and External judges using the same selection criteria. The outcome of this stage is a set number of applicants that will be onboarded on the programme.


All judging criteria will be taken into equal consideration.

8.3 Application Scoring criteria and weighting

 The scoring criteria will be assessed based on statements in the areas below. Each criterion will be scored on a range from 0 to 5. 0 being an “Unacceptable or No submission” score for each criterion and 5 being an “Excellent” score for each criterion. This scoring will be applied to all applications and will be equally weighted.

There are 4 criteria upon which applicants will be assessed:

  1. Challenge & Solution (25%)

The applicant should demonstrate that their solution is realistic, well-developed and adds value to the ICO in the context of the chosen challenge. Applicants should show a good understanding of the problem highlighting the relevance of the solution to the digital trade / digital borders industry. The solution should also demonstrate how it achieves the outcomes pertaining to the challenge. The solution should also be shown to leverage advanced digital technologies where applicable and also is reasonably achievable in practical terms. The solution should be estimable in the Technology Readiness Level of  4-5.

  1. Team Experience (25%)

The team demonstrates that they are equipped with the appropriate technology and business skills, and show strong evidence that they can develop and deliver the proposed solution within the timeframe and budget/funding of the programme.

  1. Technical Feasibility (25%)

The proposed solution is at the TRL 4-5 level, with potential for progression to TRL 6-7 at the end of the programme. The technical delivery of the proposal is feasible and provides a clear added value to the ICO. All evidence is outlined in a well thought through Product Development Roadmap.

  1. Growth Potential (25%)

The solution demonstrates the potential for scalability, beyond the lifecycle of the programme. The idea is likely to be suitable for further funding stages of development and commercial agreements.

Furthermore, Participants will be selected on a portfolio basis to ensure the Programme is able to deliver consistent support and activities that provide value to all Participants.

8.4 Due diligence

We will carry out due diligence on applicants prior to the point of selection onto the Programme. Applicants must be willing to submit further information or documentation upon request to qualify as ‘successful’.

8.5 Successful applicants

Successful applicants will be notified and provided with a standard agreement for review and execution (“Programme Agreement”).

The Programme Agreement is a standard agreement and not negotiable.  We do try to ensure these contracts are fair and reasonable.

In order to be accepted onto the Programme, successful applicants must sign the Programme Agreement.


9.1 Benefits

All the benefits provided under the Programme by third-party organisations (“Suppliers”) are subject to the Supplier’s terms and conditions stated in the Programme T&Cs.

Any optional benefits provided by third party organisations whose terms and conditions are not contained in the Programme T&Cs will be agreed between the Participant and the Supplier directly.

Digital Catapult reserves the right to amend the list of benefits at its sole discretion.

9.2 State Assistance

 Participants shall receive the grant as Minimal Financial Assistance (“MFA”), or to the extent applicable under the Northern Ireland Protocol, the de minimis aid regulations (COMMISSION REGULATION (EU) No 1407/2013), collectively referred to herein as “State Assistance.

The total State Assistance received or due to be received by an individual Participant (including any associated companies e.g. subsidiaries), originating from a United Kingdom source, must not exceed £315,000, or €200,000 (approximately £165,000) for Northern Ireland Companies (or any other company subject to the Northern Ireland Protocol), each in aggregate across the Participant’s current fiscal year (as at the Agreement Date) and the previous two fiscal years.

This Programme has been assessed as providing £72,000.00 for Participants; approximately equivalent to €85,000.00

Before signing the Programme Agreement, Applicants will therefore be asked to sign a declaration confirming that they are eligible to receive the State Assistance.

9.3 Accessibility

We aim to make all of our programmes accessible. We welcome feedback as to how we may be able to improve the accessibility of our programmes in the future. If you have any feedback with regards to accessibility, please send your feedback by email to: edisurvey@digicatapult.org.uk. Your feedback may be used by us in our programmes and activities.

9.4 Applicants

Digital Catapult reserves the right to reject any application which does not fulfil the minimum requirements.

