Belfast City Council partnered with the South Korean city of Sejong on a collaborative project to improve our understanding of the challenges related to innovative procurement – and how SMEs can be better supported to export to other smart cities around the world.

Led by Connected Places Catapult and funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy as part of the UK-South Korea Innovation Twins programme, the project included a challenge competition for Belfast SMEs and, ultimately, developed a playbook for cities seeking to support innovative local businesses that want to export their products and services.

Innovative Procurement Challenge Competition

Local SMEs were given an opportunity to apply to the Innovative Procurement Challenge Competition to present their ideas and products which can help to create vibrant and healthy cities which promote quality of life and wellbeing.

SMEs participated in a start-up package, worth £10K, which included:

  • funding to develop a prototype or mature solution to support the city centre vision
  • business training to enhance their ability to market their product and be successful in gaining additional funds to support additional development
  • opportunity to showcase their prototype/idea/solution to city leaders, government Ministers and Sejong partners at a demo day event on 30 March 2022
  • opportunity to work directly with your Challenge Owners to help solidify, question and develop your solution.

The successful companies were:

  • DC Tours – immersive self-guided walking tour of Belfast.
  • Kinsetsu – using beacon technology to provide citizens with a button to alert park staff if they feel unwell or need assistance when in a park or travelling along a trail.
  • GetSocialable – a Smart Itinerary App which enables users to find things to do including leisure activities, visitor attractions and hospitality venues based on personalisation.
  • SeeSense – Products such as bike lights using sensor and AI technology to produce granular sensor data to help improve the safety and experience of cyclists/riders and inform planning of cycling infrastructure.
  • Weavelabs – Using data insights and predictive analysis to optimise street waste bin collection routes and inform decisions on new bin infrastructure.
  • Civic Dollars – A community currency rewards app which incentivises citizens to be more active by encouraging them to spend more time in parks and open spaces.
  • Streetdock – A network of smart micro-warehouses that make the delivery of cargo on cities more efficient, convenient and environmentally sustainable.
  • NetworkFit – Platform connecting small, locally owned gyms, fitness centres and personal trainers with users who are looking to improve their health and fitness.

More information

For more information on the UK-South Korea Innovation Twins programme, visit