Innovate Czechia: Czech coronavirus-fighting projects to be awarded 10 million crowns in funding

On Monday, June 22, eight winners of the Hack the Crisis project will be awarded 10 million crowns in funding

Jason Pirodsky

Written by Jason Pirodsky
Published on 19.06.2020 13:33 (updated on 19.06.2020)

czechinvest

Eight winning finalists from the ongoing Hack the Crisis project will split 10 million crowns in funding as the result of the Hack the Crisis project, an initiative of CzechInvest and the Czech Ministry of Industry and Trade to promote technology innovation to aid the current coronavirus pandemic.

Out of more than 200 projects that have taken part in the Hack the Crisis hackathon, 15 finalists who will be competing for the prize money, provided by Hyundai, have now been revealed. Eight winners will be announced during a gala ceremony at Prague’s WeWork coworking space on Monday, June 22.

The 15 finalists include those that promote health aid that will directly assist in saving lives, including CoroVent’s low-cost, mass-produced ventilators and the Give Blood project, a nationwide campaign to attract young blood donors through a mobile app and point system for giving blood.

“The largest share of the projects, 10 out of 15, comes from the healthcare section,” CzechInvest CEO Patrik Reichl stated in a press release. “Four projects have been selected by the social section jury, one comes from the business section.”

Other projects relate to the economic and travel impacts of the coronavirus crisis, and include Hunter Games, an interactive educational game that promotes distance learning, and Kaleido, which will provide senior homes with Oculus VR headsets and special programs that simulate guided-tour world travel.

“At CzechInvest, our long-term mission is to support entrepreneurship and investments, with one of our main goals being to turn Czech Republic into a European innovation leader. Events like this year’s hackaton can help us in this pursuit,” Reichl added.

The Hack the Crisis hackathon was announced by CzechInvest and the Czech Ministry of Industry and Trade in April, and over the past two months has encouraged local entrepreneurs to come up with innovate ways of combating the current coronavirus crisis with projects that can provide help not only in the Czech Republic, but across the globe.

The 15 finalists will now compete in a Pitch Competition in which each finalist will have three minutes to convince a jury that their project is deserving of support. Jurors will take into consideration both the presentation itself and the potential impact of the project in the fight against coronavirus.

The jury that will determine the winning projects is made up of Petr Očko (Deputy Minister for Digitalization and Innovation, Ministry of Industry and Trade), Markéta Přenosilová (Director of the Startups and Innovative Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Division, CzechInvest), Petr Michník (Head of the Legal Department and Public Relation Department, Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Czech), Karel Dobeš (Chairman of the board of directors of the Czech Association of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises and Crafts) and Zuzana Nehajová (InnovEYtion Hub Leader, Ernst and Young).

“When we prepared this unique virtual hackathon three months ago and consulted it with colleagues from Poland, Estonia and many partners here in the Czech Republic, we had no idea what interest we would arouse,” Očko remarked in a press release.

“We consider the more than 200 projects entered into the competition to be a very good result and we hope that a large portion of them will succeed, even if they don’t end up on the podium.”

The Pitch Competition will determine the eight winners who will share the 10 million crowns in investment funding, with the top three projects being awarded 3 million, 2 million, and 1 million crowns, respectively, and five runners-up netting 700,000 crowns each.

The ten million crowns in prize money is provided by Huyndai, namely Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Czech and Hyundai Motor Czech.

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“We are proud to be the partner of the hackathon and to be able to support the unique ideas that help fight the coronavirus pandemic,” says Petr Michník, Head of the Legal Department and Public Relation Department at Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Czech.

“We are curious to see who will become the winner, as each of the top 15 projects offers something unique.”

The final event will be live streamed live to the public on Monday, June 22, 2020 from 17:30, on Facebook, LinkedIn and the Czech News Agency’s portal České noviny.

Members of the public can also vote for their favorite project on social media to determine the winner of a special audience award.