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Paul Beare

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Techs in the City

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The increased urgency of the net zero agenda is fuelling a lot of innovation in the travel and infrastructure sectors. Governments are keen to promote Smart Cities as part of the answer to the climate crisis, and have made efforts to support a range of innovative start ups that are coming up with new solutions to urban issues of pollution, congestion and inefficiency. And with the pandemic hopefully starting to ebb away, designing cities to meet changing needs is even more important.

As a result, a new generation of start ups have emerged to energise the smart city agenda, with many taking advantage of a number of schemes designed to match their ambition with cash and tax breaks.

Here are six of the most interesting smart city start ups that demonstrate that the future of cities remains bright.

Atmo Technology: an air quality data company that uses IoT devices and advanced algorithms to help employers monitor the pollution levels to which their staff are exposed;

Cyber Defence Services: has developed an IoT security platform Overt AI which monitors devices connected to the network and detects threats;

Hello Lamp Post: has created a novel way for people to tell town planners how they think their built environment can be improved with the company allowing people to converse with street furniture in over 25 countries around the world;

Secure Sensor Innovative Design: has built an IoT system that allows organisations such as care homes and housing associations to monitor temperature and humidity levels and can also detect sudden falls from elderly residents;

R-Com: has developed a comprehensive smart city solution with a suite of sensors that can count passengers on public transport, measure air quality and monitor vehicles on roads with the firm also providing real time analysis and IT support 

Pulse Systems: has built an IoT platform on top of UK made and designed sensors that help businesses make a building smart allowing for better understanding of workspaces and how they affect people and the environment.

For many of these companies, getting off the starting grid would have been a lot harder without access to a number of schemes that promote investment in new and unproven technology. They include:

  • R&D Tax CreditCompanies which focus on science and technology advances are able to reduce their corporation tax by claiming an R&D tax credit. In order to qualify, firms must have fewer than 500 employees. An annual turnover of less than €100 million is required to claim relief equivalent to 225% of qualifying expenditure.
  • The Patent Box: This incentive enables companies to apply a 10% lower rate of corporation tax on profits. From the development and exploitation of patented inventions and other intellectual property introduced in the UK.
  • The Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS):UK taxpayers investing in qualifying start-ups for the first £100,000 seed investment are eligible to 50% income tax relief.
  • The Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS):Similarly to SEIS, private investors are eligible to 30% income tax relief.

These schemes are available to smaller companies (and their investors). If you’re in need of advice or support in this or any other area, we’re right here for all your needs. You can contact us for help from tax and payroll to accounting and banking.


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