Google Presents Impact Challenge Aimed at Croatia, Wider Region

Lauren Simmonds

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As Poslovni Dnevnik/Darko Bicak writes, Google will award a total of two million euros to selected bidders from here in Croatia and ten other countries in the wider region to support their various charity projects. Technology has helped and saved many European companies and communities during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic – from helping people find the right healthcare information to shopping online to finding new ways to learn and keep in touch with loved ones. This highlighted the need to create an affordable digital future for all, especially at a time when economies are on only just embarking on the expectedly long road to recovery.

Last year, Google committed to helping 10 million people and companies across Europe, the Middle East and Africa digitise, grow and find new careers. In the region of Central and Eastern Europe, Google helped 250,000 people in 2020 alone, and more than 20,000 people in Croatia, to improve and develop digital skills or move to a digitally oriented career.

Now Google is looking for initiatives aimed at rebuilding the economy with social inclusion at its core. All non-profit as well as for-profit organisations and academic institutions from Croatia are free to apply for the Impact Challenge until March the 1st, 2021 via The projects must be charitable in their nature, they can be large or small and at any stage of development – whether it is a new idea or a well-established project that is ready for further development and growth. Applicants must be established in one of the following countries: Croatia, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.

”I welcome this initiative because I believe it can help reduce the gap in online skills that widened during the pandemic. Equal opportunities in the labour market for the entire population are key to a healthy society. That’s why, here Croatia since back in 2016, we’ve been participating in the support of digital education and the development of digital skills. The Impact Challenge is another important step in supporting the development of these important skills among disadvantaged groups,” said Josko Mrndze, Google’s Director for the Adriatics region.

The Impact Challenge once again proves Google’s commitment to Croatia and the region of Central and Eastern Europe and to supporting charitable projects that seek to improve digitally supported education and economic opportunities. Last year alone, provided more than 1.5 million euros through individual grants to several charities in the region to support these goals. Over the past two years, has awarded more than 450,000 euros in grants in Croatia.

Google, in collaboration with the INCO group and a committee of distinguished experts that includes academics, leaders and civil society activists from across the region, will select projects to support.

”I’d like to emphasise that the Impact Challenge isn’t just about attractive funding. Instead, it’s about exchanging great ideas and unleashing the potential of as yet undiscovered organisations that can greatly impact society with their innovative ideas. Analysing exciting ideas and proposals, as well as meeting extremely interesting people from NGOs and experts was enough to accept the invitation to be a member of the jury,” said Hrvoje Josip Balen, co-founder and member of the Board of Algebra.

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