Digital enhancement of street and covered markets



Greater London Authority







The Challenge

Street and covered markets play a vital role in the UK as places of employment, consumption and leisure. They provide diversity, history and character; generate footfall on high streets and in town centres; and are a significant employer nationally and at a local level. In the UK there are over 47,000 micro and small to medium businesses operating on markets, directly employing 105,000 people in 2008, with even more in support roles (RMA 2009). Markets also increase retail sales across the high street, with significant numbers (55%-71%) of market visitors' spending money in other shops (NEF 2005), worth £752 million per annum to London's shop-based retailers (Regeneris 2010).

Despite this, a survey by the Retail Markets Alliance in 2012 found that 26% of all markets in the UK were seeing a decrease in performance. The challenge to markets is manifold: there is competition from supermarkets and discounters, higher customer expectations of their shopping experience, poor town planning decisions, neglect by local authorities, lack of investment and poor state of market buildings and structures, slowness of the industry to respond and the lack of new traders and, of course, changes in technology and how people shop and interact.

This challenge, set in partnership with the Greater London Authority (GLA), seeks to help London's markets adapt and grow through the take-up of new technologies. The successful solution could be an application, online platform, wearable technology, connected or Internet of Things device; or any combination of the aforementioned technologies; but must seek to develop simple pathways for adoption and utilisation of digital and technological enhancements by patrons, traders, managers and operators.

The successful company may wish to explore one or more of the following:

  • Enhancing the payments process for traders and shoppers
  • Facilitating on-line sales and exploring new revenue streams for traders and operators
  • Enhancing the shopping experience for shoppers, for example through hyper-local technologies, improved personalisation, enabling discovery, and tailored rewards and incentives
  • Simplifying and streamlining the processes of market management, for example those associated with receiving and administering licenses, fees and charges; waste collection and recycling; and capturing and monitoring of data.


The GLA is committed to celebrating and supporting markets as part of their overarching High Streets agenda, which is currently investing over £175 million into more than 70 high streets across London. The GLA are providing direct support to existing and new, outdoor and indoor, regular and occasional markets across the UK. The successful company will have the opportunity to trial their technology in partnership with the GLA for a minimum period of three months before being commercialised more widely, and will support the winning company by providing access to potential industry partners, as well as access to an environment for testing the technology in a street or covered market in London.


About Greater London Authority

The GLA has a role in many areas of London life - you probably see their work every day - such as:

  • Arts and Culture
  • Business and Economy
  • Environment
  • Transport
  • Fire
  • Health
  • Sport
  • Volunteering
  • Housing and Land
  • Planning
  • Regeneration
  • Policing and Crime
  • Education and Youth

City Hall has one Mayor and 25 Assembly Members who are elected by Londoners. With the support of City Hall's staff they work to make London the best big city in the world.

The Mayor is responsible for making London a better place for everyone who visits, lives or works in the city. He provides citywide leadership, setting an overall vision for London and creating plans and policies to achieve it. The Mayor is elected every four years.

Who the GLA works with:

At City Hall, the GLA works closely with other organisations in London government. These organisations make up the GLA group:

  • Transport for London (TfL): responsible for London's transport
  • Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC): oversees the work of the Metropolitan Police Service
  • Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC): managing the development of a new community in west London, the UK's largest regeneration project
  • London's Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA): runs the London Fire Brigade
  • London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC): responsible for managing Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
  • London & Partners: the official promotional company for London
  • GLA also works with local councils, central government, business and community groups, as well as:
  • London Enterprise Panel (LEP): works with business on regeneration, employment and skills in London. The LEP is chaired by the Mayor
  • London Resilience Partnership: provides a mechanism for multi-agency cooperation in planning for, and responding to, large scale emergencies

The challenge has been set by the Regeneration Team whose job it is to encourage and shape growth in London's town centres, economic centres and high streets.


For more information, please visit:

Awards: 5 x £35,000

Briefing Event: 21 January

Contest Brief

Guidance for Applicants

Deadline: noon Tuesday 23 February 2016