A team of Czech IT specialists have just launched a summer “hackathon” to give the 2.5 million Czechs living and working abroad something that has long been missing - a comprehensive new platform where they can meet, socialize, seek partners for start-ups or plan new projects. While there are many local support networks for Czech communities in different parts of the world the Czech.Global network would be the first of its kind to serve Czechs and friends of the Czech Republic on many different levels while strengthening ties with their homeland. I spoke to the head of the team creating Czech.Global, Tomáš Studeník, about the added value of this new network.
“Czech.Global is a platform to connect Czechs around the world but also friends of the Czech Republic, or anyone who has a positive attitude to this country and the reason why we are building it, over the summer, is that we realized that Facebook or other social media platforms don’t solve everything. If you are looking for someone who could help you to establish a presence and find a home in a new country, find a job or start a business venture in a different country, there is no easy way to reach your compatriots, currently. That is why we are building this platform that would make it possible for professionals working abroad or people who want to start a project in a new country to have a word about it with fellow-countrymen. Currently there is nothing and over the next two month we will build a platform that should make this possible.”
What are the priorities in building such a platform and making it successful enough for people to want to join, because I am sure they are on many social networks already?
“Yes, we are all digitized on all sorts of platforms –so why have a new one? We believe that being able to discover the wealth of talent Czechs have around the world will empower them, will make it possible for new projects to be launched, for new connections to be made for new families to appear and it is only through the power of community that such a small nation as we are – the Czechs – can thrive in the world and have a larger say in global affairs.”
Do you feel that the potential of Czechs abroad is not harnessed, that it is not being tapped enough?
“That’s right. The potential is there and everybody agrees, no matter what field we are talking about – science, technology, engineering – that there is potential, but what we have not been able to do is to make the connection, create international teams and perhaps also have more courage and more pride in sharing it. This should make it possible for the talent to be harnessed in a much better way globally.”
“Anyone, no matter what expertise he or she may have. We are looking for developers, designers, but also experienced users. So if you are a potential user of this platform we want to have you on board to test it, fine-tune it, tell us what you would expect from such a project, what you miss on current platforms. It is very valuable for us to learn at the beginning about what your pains are, what the benefits should be for the community. So please, no matter where you are, who you are, give us a hand -go to Czech.Global where you can sign up and we will be happy to include you in this amazing project.”
When do you expect it to be up and running?
“We are building a prototype that should take two months to build –the first version will not be perfect –it is a work in progress, but we are hoping that by the end of this year there will be a fully functional platform, with a substantial number of users, alive and kicking.”
The Czech.Global network is being created with the support of the Czech Foreign Ministry and both the creative team and the ministry’s special commissioner for expats will be glad to get feedback from Czech expats, Czechs working or studying abroad or friends of the Czech Republic in the course of the next two months. This will be a platform for all Czechs abroad. Tell us what your priorities are. The contact address is www.czech.global or write to firstname.lastname@example.org, the ministry’s special commissioner for expats.
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