Public invitation to experiment
In Lithuania, startups, entrepreneurs and academia are being encouraged not only to use digital services but also to contribute to the development of innovative solutions. Over the last year and a half, Lithuania’s award-winning GovTech Lab has focused its efforts to help the public sector identify challenges that can be addressed by emerging technologies and engage startups and SMEs in the co-creation of innovative solutions. The solutions developed so far in this format have been a major step forward the breaking down barriers and stereotypes related to collaboration between startups and the public sector. With maturing GovTech ecosystem, the ambition of Lithuania in this field has grown as well – in 2021, Lithuania is launching a funded GovTech sandbox programme.
New funding programme
GovTech ecosystem promotion activities started in Lithuania back in 2019. The GovTech Lab, operating at the Agency for Science, Innovation and Technology (MITA), has seen extensive and increasing interest coming from public authorities in innovative solutions and co-creation with startups. However, funding for this type of experimentation has not been available to this effect until now. The strong interest from both public authorities and entrepreneurs has led to the emergence of the new MITA programme – from now on, public authorities can receive funding for piloting GovTech solutions. This will allow public authorities to run funded GovTech pilots through an inclusive process called design contest and open up its challenges to startups and other businesses. The new programme is expected to help mature public sector commitments to foster innovation from only verbal to also financial contribution.
“The end goal of the programme is to transform citizens‘ daily encounters with public services globally. By introducing new financial incentives, the programme will enable start-ups and innovative companies to use their creative minds in order to solve public sector challenges in an innovative and future-oriented way.
We hope that Lithuania will become the launchpad for successful GovTech companies with groudbreaking and globally attractive solutions”, says Birutė Bukauskaitė, Head of MITA.
For the first time in Lithuania, MITA (together with the Ministry of Economy and Innovation of the Republic of Lithuania) has an open call for public sector institutions to receive funding for a procurement of pilot GovTech solutions. Up to 53 000 euros will be made available for one pilot GovTech solution for up to 30 different challenges from public sector institutions. The winning institutions are expected to launch their search for ideas and solution developers in August. It is expected that almost 4,5 million euros will be invested in GovTech solution overall.
An example of effective co-creation between public sector and startup Trafi
Lithuanian GovTech startup Trafi, a global mobility problem-solver that grew out of Vilnius open data, is making its way to the world. The mobility-as-a-service platform, already operating in Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Indonesia, Turkey, and Baltic countries, has recently taken business to Latin America (e.g. Bogota, Colombia). CEO and co-founder of Trafi Martynas Gudonavičius has also mentioned Japan among the plans for the second half of 2021.
Photo: Andrius Aleksandravičius