9.5 Key Dates

Digital Catapult reserves the right to change the Key Dates at its sole discretion. No extension to deadlines will usually be granted, with very limited exceptions where the Applicant requests an extension due to reasonable extenuating circumstances, beyond the Applicant’s control and unforeseen to them, subject to the Applicant providing evidence that proves the extenuating circumstance; and the Applicant informing Digital Catapult as soon as reasonably practicable following the extenuating circumstance becoming apparent. Digital Catapult reserves the right to consider the factors and decide whether such circumstances are extenuating and whether granting an extension is fair to other applicants. No extension granted will usually be for greater than two working days.

9.6 Applications

All information and documents requested must be submitted. Failure to submit all requested information and documents may result in the application being rejected.  Catapult will not use outside information in respect of your application unless otherwise indicated, other than to undertake due diligence.  Digital Catapult reserves the right to not work with people or an organisation which it believes could impact its reputation.

9.7  Previous Applications

Not used.

9.8  Personal Data

Digital Catapult is the Controller for the personal information submitted in the Application for the purposes of the Data Protection Act 2018 and the UK GDPR.

In submitting the Application, the Applicant confirms that it has made the Key Contact and any other person whose personal data has been submitted, aware of, and has the lawful grounds to enable each Controller (including its processors) to, process the personal information of the Key Contact (and any other person named in the Application and open call process) as set out in these Competition Terms and in accordance with the respective privacy policies: Digital Catapult (https://www.digicatapult.org.uk/legal/privacy-policy/).

9.9 Programme Agreement

Digital Catapult reserves the right to make amendments to the Programme Agreement it issues up until the point of execution by both parties.

9.10 Participant Programmes

Digital Catapult reserves the right to offer Participants access to its Participant Programmes, such as its Platinum Awards.


10.1 Data Retention

Digital Catapult will store your application and the scoring it has received for the entire duration of the Programme, or up to two (2) years, whichever the greater.  If you are a successful Applicant, we shall also store your Application for a period of up to seven (7) years following the end of the Programme. For administration purposes, contracts may be stored for up to seven (7) years, contracts providing State Assistance for up to eleven (11) years, and deeds for up to thirteen (13) years from the end of the Programme.

10.2 Confidentiality

The information provided in your Application will be kept confidential and only used and disclosed as reasonably necessary for the purpose of assessing Applications, and, if admitted onto the Programme, for working with you in the Programme.  This may include our Programme Partners as indicated above.

For practical reasons, NDAs will not be signed by Digital Catapult or the Programme Partners as part of this Programme Competition. The activities we provide can only be achieved through trust of the tech community. It is therefore not in our interest to release your sensitive information. Confidentiality provisions are included in the Programme Agreement.

The scoring of your Application will be treated as sensitive information.

As your Application will be transmitted over the Internet, ultimately Digital Catapult cannot guarantee its security.

10.3 Intellectual Property

We respect the intellectual property of others and we ask our Applicants to do the same.

In submitting the Application, you promise that you have and continue to have all necessary rights, licences, permissions and consent to provide the content in your application to us, and for Catapult to use the Application as we have set out.

We will not remove from Applications any proprietary labels or copyright assertions.

10.4 Disclaimers, Exclusions & Limitations

We accept no liability for any consequences, whether direct or indirect, that may arise from your participation in the Programme Competition, your reliance on any statements we may have made about your application, the Programme, or its suspension or withdrawal.

In any case, to the extent permitted under law, Digital Catapult liability shall be limited to one thousand (£1,000) pounds.

10.5 Entire Agreement

These Competition Terms constitute the entire agreement between Digital Catapult and the Applicant and extinguish all previous and contemporaneous agreements, promises, assurances, and understandings between them, whether written or oral, relating to the subject matter of these Competition Terms

10.6 Jurisdiction

The Programme Competition is governed by English law and the Applicant agrees that any dispute shall be exclusively resolved in the English courts.