Business and Investment Development Agency

menu

News

press release

Hack the Crisis! Virtual hackathon can help fight coronavirus

State offering financing, mentoring and available capacity in connection with the event

Hack the Crisis! Virtual hackathon can help fight coronavirus Source: CzechInvest
  • In cooperation with the Ministry of Industry and Trade and a number of other partners, CzechInvest is launching the Hack the Crisis hackathon
  • This is a concept that brings together the state, regions, universities, companies and associations with the aim of accelerating selected projects reflecting our country’s priorities in the fight against the coronavirus
  • The hackathon is another activity carried out under the Czech Network platform, where companies can, among other offer and request available capacities, materials and services

A mobile application responding to the extraordinary situation, 3D printing and rapid production of scarce goods such as respiratory ventilators and protective equipment are only a few examples of how individuals and companies can help not only during this time of extraordinary measures and challenges brought forth by the coronavirus, but also in the future. Therefore, CzechInvest is launching the virtual Hack the Crisis hackathon in cooperation with the Ministry of Industry and Trade. The hackathon’s objective is to support and unify activities aimed at fighting the coronavirus pandemic or mitigating its impacts and finding specific solutions for current needs. The hackathon will thus bring together the state, companies, specialists and mentors.

“We are not creating anything entirely new. We value the private initiatives that are already operating here and we do not want to interfere with them. However, we want to provide support where it is needed and where there is interest in it. We have seen that this works abroad, for example in Estonia, Poland and Germany, where we found inspiration, and we would like to offer support from the state also in the Czech Republic. In addition to that, we are in contact with our counterparts from Poland, with whom we have agreed to share examples of good practice and, where appropriate, to interlink our mentor networks,” says Minister of Industry and Trade Karel Havlíček.

Thanks to the involvement of all relevant government bodies, the ministry and CzechInvest want to support projects that encounter obstacles to their implementation in a coordinated and flexible manner. Such obstacles include, for example, a shortage of financing, a lack of contacts, know-how and capacities, and long, drawn-out processes. The team behind the implementation of the hackathon and the operation of the Czech Network platform can help to overcome these obstacles and will attempt to introduce promising projects into practice as soon as possible in cooperation with companies, government and private experts in the given area, and visionaries.

The Czech Rise Up – Smart Measures Against COVID-19 programme, which was launched last week, and cooperation with the private sector are contributing to achieving this aim. Partners of the hackathon include, for example, Amazon AWS, IBM, Avast and Microsoft. The hackathon is also supported by Future Port Prague, Startup World Cup & Summit and the Institute of the Circular Economy. One of the key prerequisites for successful implementation of the hackathon is the involvement of regions and innovation infrastructure; for example, the South Moravian Innovation Centre will help to coordinate hackathon activities in the South Moravia region. Mentors with a technical background corresponding to the defined priorities and other parties interested in partnership across the broadest range of sectors are also welcome. At the same time, the state initiative intends to support the already ongoing activities of the covid19cz platform comprising Czech technology firms and IT enthusiasts and other platforms.

“We want to use not only contacts and capacities of project partners, but also companies from the database of the Czech Network platform. We will use the database to the maximum extent and thus bring together even more of those that are not only offering but also requesting capacities. For example, we can help a company that needs an IT expert to engage such an expert. Due to the fact that we are standing at the boundary between the public and private spheres, we have contacts to investors, small and medium-sized enterprises and start-ups, as well as various institutions and people across the state administration. We are thus able, for example, to help accelerate the product-certification process, as we did with the CIIRC CTU respirator,” says Patrik Reichl, CEO of CzechInvest.

“We want to match our country’s needs with the tremendous energy and volunteering in the IT segment and other sectors. We would like to give this activity a longer-term character and prepare other forms of support. In the future, this could aid the response to similar threats or any other threat to the state, citizens or information. One of the variants under consideration is the preparation of an incubation programme for start-ups and spin-offs that would also work with some of the ideas that come out of this hackathon,” adds Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Petr Očko.

Companies can get involved in the hackathon by submitting their project proposals via a simple web form at hackthecrisis.cz/en.

The proposals will subsequently be evaluated by a jury, a so-called ideaboard composed of experts and representatives of the academic sphere and state administration with a direct connection to the central crisis-management staff, which maps the states’ needs and priorities and will prepare brief feedback on the necessity of implementing the given project within 48 hours after submission of the registration form. The ideaboard will tentatively include, for example, CTU Rector Vojtěch Petráček, Government Commissioner for Information Technology and Digitalisation Vladimír Dzurilla, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Petr Očko and Vice-President of the Confederation of Industry of the Czech Republic Milena Jabůrková. If the project gets the green light, registered participants will be contacted by representatives of the Czech Network team, who will help them obtain, for example, computing capacities, consulting, financial support and connections to representatives of other companies and the state. At the same time, they will assist with administration so that the registered participants can fully focus on their projects.

About the Czech Network platform

The Czech Network platform gathers interesting projects that got started thanks to cooperation between the state, companies and entrepreneurs. Among other things, companies offer their projects and services to the state and to other companies via the platform. At the same time, they can also request assistance from other companies. The platform, whose purpose is to assist in the fight against the coronavirus, was launched by CzechInvest in cooperation with the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Ministry of Health and the Confederation of Industry of the Czech Republic. Its objective is to provide help primarily in the economic and business areas.

About the Czech Rise Up programme

The Czech Rise Up – Smart Measures Against COVID-19 programme has the aim of supporting the rapid introduction of new solutions that can help with the fight against the coronavirus and mitigate the impacts of its spread and the consequences of the crisis. The programme was established on the basis of an online survey of current needs that was rapidly conducted from 19 to 22 March 2020 in response to the extraordinary measures connected with the coronavirus pandemic.

About CzechInvest 

CzechInvest plays a key role in the area of comprehensive support for business and investments. The agency’s unique combination of regional, central and international operations ensures the integrity of its services and its ability to connect global trends with the regional conditions in the Czech Republic. One of CzechInvest’s primary objectives is the transformation of the Czech Republic into an innovation leader of Europe. CzechInvest is a state contributory organisation subordinate to the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic. The agency was established in 1992.

 

Contact to CzechInvest:
Jana Kohoutová
Spokesperson
+420 720 965 969
jana.kohoutova@zechinvest.org

Contact to the Ministry of Industry and Trade:
Štěpánka Filipová
Spokesperson
+420 724 302 802
filipova@mpo.cz