Winning public-sector contracts: Working with Deloitte Digital on counting whales in the wild

Winning public-sector contracts: Working with Deloitte Digital on counting whales in the wild

Posted: Mon 22nd Jan 2024

Does your small business offer tech, digital, design or development services? Want to know how you can win contracts in the public sector? Be part of Deloitte's SME supply chain.

Deloitte has partnered with Enterprise Nation to help businesses overcome the typical hurdles they face in accessing large government procurement bids. One major obstacle is the need to provide evidence of previous contract work, or three years of audited accounts.

As such, the partners have launched a pioneering SME Ecosystem Initiative to help digital firms take advantage of opportunities to grow sustainably. By signing up to the ecosystem, you'll receive regular newsletters with details on new contract opportunities and upcoming events, and join a community of peers looking to scale.

Here, we talk to Caroline Höschle, biologist at SPACEWHALE, part of BioConsult SH, an independent ecological research and consulting company strategic based in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. Caroline tells us how working with Deloitte Digital has given her organisation access to opportunities it would never otherwise have had.

Caroline, please tell us what your company does.

BioConsult's service SPACEWHALE has developed a novel method of using satellite imagery to count whales and other wildlife species from space. With the technology, we can answer key questions on how many whales there are in the wild, where they are and when they inhabit certain areas. In this way, we move conservation forward.

We can study previously unexplored areas which traditional survey methods are unable to access. As a result, we're helping to speed up the designation of Important Marine Mammal Areas and Marine Protected Areas, monitor whale populations and provide environmental impact assessments for offshore wind farm operators. This is all with the aim of having a positive impact on the ocean and our lives.

What made you pursue opportunities to work with the public sector?

Even the best methodology is useless if nobody knows about it. By working with the public sector, we reach people who can help us gain more visibility and thus solve some of the earth's most pressing problems such as biodiversity crisis and climate change.

The public sector also has a wide range of opportunities and can help with projects on a large scale. We're also aiming to build long-term relationships where we provide knowledge about the health of the ocean.


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What issues were you having with this kind of procurement?

In the public sector, ultimately a lot revolves around profit, not about a technology for a good cause. So, to scale up such a service, we need to find the right contacts – and it's difficult!

How did you learn of this opportunity with Deloitte? And what made you think it was right for you?

Deloitte approached and guided us towards its Gravity Challenge in collaboration with WDC (Whale and Dolphin Conservation). Together, their aim was to find someone who can help them increase what they know about whales using satellite technology.

SPACEWHALE answers this key question exactly, and the description seemed to be tailored to our already established service.

On the other hand, we saw a great opportunity to work together with Deloitte and WDC and gain more visibility for our service. So, we applied! During the Gravity Challenge, we then developed the study concept of collecting data for an unknown area seeking conservation status.

We brought our innovative thinking and enthusiasm together to make a difference for our oceans and now we're running this proof of concept and already planning to scale up afterwards.

How exactly have you worked with Deloitte up to now?

Working with Deloitte started with the Gravity Challenge but didn't end afterwards. We know that we can ask Deloitte for hands-on support when needed, which we greatly appreciate. Deloitte also helps us gain more visibility and has, for example, made a marketing video for us.

Finally, how have your business's plans changed because of working with Deloitte?

Because of the Gravity Challenge, we are for the first time collecting data on an unexplored area that could then be designated as an Important Marine Mammal Area or Marine Protected Area. Without Deloitte, we wouldn't have received funding for the satellite images for such a proof-of-concept study so quickly.

This is the key to being able to think about scaling SPACEWHALE now. We've also gained more visibility as a result of working with Deloitte, which means we can set higher targets in our business plan.

Relevant resources

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