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Eight Innovation Challenge finalists chosen to unlock the potential of contracting data

An aggregator of medicine prices, a red flag engine that automatically alerts watchdogs to irregularities, and a price-comparison tool that rates buyers and suppliers – these are just some of the solutions that will be developed by the eight teams selected as finalists for the Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA) Open Contracting Innovation Challenge 2021.

In total, 42 teams applied from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Moldova, which shows a huge interest in public procurement data and demand from both business and non-governmental organizations in those countries.

The Innovation Challenge was launched by the Open Contracting Partnership with the support of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the BHP Foundation, and the Open Government Partnership to help various actors take advantage of the rapid developments that are occuring in the public procurement environment in the EECA region.

More and more countries are improving their public procurement systems. Along with the well-known Georgian eGP system, Ukraine’s Prozorro, Moldova’s MTender, advanced electronic public procurement systems have been developed in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan in the last five years. And most of them provide access to machine-readable data on public procurement via API protocols.

This creates a variety of opportunities for government, business, and non-governmental actors. Open contracting has the potential to:

But this does not happen on its own. Procurement data should be properly structured, analyzed, and converted into tools and applications that are easy for the intended user to work with. That’s where the Innovation Challenge comes in.

The applications gave us insights into the field of open contracting and our community:

After a one-month support program, 17 teams (40%) significantly improved their project ideas and pitched them using structured presentations. It was very hard to pick finalists among such strong and motivated teams (more than 140 people were involved in the Challenge in total!). At the end of the day, eight teams from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Moldova were selected to develop their projects during the incubation phase.

Here are the teams and their projects: 




Participants will take part in online workshops, meetings with procurement practitioners, donors, and decision-makers in the region to strengthen their projects. They will receive financial support of US$5000 each and tailored incubation support during Phase 2 of the Challenge. During the 12-week development and training phase, their main aim will be the delivery of the minimum viable product of their IT solution.

In September, teams will pitch their solutions and three winners will receive $15,000 each to fully implement their projects. We are very excited to continue our journey with such strong and motivated teams and are looking forward to helping them to develop their instruments and promote their solutions. We are sure that such tools and instruments will contribute to the shift of procurement practices in the region to more data-driven decision-making, will empower investigative journalists and law enforcement, and increase civic awareness and engagement.

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