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Open call

International Supply Chain Accelerator: Seamless Trade Across Borders

Open date: Wednesday 8 May 2024   Close date: Friday 14 June 2024


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 ICC as an industry body emphasising the significant potential for optimisation and improvement of import and export processes used in cross-border trade.

The UK ecosystem of technology innovators will be invited to apply to the programme and will be at the forefront of digital transformation. Digital Catapult, as delivery partner, will facilitate and guide the partnerships between the industry challenge owners, technology sponsor and the tech innovators, providing funding of up to £85,000 to address some of the UK’s most pressing supply chain challenges.

In September 2023, the UK Government introduced the Electronic Trade Documents Act to promote technology adoption, streamline trade, and foster growth. The Act focuses on granting electronic trade documents the same legal status as paper ones, requiring them to be stored securely for authentication. Digitalising trade documents could unlock £25 billion in economic growth by 2024 and save £224 billion in efficiency. The Act is projected to benefit the UK economy by £1.14 billion over a decade. The International Supply Chain Accelerator aims to tackle this digitalisation challenge by facilitating collaboration and funding for Electronic Trade Document Systems prototypes.

This is an opportunity to join the programme and be at the forefront of digital transformation.

Why should you get involved?

Up to £85,000 in grant funding to develop a challenge focused minimum viable product (MVP) and supporting material within the timeframe of the project.

Collaborate with technology and subject matter experts from Digital Catapult, industrial bodies representatives, industry challenge owners and tech sponsors who will support the development of the participants’ solutions/MVPs.

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.

Opportunity to participate in the programme networking events, roundtables and introductions to industry leaders, investors and potential customers.

One-to-one pitching sessions with a coach to support each company to practise, build the narrative and script for the final showcase event.

Be part of the programme showcase event in March 2025 to present your solution in front of investors and supply chain industry stakeholders.

Who’s involved

Leonardo UK

Leonardo UK is one of the UK’s leading aerospace companies. They are also a supplier of defence and security equipment to the UK MOD. Leonardo operates from multiple sites across the UK and is an important contributor to the UK’s economy.

BAE Systems

BAE Systems provides some of the world’s most advanced, technology-led defence, aerospace and security solutions. Working with customers and local partners, BAE Systems develops, engineers, manufactures, and supports products and systems to deliver military capability, protect national security, and keep critical information and infrastructure secure.

BT Group

BT Group is a British multinational telecommunications holding company headquartered in London, England. It has operations in around 180 countries and is the largest provider of fixed-line, broadband and mobile services in the UK, and also provides subscription television and IT services. BT Group is the operator of CCS-UK which is the UK’s electronic air cargo community: digitally connecting airlines, freight forwarders, ground handlers, hauliers, HM revenue and customs and border force, to facilitate the sharing of information that’s essential to the efficient movement of the UK’s vitally important air exports and imports.

International Chamber of Commerce

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) is one of the world’s largest and most influential business organisations, representing companies from all sectors and regions. Established in 1919, its primary mission is to promote international trade and investment, facilitate cross-border business transactions, and advocate for policies that foster economic growth and development.

Click here to read more about the challenges.

Read more

How to apply and next steps

  1. Applicants must apply via the application form.
  2. As part of the application, you will be asked to demonstrate that you meet the programme requirements for the challenge open call.
  3. Once you start your application you will have until 23:59 BST on Friday 14th of June 2024 to submit your application. Once submitted you will not be able to make any edits.
  4. If you wish to apply for more than one challenge area with the same technology solution, please make this clear in your application. If an organisation wishes to apply with more than one technology solution, please submit an additional application form per solution.

Should you require any assistance with the application you can reach out to [email protected] to explore the suitability of your idea for the challenges.

Apply now

Apply now