Digital Mission Blog

Digital Mission The Digital Mission series is run by Chinwag to support UK-based digital companies expand into new markets and attract overseas investment.

Scale Your Startup in Asia with Hong Kong's StartmeupHK Competition

Hong Kong by Barbara Willi

Is your startup targeting the Asian market? The 2014 StartmeupHK Venture Programme offers a US$500,000 package of support for the 12 competition winners looking to setup in Hong Kong, recently cited as number one for startups by Forbes.

InvestHK, the organisers, give more information,

"The StartmeupHK Venture Programme is a global competition for high-impact, innovative and scalable startups who aims to expand their businesses globally from Hong Kong."

What You Could Win

The competition provides the equivalent of US$500,000 in benefits including:

  • Sponsored Trip to Hong Kong
  • Business and Investment Opportunities
  • Expert Market Insights
  • High Level Mentorship
  • Media Exposure Opportunities

How to Apply

The entry criteria for the programme is:

  1. Category One - Early to growth stage ventures with revenue and/or significant users/customers

  2. Category Two - Startups at the concept and prototype stage with no revenue

The organisers have produced a video to help put together a compelling application. The deadline for entries is 31st July.

Photo (cc) Barbara Willi on Flickr.

Digital Health and Space Sessions Feature at Commonwealth Games British Business House

City Chambers by Stewart Priest

Alongside the sporting elite headed to Glasgow for the Commonwealth Games, UK Trade & Investment are launching a series of high-profile international business sessions including Digital Health and Space/Satellite Applications.

The sessions taking place at the City Chambers, which for 23-25th July will be transformed into the British Business House. Other sessions include agri-tech, global sport, energy, rail, transport, security, and opportunities in the growth of African cities as well as showcases of British expertise.

Digital Health: Reconfiguring Healthcare Worldwide - Wednesday 23 July

Healthcare systems across the world, including in the Commonwealth, must respond to the multiple challenges of long-term conditions, aging populations, accessibility and affordability. Digital health is widely accepted as a key enabler in transforming healthcare service delivery to meet these challenges, and thus ensure that high quality, universal healthcare can be attained and sustained.

In response to these challenges, the UK has innovated in digital healthcare, and the solutions it has developed have the potential to be adapted and applied globally. It also has much to learn from alternative approaches from overseas.

The aim of this session is to:

  • Enable British businesses to understand key opportunities in Commonwealth markets. Allow key decision makers from Commonwealth Government departments to interact with the “best of” British talent; and
  • Support partnership formation between British businesses (individuals and consortia) and key overseas digital health providers


The audience will consist of British providers (including NHS bodies) of digital health, particularly those with a specific interest in Commonwealth countries; officials from the health departments of Commonwealth countries who are likely to buy British expertise; and major digital health providers from Commonwealth countries who are looking for potential British collaborations.

The offer:

This is a fantastic opportunity to gain direct access to British expertise in digital health, expertise which is playing a key role in transforming healthcare in Britain as it responds to the challenge of containing the cost of health service delivery while improving the quality of service. The British digital health sector is a powerful and unique combination of clinical, academic and technological expertise and has the potential to play a valuable role in supporting the reconfiguration of healthcare in Commonwealth countries.

For British digital health providers the event will provide an insight into markets which are culturally and linguistically familiar, and where, even though health systems vary across the Commonwealth, there may be significant opportunities for collaboration.

The latest draft agenda for the seminar is as follows:

13:00 Welcome and Opening Remarks

13:10 Digital Health as The Driver of Transforming the NHS

Professor George Crooks, OBE, Medical Director, NHS 24 and Director at the Scottish Centre for Telehealth and Telecare

13:40 Be Healthy, Be Mobile: The World Health Organisation’s Flagship M-health Programme

Joint presentation from the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the World Health Organisation, BUPA, GSK and Public Health England


  • WHO/ITU (to be confirmed)
  • Fiona Adshead Director of Wellbeing & Public Health, BUPA
  • Ramil Burden Vice President, Africa & Developing Countries, GSK
  • Kevin Fenton, Public Health England

14:00 Commonwealth Perspectives

Mr Paul Madden, Deputy Secretary and Chief Information and Knowledge Officer, Australia

Other Commonwealth Ministerial speakers from Trinidad & Tobago, India and Nigeria to be confirmed

14:45 Roundtable Discussion

15:15 Close

Space Data for Life - Friday 25 July

The UK’s commercial space market is a world leader, currently sized at £9 billion per annum and supplying satellites and services worldwide, particularly in emerging economies. The data these satellites supply can help Commonwealth countries tackle pressing development challenges in innovative ways, by increasing agricultural yield by monitoring soil needs, increasing capacity on transport networks by accurately tracking current usage, and with satellite broadband increasing access to the world’s most precious resource information.

