Technology has been a lifeline for many European businesses and communities throughout the pandemic—from helping people find accurate health information and buy groceries online to finding new ways to learn and stay connected with loved ones. But equally, the pandemic has also widened the social divide, putting disadvantaged groups at risk of being further left behind. As economies embark on a path to recovery, creating an accessible digital future for everyone will be vital.
To help fill that need, today we are launching our first Google.org Impact Challenge dedicated to Central and Eastern Europe. With this initiative we are further committing to the region, and we will be distributing €2 million in grants to organizations that are working to bridge the social and digital divide to promote inclusive economic growth and recovery. (For those who are interested, applications are open now until March 1, 2021.)
Make sure everyone in CEE has access to digital opportunities
This work is particularly important for Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), where governments, businesses and communities have outlined their ambition to make digital a driver of economic prosperity for the more than 100 million people who live in the region. The CEE countries are working together as part of the Three Seas Initiative to make that vision a reality, and we are doing our part to help.
Last year Google pledged to help 10 million people and businesses across Europe, Middle East and Africa digitize, grow and find new careers. In the CEE region specifically, we helped 250,000 people grow their digital skills or transition to a digital-focused career in 2020 alone.
Similarly, just in the past year Google.org has also given more than €1.5 million in individual grant funding to several charitable organisations in Central and Eastern Europe that are working to improve digital-enabled education and economic opportunity. We’ve been inspired by how these organizations give back to their communities. Digital Nation helps facilitate remote employment in disadvantaged areas across Romania through offering a virtual training program tailored to IT jobs and supporting small businesses through digital upskilling. And other organizations, like the Czechitas initiative in Czechia, Women Go Tech in Lithuania and Riga Tech Girls in Latvia, are all working to build a digital future for all and helping connect women to professional opportunities in tech.
With this Google.org Impact Challenge, we’re excited to see all the new ways organizations can positively impact their communities and build an inclusive digital future for all.
Apply with your bold ideas by March 1, 2021
Applications for the Google.org Impact Challenge for Central and Eastern Europe are now open. We’re looking for initiatives that aim to rebuild the economy with social inclusion at its core. The ideas can be big or small and at any level of maturity—whether it’s a new idea or a well-established effort poised to scale. Applicants must apply with projects that are charitable in nature, meet the application criteria, and be based in one of the following countries: Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.
Eligible organizations (including nonprofit organizations, for-profit companies and academic institutions) can apply for support for their charitable projects until March 1, 2021 at g.co/ceechallenge.
We’ve asked a distinguished panel of experts to advise on the selection of the boldest and brightest project ideas. More than a dozen academics, leaders and civil society activists from across the region will help decide which applicants will receive between €50,000-€250,000 in grant funding and possible support from Google to help with their initiatives.
We hope this support will encourage social innovators across the region to think big about how they can use technology to help individuals and communities in Central and Eastern Europe thrive in a digitized economy.