Winners of the Regional Open Data Challenge

June 27, 2024

Regional School of Public Administration (ReSPA) and the United Nations Development Programme in Serbia (UNDP) have organized the Regional Open Data Challenge for the first time this year, open for participants from ReSPA member countries – Serbia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina. This competition aims to promote innovative reuse of open data to enhance transparency, accountability, inclusiveness, and efficiency in service design and delivery.

After the evaluation of the submitted applications, five teams shared a prize fund of $19,000, awarded in four competitive categories: Mobility and Transportation Data, Workforce Mobility, Tourism Atlas, and Demographic Trends. The winners are: Block Build Bor from Serbia (first place, $9,000), Montex Elektronika from Montenegro (second place, $5,000), Jordan Simonov from North Macedonia (third place, $3,000), and Enrriko Kapiti from Albania and Citrus Codes from Montenegro in the category of “idea”, where winners were awarded with equal prize of $1,000. 

According to the rules of the competition, applicants could apply with their innovative ideas in the category of “solution”, where they would be the ones to develop the idea into the solution, competing for the bigger prize, but also in the category of “idea”, if the team or individual person does not have resources to develop the solution, but are aware of different ways in which open data can be used for the benefit of the community. Out of five winning ideas, three applicants will transform their ideas into the open data-based solutions, for the common good - Block Build Bor, Montex Elektronika and Jordan Simonov.

The "Block Build Bor" project plans to develop an AI bot that will provide tourists with personalized information and assistance via platforms such as WhatsApp, Viber, Telegram, and Facebook Messenger. The bot will use open data to provide real-time information about local attractions, accommodations, and events. This project will enhance transparency and accessibility of information, enabling tourists to make informed decisions, offering personalized recommendations, and encouraging community engagement through sharing content and insights.

Montex Elektronika will create a travel planning platform that will provide data to digital nomads, thereby promoting digital transformation and economic development in Montenegro. The platform will support the digital nomad attraction program by 2025, coordinated by the Ministry of Public Administration. The plarform Montenegro Tourism Atlas will provide detailed information about cultural landmarks, natural attractions, transportation, and events, as well as general information about public services, employment, local resources, and legal issues, facilitating the stay and work of tourists and digital nomads.

Jordan Simonov proposes a project addressing migration challenges in the Western Balkans, aiming to provide a platform that will automatically analyze and display migration data for the countries in the region, with special focus on North Macedonia. This project responds to the growing trend of international migrations and challenges such as brain drain and structural issues hindering the region's development. The project will enable evidence-based decision-making and create opportunities for future use and benefit of all social actors.

In addition to the selected teams that will develop solutions based on their ideas, the following applicants were also awarded, in the category of “idea”:

Enrriko Kapiti, from Albania, proposed an idea to reduce traffic noise in Shkodra, northern Albania, using sensors that could detect level of noise and screens that alert citizens and drivers in real-time when noise exceeds permissible limits.

Citrus Codes, from Montenegro, proposes using open data on unemployment rates, job seeker profiles, and average salaries to help new investors find the best locations to start a company.