Atlas Network is excited to announce the finalists of this year’s Think Tank Shark Tank — Europe competition, which is sponsored by the Smith Family Foundation and will be held during Europe Liberty Forum from May 9-10 in Athens, Greece. Three think tank professionals will compete in a showcase of the region’s most exciting new projects. The winner, chosen by a panel of judges comprised of thought leaders in the industry, will receive a $10,000 prize in project seed-funding.
The finalists are Michael Iakovidis (Greek Liberties Monitor, Greece), Dmytro Lyvch (EasyBusiness, Ukraine), and Natalia Melnyk (Bendukidze Free Market Center, Ukraine). The judges will be Nikolaos Monoyios (Atlas Network, United States), Anastasios Spanidis (Generation Y Group, Greece), and Kathryn Washburn (Atlas Network, United States).
Michael Iakovidis, Co-Founder, Greek Liberties Monitor (Greece)
Project: The Greek Daily Show
Greek Liberties Monitor is seeking funding for its Greek Daily Show, a local version of the popular comedy talkshow that will provide a libertarian, free-market take on current events. Much of the news in Greece is presented in an overtly partisan manner, which Iakovidis believes polarizes current events and does not focus on the root causes of such events. The proposed format of the show will be a five-minute weekly coverage of current affairs presented in a comical fashion with a one-minute segment on a hot button issue on Greek society. The initial run of the project will cover eight episodes over two months.
“The Greek version of The Daily Show will be a weekly show aimed at taking 2-3 of the most prominent news items and actually getting to the facts of the news,” said Iakovidis. “In a country where mainstream media have been largely demolished by the left-wing government or are owned by specific business concerns, being able to offer a non-statist, non-crony capitalist perspective will allow us to influence public discourse and highlight points of view which are now largely ignored in favor of populism and partisan reporting. It’s the Greek Daily Show—informing people, one punchline at a time.”
Dmytro Lyvch, Head of Analytics, EasyBusiness (Ukraine)
Project: Building a Well-Educated Society to Support Farmland Reform
EasyBusiness seeks funding in support of farmland reform in Ukraine. Due to the moratorium on free farmland sales in Ukraine, 7 million farmland owners (15 percent of the total population) cannot freely dispose of their property, which EasyBusiness maintains is a direct violation of human rights. EasyBusiness will build popular awareness of reform through a combination of short documentary videos, online training, and offline tools that can help these 7 million Ukrainian landowners “get one step closer to the civilized world.” EasyBusiness estimates the launch of a fully liberalized farmland market in Ukraine will bring an additional $100 billion USD of economic growth.
Natalia Melnyk, Communications Director, Bendukidze Free Market Center (Ukraine)
Project: Economics at School: ENVY
Bendukidze Free Market Center (BFMC) is seeking funding for Economics at School: ENVY, an educational course for middle school students that is based on the “Economics in 31 Hours” textbook developed by the Lithuanian Free Market Institute. Teachers and middle school students will have access to a comprehensive, modern, and innovative economics textbook and teacher’s manual. By promoting economics education in middle school, BFMC plans to reach more than 500,000 school children a year.
“Bendukidze Free Market Center's Economics at School: ENVY is an educational project aimed at introducing an enjoyable, innovative, visual and youth-minded approach to economics education in Ukraine,” said Melnyk. “By transforming the way economics is taught in middle school we are looking to help rear the students into freedom-loving, self-sufficient and critical thinking individuals, build up resistance to illiberal and populist tendencies and break away from our Soviet past.”