First launched in 2019 as an initiative of Atlas Network’s Center for U.S. and Canada, the 2022 Smart Bets class represents 10 rising and established stars in our network who have all been selected to receive $35,000 in funding, with the opportunity to compete for an additional $50,000 in the Investors Summit for Liberty, held the day after Liberty Forum & Freedom Dinner 2021 in Miami, Florida. The two organizations that took top honors in the 2019 Investors Summit—the Property and Environment Research Center and the Cardinal Institute for West Virginia Policy—went on to become finalists for the prestigious Templeton Freedom Award in 2020 and 2021, respectively.
The 2022 Smart Bets encompass three U.S. states and seven countries representing five continents. Without further ado, here are Atlas Network’s 2022 Smart Bets:
Advocata Institute | Sri Lanka
AdvocataX: Easy Startups
Any new business startup in Sri Lanka has to navigate century-old laws and complicated bureaucracy just to get off the ground. According to research conducted by Advocata Institute in 2019, one-third of small businesses remain unregistered, which limits their access to finance. Advocata is working to create a policy reform package that includes a model start-up law, which will include a prototype that facilitates a digitally enabled process to register businesses. Advocata hopes that this systems-design approach to ushering in business reform will demonstrate to lawmakers the benefits that changing the system could yield.
Association Multi | Bosnia & Herzegovina
Digital Transformation of Bosnia & Herzegovina
Association Multi seeks to foster the digital transformation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Specifically, Multi believes digitizing public administration, operations of public and private companies, and society in general is key to improving economic and other freedoms of its citizens. They intend to achieve this through a campaign of policy development, education, advocacy, media, and reform to existing policies and regulations.
Better Cities Project | Nevada, United States
Freedom Should Be at Home Downtown
Better Cities Project (BCP) is devoted to the “last-mile” in public policy, highlighting the strategic need for local government reform and an eager audience of elected officials needing solutions. BCP’s Freedom Should Be At Home Downtown coalition program leverages locally focused policy ideas from across the freedom movement into a package of ready-made model ordinances and research.
Centro de Estudios para el Desarrollo | Uruguay
Making Uruguay the First Developed Nation in Latin America
After 15 years of leftist governments, Uruguay is at a crossroads in its history. Despite stable political institutions, significant barriers to economic freedom and open markets exist, and a new, heterogeneous government leaves open the door for necessary reform. Centro de Estudios para el Desarrollo (CED) is spearheading a three-part reform initiative to improve Uruguay’s competitiveness: 1) opening the economy to increased international trade, 2) freeing up regulation of the labor market, and 3) reducing costs in markets with very low competition and artificially high costs. After making progress on the first two, CED has set its sights on developing a Guidebook for Economic Reforms in Uruguay to outline necessary reforms and provide a roadmap for implementation.
Fundación Eléutera | Honduras
For a Clean Sea and a Prosperous Economy
For the last 15 years, between August and November, the town of Omoa on the Atlantic Coast of Honduras, has been flooded with large amounts of garbage that originates in Guatemala City. This is due to poor municipal management of solid waste. This environmental externality persists despite the repeated failed promises to fix the situation made by both governments, and this drives a lot of citizens to migrate to the United States. Fundación Eléutera has a “green market” plan to improve the situation for the 50,000 people living in Omoa through a mix of public and private lands, property rights, and the rule of law.
Human Rights Foundation | New York, United States
HRF’s Online Activist Academy
The Human Rights Foundation (HRF)’s Online Activist Academy seeks to develop a robust, engaging curriculum to support human rights and pro-democracy activists working in the 95 countries ruled by authoritarian regimes. This curriculum will be tailored to the needs of activists and civil society organizations working in countries under authoritarian rule, including building their capability for financial stability through accessing cryptocurrency funding, and it will be fully accessible in an online learning platform for activists within the HRF and Atlas Network communities.
Lebanese Institute for Market Studies | Lebanon
Lebanon NOW—Lebanon News and Opinion Website
Lebanon faces with several interrelated crises, and its political class continues to peddle fake news and misleading data to justify these failures and promote more of the same. The Lebanese Institute for Market Studies (LIMS) is building a digital media platform that provides credible data, in-depth analysis, reliable information, and free-market recommendations for the Lebanese economy. Their team plans for the LIMS website to become the go-to online platform for journalists, think tanks, international organizations, policymakers, and groups seeking meaningful change in Lebanon. The resources LIMS provides will allow greater transparency, fact checks, civic empowerment of citizens, and informed decision-making.
Nkafu Policy Institute | Cameroon
Nkafu Fellows Program
Nkafu Policy Institute has operated for and steadily grown in the last six years, developing a strong bench of talented young analysts. Their next frontier is to attract highly experienced senior policy wonks to engage directly with high-ranking policymakers across a wide range of issues. These fellows—each with high-level technical expertise—will anchor core programs at Nkafu, including economic affairs, health policy and research, governance and democracy, and peace and security. This will include creating and facilitating core products such as the annual Nkafu Budget Report the monthly ON POLICY Magazine, quarterly public Nkafu Debates, and a platform for non-political debates to examine issues related to Cameroon’s economic development.
Pelican Institute for Public Policy | Louisiana, United States
Defining Louisiana’s Future
Many think tanks struggle with finding an audience to consume their research and become activated to champion reform. Pelican Institute has innovated in this space with their owned-audience strategy. Building off the success of their “A School That Fits” education reform messaging campaign, which took off online and eventually was cited in a PBS debate between gubernatorial candidates, Pelican Institute is looking to build their owned-audience strategy to effectively shape the debate about policy in Louisiana.
Health Care Choice
SecondStreet.org seeks to inform Canadians about health reform options that could improve outcomes for patients—including allowing patients the additional option of purchasing insurance using non-government providers of their choosing. SecondStreet.org will continue to produce ground-breaking research into how many Canadians die each year while waiting for government care and tell stories about the real people impacted by the shortcomings of the existing system.