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Vilnius was one of the two EU cities that managed to make positive social impact with a new idea

Vilnius and Rotterdam shine in the Global Mayors Challenge

Vilnius and Rotterdam shine in the Global Mayors Challenge

Their governments were the boldest in Europe in tackling the multi-faceted challenges of today

Yesterday, 18 January, Bloomberg Philanthropies announced the 15 winner cities of the Global Mayors Challenge – the fifth edition of the competition and the first to cover the entire planet. Each of these cities was deemed exemplary at formulating innovative and ambitious plans to tackle the multitude of crises caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

There were 631 applicant cities, out of which 15 (from 6 continents and with a total of 30 million residents) were chosen by the jury. Among them, two cities are in the European Union: Vilnius (Lithuania) and Rotterdam (the Netherlands).

Rotterdam’s social impact                                      

During the height of the pandemic, Rotterdam consultants asked themselves a question: How do you pay for social projects without being dependent on subsidies? The context there was the rising unemployment and shrinking public budgets for welfare support.

So, as an answer, the Rikx platform was created. It lets social entrepreneurs post their projects on it where private investors can see and fund them. The cool thing is that this also gives a chance to the companies to show off their social concern side and even get tokens, similar to the system for “offsets” in the carbon market.

I am delighted that Bloomberg has selected Rotterdam as one of the 15 best innovative cities in the world,” stated the city’s mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb. “And that they recognize the potential of Rikx for further development. We are on the right track to building social connections in our cities. 

Having a job is very important. Together with involved entrepreneurs in our city, we can make a difference. And with this support from Bloomberg, I am convinced that Rikx can achieve important social results in and outside Rotterdam.”

Vilnius opens up education opportunities

Vilnius is reorganizing its education system to make it more resilient and relevant to the future economy by creating the “Vilnius as an Open School” initiative. It is aimed at addressing the lack of educators’ digital skills, overcrowded public schools, and outdated education systems. The “Open School” pushes the boundaries of when and how education should be delivered, taking it out of the context of a classroom.

Mayor Remigijus Šimašius promised to use the prize of 1 million dollars to expand the concept and to use inspiration from digital platforms, such as Netflix and Airbnb.

Each of the winning cities gets 1 million dollars and 3 years of know-how support from experts to implement and improve on their winning idea.

The other 13 winners of the recent Global Mayors Challenge are Amman, Jordan; Bogotá, Colombia; Butuan, Philippines; Freetown, Sierra Leone; Hermosillo, Mexico; Istanbul, Turkey; Kigali, Rwanda; Kumasi, Ghana; Paterson, New Jersey, U.S.; Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.; Rochester, Minnesota, U.S.; Rourkela, India; and Wellington, New Zealand.

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