PO SocialBoost – is the Ukrainian tech NGO that connects startup community and civic tech expertise with the government to solve national challenges and create breakthroughs for developing economy. SocialBoost promotes open data and coordinates activities of more than 1,000 IT-enthusiasts, biggest IT-companies and government bodies in Ukraine through socially meaningful IT-projects, related to e-government, e-democracy, e-services and open government data. SocialBoost has developed dozens of public services, interactive maps, websites for niche communities, as well as state projects such as data.gov.ua. SocialBoost builds the bridge between civic activists, government and IT-industry through technology.
Today SocialBoost is located at 1991 Civic Tech Center that in 2017 was made possible thanks to support from Omidyar Network. Located downtown Kyiv, 1991 Civic Tech Center is positioned as The Heart of Civic Tech in Central and Eastern Europe. Building bridges between civic activist, government and startup community and community of investors, civic tech center serves as a center of competence, co-working space, number of meeting rooms and set of infrastructure for civic tech startups and government officials to work together on socially meaningful issues.
In 2014 in the support of IRF (Soros Foundation) and Microsoft, SocialBoost launched Open Data Reform in Ukraine and developed National Open Data Portal (data.gov.ua). The tool is now adopted by the National e-Government Agency and is used by every major government institution to process and publish tons of public data in a machine-readable format.
In 2016 PO SocialBoost was funded by USAID (DOBRE and TAPAS consortiums), Western NIS Enterprise Fund, IRF (Soros Foundation) and Microsoft to establish one of its flagmanship projects — 1991 Open Data Incubator (1991.vc) in three cities of Ukraine.
1991 is a non-profit, equity-free and the biggest incubation program in Ukraine. Being behind the successful Open Data reform, 1991 is supported by Ukrainian Government and helps to launch data-rich startups for anti-corruption as well as re-ignition of key sectors of the economy: infrastructure, energy, agriculture, public sector in a cooperation with the corresponding Ministries and industry leaders. Since 2016, 1991 Incubator launched 50+ startups that later have raised over $1,000,000 both in grants and venture capital.
In 2017, as a part of its duties within DOBRE consortium SocialBoost is conducting IT audit and develop a set of IT tools and API’s for 75 Consolidated Communities to increase public engagement and transparency of local councils. The system name is DOSVIT and it is coined from Ukrainian word sunrise. It’s a set of critical IT tools for amalgamated communities such as constructor of website, participatory budget, open budget, e-petitions as well as set of API’s and SDK for independent developers.
In 2016 with the support of IBSER and USAID, SocialBoost developed Participatory Budget system for city halls (e.g. kyiv.pb.org.ua). The system helps local governments automate participatory budgeting, making the process secure and transparent for both public sector and civil society. Having used the tool, local governments has already allocated more than 200M UAH for citizen’s projects. It’s now been used by more than 800,000 people in 32 cities of Ukraine.
In 2014 SocialBoost has developed and launched together with Ukrainian government: National Open Data Portal data.gov.ua, Open Government Partnership Portal (ogp.gov.ua). SocialBoost has co-authored the Open Data Policy of Ukraine.
Social Entrepreneurship Hackathon in 2014 was organized by SocialBoost together with IDCEE. Best and biggest hackathons organized by SocialBoost on Open Data: 2012, 2013, 2014, — and niche ones like human trafficking, human security issues, and hackathon on IDP’s organized with USAID. During these events civic-tech activists created applications on their own and were then supported by government and/or CSO’s. Some projects are developed by SocialBoost itself, like ReDonbass mapping website and mobile application to track damaged infrastructure at the east of Ukraine – produced by SocialBoost, supported by UNDP and State Agency for Donbass Reconstruction in Ukraine.
SocialBoost aims at developing and supporting creation of Civic Startups, developing Volunteer Network, development of Open Government Data.
…the creation of tools created that address issues of the public concern
…with individuals who want to get involved in initiatives to develop ICT applications for wide civic engagement
…new relationships between IT experts and civic actors
…our stakeholders to get funds and supports for their online initiatives on social issues
…creation open data sets and legal base for government
…new or adapted applications/technologies for civic engagement get incorporated into corresponding government bodies
SocialBoost focuses on technological approach to implementing key principles of democracy. Changing the approach of civil society to civic monitoring, making more government data open and citizens creating a range of ICT applications that are incorporated by government is a the right way to transparency, openness and accountability. This approach gives a great segmentation of socially meaningful issues and lets civic activists and CSO’s to attach themselves to issues more specifically and directly, as civic society will have more access to government data and official decision makers. The project consists of three basic components:
We build a network of committed citizens with proved skill and commitment. We also address key-issues with responsive ICT-applications that will be developed by citizens and incorporated by government.
SocialBoost helps civic activists and CSO’s to engage with government through a hackathon-based development of socially meaningful ICT applications aimed at increased civic engagement and solving socially relevant problems. Based on open data these applications are aimed at data visualization and bringing civic monitoring to the next level. It’s a hackathon mechanics — civic actors, IT-professionals and government officials develop their projects over a weekend resulting in prototypes and MVP’s (minimum viable products) done in a competitive environment. Winning projects are eligible for seed funding. As hackathons involve three different groups: civic activists/CSO’s, IT-professionals and government officials, — unique value is created and negotiated, thus easily adopted afterwards by city halls and ministries in terms of Open Government Partnership Initiative and/or similar programs.
We develop and implement a learning cycle for key government institutions and launch a permanent consultancy hub for state officials.
As the number of engagements increases dramatically they form a network of civic hackers, CSO’s and interested peers in both national and local government. This is 21st century capacity building on a crowdsourced scale. SocialBoost helps CSO’s and government benefit from sharing the knowledge and expertise of IT-volunteers who are opinion leaders with the government. Civic activists and CSO’s become change agents driving numerous advisory/expert meetings, conferences and trainings that boost CSO’s and make government engage with citizens and thus become better from inside.
We create Open Government Data Portal and make data updates regular and regulated by corresponding law.
SocialBoost helps civic activists and CSO’s to have more data available via Open Data Portal that will be created by civic hackers and supported by government with regular data supply and available on demand and for free. This gives NGO’s and civic sector as well as IT-professionals to create data based applications using free API interface and get regular updates of available official government data-sets. On the other hand this open dialogue leads to a mechanism for forming request for specific data-sets to be unveiled by government.