The UK has highlighted Space and Satellite Applications as one of its “8 GREAT technologies” and is fostering the growing market through key initiatives like the Satellite Applications Catapult and the £80 million Space ODA programme, which funds projects that solve development problems or issues in developing countries using the Space sector.

Commonwealth markets are well placed to leapfrog developed economies by adopting these space-based solutions early and reaping the efficiency benefits that they provide in tackling some of the major development challenges of today. UK and Scottish companies and universities have an excellent track record of supplying these solutions and together present a compelling offering.

The aim of this session is to:

Provide a platform from which to showcase UK expertise in advanced technologies, including taking data from the furthest edges of humanity and using it for everyday activities

Highlight UK expertise in sourcing and processing data from space and the supportive ecosystem that it facilitates; and

Showcase a range of companies that can help support precision agriculture, environmental monitoring and emergency response, as well as access to broadband


The audience will consist of cross-cutting policy makers from a range of Commonwealth markets. This will include space agency representatives and senior overseas Government officials, from those interested in innovative space based solutions through to everyday and developmental challenges. UK companies in attendance will be given the opportunity to develop trade opportunities in Commonwealth markets.

The offer:

A chance to engage with energy policy makers and decision makers involved in procurement of innovative solutions, particularly from developing and emerging commonwealth markets. The session will provide a platform to promote goods and services to a range of clean energy developers and purchasers from the Commonwealth.

Key contact: Sophie [dot] boldonatukti [dot] gsi [dot] gov [dot] uk or 0207 215 3504

The latest draft agenda for the seminar is as follows:

10:00 Registration & Coffee

10:30 Welcome and Introduction

David Parker, Chief Executive, UK Space Agency

10:40 Keynote Speech

The Rt. Hon. David Willetts MP, Minister of State for Universities and Science

10:50 The UK’s Commercial Space Market

Stuart Martin, Chief Executive, Satellite Applications Catapult

11:00 Upstream Space Sector – Panel Presentations

Satellite technology is undergoing rapid change. Miniaturisation of electronics and seamless interconnection to the terrestrial wold mean that space solutions are ever more affordable. Hear about the latest developments and how the UK is shaping this agenda.

  • Satcoms – Providing Global Connectivity
  • Access to Space – Manufacturing Satellites for the Expport Market
  • Pioneering the CubeSat Revolution, Craig Clark, Chief Executive, Clyde Space
  • Q&A Session

11:45 Refreshment Break

12:00 Commercialising Space – Panel Presentations

Space derived services are changing our everyday lives. Navigation, telecommunications and weather forecasts are all examples of the routine use of satellite data. Hear about how the UK is leading the development of new applications that would be especially suited to Commonwealth Nations.

  • Analysing Data – Resolving Business Problems Using EO Data, Phil Briscoe, Marketing Director, Rezatec
  • Highlands Initiative – Connecting Remote Areas, David Livingstone, Managing Director, Napier Meridien
  • Combatting Illegal and Unreporting Fishing, Nick Wise, Catapult
  • Q&A Session

12:50 Closing Remarks

13:00 Lunch

For more information about the British Business House, download the full brochure or email BBHregisteratinnovision [dot] eu or call +44 (0)207 034 4847.

Photo (cc) Stewart Priest on Flickr.

US Visas in a Single Slide

US Visa Matrix - Squire Patton Boggs

If you're a startup looking at the US market, there's plenty of hurdles. High on the list is immigration and which visa will be the best fit...if you can get it.

Today's morning session of the Robotics Mission, organised by Chinwag for the Technology Strategy Board and UKTI, visited Squire Patton Boggs who put together a very handy slide from immigration expert Beth Seal that summarises the options.

Naturally, decent legal advice is required to navigate the minefield that is the US visa system, but this provides a great overview.

The large version of the slide is available here.

Pic (c) Squire Patton Boggs.


Maker Faire Shenzhen: The 12 and a Half Things You Need To Know

The final preparations for the Digital Mission to China taking in Maker Faire Shenzhen are being put into place, all that’s left to do is pack our bags, find someone to feed the cat/dog/chinchilla.

And of course some homework, read through this handy guide of 12 and a half top tips from Tom Whitwell, on what to read to be in the know and what to expect from this sort of faire.

