GovStart has kicked off this year with six new companies and an overarching goal to make public services ‘build back better’. As we approach the end of the year, Odessa Dior – Programmes Operations Intern provides an update on how things have been going over the first three weeks of the programme.GovStart is the only six month growth programme targeted at startups with powerful public sector applications to provide tailored support, strategy and networks to help them thrive and scale across the public sector.It is a great time to be working with Govtech startups that are helping the government “Build Back Better” and the PUBLIC team is hugely excited about the new partnerships just announced. GovTech startups helping the Government react to the crisis will be in the spotlight in 2021, as the pandemic has driven a deep cultural transformation in Government with respect to public sector commercial cycles and partnering with startups and scaleups, particularly in healthcare.“What would have taken months to happen before COVID-19, in some cases it has become possible in just a day”-Matthew Hancock, UK Secretary of State for HealthDue to the extraordinary times that we are going through, we have had to adapt and move to a predominantly virtual programme this year, but that does not mean that the commitment, energy and sense of community that characterise GovStart will be affected.“After a tough year for many start-up Founders, it’s been refreshing to see the energy and focus of the new GovStart cohort. So far, we’ve seen a more mature understanding of product market fit than in previous years; a reflection of the increased expertise of Founders, who are not just entrepreneurial but also established experts in their fields. The marketing function support over the next few months will now focus on messaging and sales alignment, with particular attention to value proposition and product differentiation. 2021 promises to be an exciting year for GovTech start-ups.”–Michael Tinmouth, GovStart MentorWe started this year’s programme brilliantly with an introductory virtual roundtable with Alex Hickman, the Prime Minister’s special advisor on business relations. Our 6 startups from the UK cohort – Alcuris, Coplug, Deployed, Samurai Labs, Tympa Health, and Zencity, – together with Vianova from the German cohort took part in a constructive conversation about the future of public services. We discussed challenges and opportunities for GovTech startups helping the Government react to the current crisis, and heard about the Prime Minister’s plans for better public services with technology.Moving forward from that, we went into introductory mentor matching sessions where the companies were matched with mentors with experience from a wide range of areas. Mentors are great allies to the companies throughout the whole programme, supporting them in areas like fundraising, public sector procurement, public sector narrative, marketing and more.“This year we have some exciting companies in the GovStart programme, who all have that balance of bringing something new and exciting to the public sector whilst being at the perfect stage of being ready to deploy and scale quickly in 2021.”–Liam Cahill, GovStart MentorAdditionally, our great German team has been supporting some companies with expansion to the German public market. On that note, this week we announced the new German GovStart cohort and we look forward to working together to transform public services across Europe.As the programme progresses we will continue to provide updates on the cohort’s progress.