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Gov2Project – virtual incubator for Government 2.0 startups.

12/05/2011

At the beginning of the year our team has launched an online incubator for e-government startups in Russia – Gov2Project.ru. As always there were a lot of opinions that such initiatives are hopeless in Russia, etc. Everyone tells me that gov2project is too naïve to be on the market and particularly on Russian market. I would agree with their opinions and arguments only after they could suggest something that works. We need to apply a lot of effort and hard work to start things up. But that niche is quite logical for the market especially in terms of regional development.

Why do we need startups in the e-government sector?

First of all, there is no perfect eGov model anywhere in the world.

Civil projects solves 2 problems: involving people into development and qualitative evaluation of public services and reducing costs. And we should realize that citizen’s projects are something that could be in demand by society but is not their priority. That is not public service development, but might be a “crowd” monitoring of these services.

So we decided to find all projects that could become commercially successful and are socially important and place them on one platform. Russia has great possibilities – a large number of developers that could work on different gov 2.0 projects. Our IT could greatly improve situation in the eGov sector.

So is there a light in the end of the tunnel?

Of course there is a light at the end, if we will be able to build the model properly. There are great technological projects and then investor buys the technology not the content component. Russian strength is the best developers in the world. It is assumed that amount of functional projects will be much bigger than media-PR projects.

I can provide you with not so many examples, but they are indicative. For example – StreetJournal project – the authorities are very loyal to that project. Samara city mayor began to actively use this project.

Another great examples are russian-fires.ru and holoda.info. In the beginning for some reason the authorities did not actively respond to that projects. But recently, Grisha attended the meeting with the President as the founder of one of the best Gov2.0 practices. Thanks to Grisha and Nastia the crowdsourcing in Russia has become more relevant and completely constructive.

Iven Begtins’ rosgospending now affects all public procurements.

I’m really glad that on our last conference “Government in XXI century” none of the speakers in my section had to tell about what else projects we have and what for they are needed, etc. Public servants were talking by themselves  about their experience on working with gov2.0 initiatives. At the International IT Forum 2020 in Nizhniy Novgorod Sergey Kuchin presented his favorite startup and immediately made a PR-campaign for the guys and provided funds.

Commercialization

Which projects can be profitable? Example – bus62.ru project which was developed in Ryazan. There is a technology within the project that allows the monitoring of public transport movement equipped with GLONASS sensors. The technology is polished and there is now a big company interested in that startup. Another example. Academy of Sciences made ​​the project of automatic sign language translation. If the project is going to be developed as a technology it could be sold to Finland  where they have a commitment “to develop projects for people with disabilities» and just one purchase by the Ministry could make the project commercially successful.

What projects can be or can not yet become commercially viable, but generate a great user interest and activity and can form the basis for new development? «Gde Casino» or «Roskomvzyatka», «Ot menta«, etc. Some of them are being built on the principles of open source and crowdsourcing model, so they can grow up to infinity.

How gov2project is going to work?

We collect these projects in our virtual incubator: firstly, they need a single entry point, and secondly, the consistency of the models, which can only be assessed in several projects. Some of them require lobbying at the government level, and it is necessary to create the system and monitoring, and strategic communications for such projects.

Today, the scheme works as follows. We are looking for and add to the list all of the existing projects to date in the history of Russia. And of course, will be glad to hear from your project, and we’ll fill you in our list. Placing your project on the site includes not only involvement in the All-Russian Gov 2.0 movement, but also lobbying your interests at the state level and the inclusion in the folder the Russian practices, which can be presented at the international level. Moreover, we hooked up a number of industry experts, who evaluate and comment on each case. Today there are more than 30 projects already collected on the Gov2Project . You can review the full list here.

Moreover, we plan a number of offline activities to promote the projects and attract new developers. Plan to fill a new section for mobile applications, and stories of «Copycats».

In general, the site works under the scheme of incubator. We do not just collect the information about projects, we help them to find funding, to choose an adequate business model to create a network of partners, to bring the project to the international market (if the project is really a breakthrough and solves the problem existing in the external markets).

We are doing and have done networking projects by ourselves. We want to create an environment, framework, working rules. We are engaged in fundraising for that projects. We want to actually move from words to deeds. And everything here depends not only on us but from you. Therefore, I feel strange often knocking-out texts from you. You are the evangelists of your projects. We create simple tools, which could help in creation of constructive startups.

How the media can help?

One of the tasks we have set is the promotion and popularization of all the participation projects. Because they often require not only financial assistance, but support and volunteers, which can be found by maximizing the coverage of the usefulness and importance of each of the projects.

In addition, we are launching a special project for the media and will publish a digest of recent news about the development of civil cases in Russia. There is a separate topic on the project, which tells of the world’s most successful case studies and practices, we publish video interviews with the creators of the best projects and produce the world digest.

Upcoming Initiative — Code For Russia

We have analyzed the logic of gov2.0 projects development in the market and the public servants attitude to these projects. It is therefore more than appropriate to use the experience of our overseas colleagues. But even they do not have the great popularity of the program. Therefore, we changed the mechanics in compliance with Runet and conditions of the Russian Federation. And now happy to announce that we will soon start CodeForRussia — initiative. We now have pilot regions, which will start a series of pilot programs.

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