Shenzhen, The Hollywood for Makers

1. Hollywood gives you the map to the stars houses, Shenzhen (AKA the Hollywood for Makers) gives you the equivalent with the Shenzhen Map for Makers.

The map includes general information about the maker-related factories in Shenzhen and a map of Huaqiangbei that includes featured products in different buildings and some peripheral information. Is it also available as a PDF from SeeedStudio.

2. HXLR8R also do a Hua Qiang Bei Map for Makers.

2.5 Or for a more detailed map, check out Oomlout’s new photographic and data map of Hua Qiang Bei System. Navigate via the map and find pages and photographs for all the big markets.

We all love a good blog, that’s probably why you’re reading this. Tom’s provided us with a list of handy ones for all things Shenzhen:

3. Here’s a good one-stop-shop for Shenzen food, accommodation, money, phone card and toilet paper tips: Hacking Shenzhen by Lisa Q Fetterman from Nomiku;  ”You will not have a productive time in this town unless you do as the locals do.”

4. Dangerous Prototypes have a huge amount of information on their blog behind the Shenzhen tag. The top dogs include a guide on how to make friends in Shenzhen, how to ship stuff home from Shenzhen and day-by-day guides to the market.   

5. Andrew ‘Bunnie’ Huang, creator of the Chumby, has been visiting and writing about Shenzhen for years; his blog features a ‘Made in China‘ category that goes back a long way.

6. Engineer in Shenzhen is Bob Badderley’s blog; he was on the first year of the HXLR8R hardware incubator program. His blog includes handy hints to avoid getting sick in China and what to eat in Shenzhen.

7. Understanding Shenzhen electronics markets is a great in depth post from 2011 explaining what’s going on in the markets; who the traders represent and how to do business with them; “These guys will happily gives you samples, but the expectation is that you’re trying them out in your design with a view to buying, rather than freeloading for a 1-off project.”

8. Akiba from Freaklabs went on a MIT maker’s tour of Shenzen in 2013, and took copious notes and just shows us how rewarding a trip to Shenzhen can be; “I can feel a lot of my attitudes towards design changing by seeing the manufacturing flows and factories.

Previously I would unconsciously limit myself to different possibilities because things like doing an injection molded enclosure felt outside of my reach in terms of cost and volume. After seeing and talking to the people here, many are willing to take on all kinds of projects and offer a lot of help.”

Chinese Makers

9. A fantastic interview with Mr Chen, Shenzhen SMT Fabricator and rooftop organic farmer’ “He was very business savvy, and even had a slogan: which roughly means spend less and earn more.”

10. The Economist covered the Chinese maker movement last year “shanzhai producers have long adapted mobile phones to the needs of people in the developing world.

For example, unlike mainstream manufacturers, they championed mobile phones with dual SIM slots, ideal for Africa and India where users often switch networks to reduce costs”

11. A long detailed piece about Shenzhen’s first maker space: “Product innovation is the No. 1 differentiator for U.S. companies today. If China’s won the manufacturing game, it’s still lagging behind the West when it comes to original creativity. The impact of this gap is far-reaching for China.

The country earns less than 5 cents on every dollar spent on the global consumer electronics that are manufactured within its borders. The rest is divided up among other companies in the value chain — especially those that hold the intellectual property and brand power.” 


12. Shenzhen: A Travelogue from China, by Guy Delisle, which is a great, but depressing read. Guy spent three months in Shenzhen in 1997, and it will certainly put you off visiting a local dentist.

Making the Most of Maker Faires

Tom has also shared some useful tips collated from those who have previously taken part and exhibited at Maker Faires.

  • Don't rely on talking to people, there are SO many people and the people who actually want to talk might want to talk for 10 minutes which leaves other people frustrated and waiting around like lemons. Have little text notes everywhere inviting people where and how to engage.
  • An iPad powerpoint/keynote slideshow that gets across the point of the display in 30 seconds.
  • Give away free PCBs
  • Eye catching colour cloth for table instead of bare wood.
  • Stand for headphones (two sets if possible) that lift them away from the patch cable mayhem and are more inviting - 'Have a listen!'
  •  Write 'help yourself' on leaflets and stickers
  •  Attach pen to email signup pad
  •  Money box
  •   A4 Handout/leaflets/brochures
  •  More prominent QR code

So now that your reading material is sorted, all that’s left to say is, see you there! 

Photo (cc) inkelv1122. Some rights reserved. 

