Lithuania’s public sector challenges – new funded opportunities for the GovTech market
Local and global innovators seeking to participate in the GovTech market should be getting ready – institutions are preparing funded design contests.
In May, Lithuania saw a new major development in the GovTech field. Agency for Science, Innovation and Technology (MITA) together with the Ministry of Economics and Innovation of Lithuania started a new funded GovTech sandbox-like program. It began with an open call to public sector institutions to receive up to 53 thousand euros to solve their digital challenge and experiment with a GovTech solution prototype. This funding is a new opportunity for startups and innovative companies – all 53 thousand euros will ultimately be awarded to GovTech market participants with the best GovTech solutions.
Experimenting with emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence or blockchain is not a common public sector practice, more often it is an exception rather than the rule. Established regulation, lack of competencies or low risk often hinder innovation in the public sector. Nevertheless, attempts are being made to overcome this barrier by developing sandbox-like programs where participants have a low-risk environment to experiment, share best practices and success stories. The call announced in May is the most recent attempt to encourage experimentation in Lithuania and ensure that the search for innovative GovTech solutions is part of business-as-usual in Lithuania’s public sector.
Funding to procure GovTech prototypes is provided to 47 innovative challenges of Lithuania’s public sector institutions. Solutions will be sought through more open procurement procedures and will consist of two phases. It begins with a design contest for the best ideas for solutions. Winners of the first stage are awarded cash prizes. It is followed by negotiations for the contract with the winners of the design contest to develop a prototype. Prototyping will also be supported by the GovTech Lab team – institutions and selected innovators will be able to participate in the accelerator program, which will help to develop and test the prototype in a short time.
Local and global innovators seeking to participate in the GovTech design contests should be getting ready – institutions are already preparing the challenge description and other necessary documents. Most design contests will start at the end of August and will continue through to September. Procurements will be open to everyone – start-ups, innovative companies, researchers or even individuals who are interested and capable to develop GovTech solutions. Potential participants can subscribe to the GovTech newsletter to receive updates when procurement will go live.
This funding is the latest development in Lithuania’s GovTech ecosystem, whose growth for the last two years has been promoted by the GovTech Lab team. The team operating at MITA seeks to encourage the development and use of new and innovative technological solutions in the public sector, thus ensuring the greatest benefits and positive social change in society.