FFollowing extensive preparations for the COVID-19 pandemic, the Lithuanian fintech sector is playing a pivotal role in the country’s economic recovery.

It comes as the country was one of the first in Europe to declare a state of emergency back in February, prior to the first case even being reported.

A government-backed initiative ‘There is No Quarantine on the Internet’ has already united more than 700 SMEs on a single online marketplace. The initiative itself was among many developed during the ‘Hack the Crisis’ hackathon in mid-March. The event gathered some 1300 participants tackling challenges like infection tracking, remote education and business digitalisation.

Paulius Tarbūnas, head of Fintech Lithuania, an organization uniting Ondato, Inventi, Etronika, Metasite and other Fintechs that took part in Hack the Crisis, commented: “This hackathon was so much different from other events of such type, as the challenges the teams were dealing with are so pressing. 

“It is great to see that some of the ideas passed the test and are already online. These include School at Home, a platform implemented by Inventi that lets people donate unused computers to kids in need. So far, more than 1,000 laptops and other devices were collected.”

Jekaterina Rojaka, Vice-Minister of the Economy and Innovation of the Republic of Lithuania added: “A crisis like this shows the true nature of Lithuanian entrepreneurs. The way they are utilizing the know-how accumulated in more peaceful times for the benefit of the medical staff and trouble-struck businesses is really astonishing. And having an agile public sector – one that is quick to incorporate digital solutions, at times in 24 hours, Lithuania makes sure initiatives don’t go to waste.” 

Šarūnė Smalakytė, Head of Rockit, a Vilnius-based Fintech hub concluded on the initiative: “In the last couple of years, the Lithuanian Fintech scene has evolved into a true community, with frequent events, gatherings and joint projects. This crisis shows the strength and potential this community has. I do not doubt that, by helping others, many of these companies will come out of the quarantine even stronger.”