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CityX: ideas into action

Business Rates Recovery

We show you how to generate savings for your city with smarter business rate recovery tools, built in collaboration with innovative UK businesses.

Helping cities become smarter involves bringing people together to find the best solutions for urban challenges.

We help city authorities discover and trial the very best new technologies and ideas by linking them together with some of the most innovative UK businesses and minds. Working in this way helps cities develop and UK businesses explore new ideas and discover potential new market opportunities.

The Catapult can convene collaborative teams to address specific challenges, usually those set by Government or city authorities themselves.

In Belfast, we worked with city leaders and two SMEs, Analytics Engine and Nquiringminds, to find ways of improving business rates collection.  More on solving the challenge in Belfast.

The project helped to:

  • Find two new business rate recovery solutions that could be applied by other UK councils
  • Improve the council’s understanding and knowledge of how to use its data
  • Deliver real cost savings to the council
  • Grow two UK businesses and open up future opportunities for them to work with other cities


Do you represent a city? Get in touch to find new smart solutions to improve your city management.

Or are you an SME keen to help solve city challenges? Book an appointment with our SME team.



Case study: Collaborating to solve urban issues in Belfast

Belfast City Council has harnessed digital innovation to maximise business rates collection through close collaboration with partners, delivering great results.

Supported by the Department for Economy Northern Ireland and Strategic Investment Board, we worked with the council to understand the barriers to collection of business rates.

We set the challenge to UK small and medium sized enterprises through an open competition.

Four companies were offered funding to develop proofs of concept to tackle rates recovery. Two went on to receive a second round of funding to develop software prototypes.

The technologies developed link available data on business activity in the city with the rate collection system in the City Council. One SME mapped live property data in the city to supply information about active businesses to the Council.

The prototypes improved Belfast’s business rate recovery to nearly £1 million after losses of £1.5 million in the previous financial year. Check out more about improving business rate recovery in Belfast and Belfast’s smart city framework.

This technology can now be used by other UK authorities to improve rates recovery and to solve other city management challenges.

If you would like innovative solutions for your city, get in touch with us.

“The work we have done with Belfast City Council really helped to solidify our credibility in the public sector. We are currently in discussions with a variety of UK Councils to deliver a number of services.”

– Conor Dumigan, Analytics Engines

Are are you a developer interested in opportunities like these? Book an online session with our SME team.

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