Confirmed Companies Joining Us On Digital Mission China

The digital mission to China and the Shenzhen Maker Faire is approaching ever closer, but fear not, there is still time to apply if you’re a maker, creative technologist or entrepreneur and want to come along and partake in our specially tailored week-long programme.  

We’ve put together a list of the confirmed companies coming along on the trip. If you’d like to join them apply here, or visit the Digital Mission China page for more details on the trip as a whole.

Arachnid Labs – Arachnid Labs is a one-man operation that creates interesting, functional, and high quality electronic tools that would otherwise be out of reach for electronic hobbyists. The man behind the plan is Nick Johnson, who you may know from his regular hack-a-day apperances for projects like iZac the Android Bartender, the stackable motor shield, the circular sand plotter and the advice machine.

Breakthemold – Breakthemould is a route to market with a difference. They provide product designers and retailers with the tools they need to rapidly design, manufacture and sell new products. The 'Product Design Platform' allows designers to find manufacturers, retailers and resources needed to develop new products. The Breakthemold 'Marketplace' allows designers to sell completed products to end customers and retail buyers.

Crowdrooster – if you have an idea for a product, crowdrooster are the new crowdfunding platform for makers. From wearables to home tech everything we own is about to be reforged and become part of the Internet of Things. The Maker Movement, a passionate army of modern inventors, is out there right now working to unleash this wave of reimagined products.  

That Maker army deserves a product focused funding platform and the public needs an 'all tech' marketplace to find the most innovative gadgets.  Based in London’s extraordinary Makerversity, a huge new makerspace in the historic Somerset House, Crowdrooster will be launching in the first week of April 2014. 

From wearables to home tech everything we own is about to be reforged and become part of the Internet of Things. The Maker Movement, a passionate army of modern inventors, is out there right now working to unleash this wave of reimagined products.  
That Maker army deserves a product focused funding platform and the public needs an 'all tech' marketplace to find the most innovative gadgets.  Based in London’s extraordinary Makerversity, a huge new makerspace in the historic Somerset House, Crowdrooster will be launching in the first week of April 2014. 

Lighthouse Studiois a digital culture agency based in Brighton that supports, commissions and exhibits work by artists and filmmakers. They aim to nurture the research, development and production of new work at the intersection of design, technology, and the creative industries, generating unique strands of activity, supporting new interdisciplinary practice, and contributing to the evolution of business and operations. 

We present in our own venue in Brighton and beyond, nationally and internationally. In the past 18 months, we have presented or co-produced solo shows by David Blandy, The Otolith Group, Kutlug Ataman among others and shown work by Blast Theory, Invisible Flock, Rafael Lozano Hemmer and over two dozen other artists. Lighthouse manages the high-level production scheme, BFI Shorts, in collaboration with the British Film Institute and runs Guiding Lights,  the UK’s leading mentoring programme for filmmakers.

Music Thing Modular – MTM produces open source, Creative Commons licensed designs for electronic musical instruments. 
The designs are built to facilitate distributed manufacturing; a series of digital files are published which can be used to manufacture printed circuit boards, fabricate front panels or order parts. 

Pimoroni Ltd - Pimoroni want to encourage everyone to tinker. To not feel scared of technology. To understand what's inside the gadgets they use, and how they can make their own interesting creations.To do this Pimoroni have created an agile manufacturing company in Sheffield, UK using Maker ideals to encourage making things that are joyful and interesting to encourage education.

Shoptivity – The Shoptivity team came together in March and are dedicated to looking into the Internet of Things relating to high streets, retailers and office buildings. 
The primary hardware focus is to combine wifi, BLE and other connected devices to enhance the out-store experience when shoppers are browsing the high street.

Solid Labs - Primo Kickstarted late 2013 by London based company Solid Labs with a simple mission: Introducing programming logic to children, taking them from a basic introduction at preliterate age all the way to the command line.

Triggertrap Ltd - Triggertrap Ltd was founded in 2011, and was brought to life through crowdfunding site Kickstarter. Based in the UK, the company’s flagship smartphone-based camera triggering solution, Triggertrap Mobile, has been downloaded more than 750,000 times and is in use by thousands of photographers in more than a hundred different countries.

In October 2013, Triggertrap launched its second Kickstarter campaign to raise funding Triggertrap Ada - an infinitely-expandable modular camera triggering system for high-speed photography - which raised over £290,000 ($475,000) and became one of the UK’s 10 highest-grossing Kickstarter projects of all time. 

Photo (cc) Christopher Lance. Some rights reserved.