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Press Release

ITU takes ITU Digital World Awards online for 2020 to support innovative tech SMEs

Awards will recognize innovative tech solutions, build resilience and foster investment in creative SMEs in times of crisis

Geneva, 18 August 2020
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has opened applications for the ITU Digital World SME Virtual Awards 2020, which will take place online for the first time. The awards will help innovative small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) hone pitching skills, showcase solutions, make key connections, foster investment and gain valuable United Nations recognition, all by virtual means.

Open to any SME worldwide, the awards seek out innovations in four different categories:
  • Connectivity​
  • Smart cities, smart living​
  • E-health
  • Digital finance​​​​
All eligible applicants will be able to join a virtual programme of masterclasses, with shortlisted entrants then able to pitch live online to an expert jury of investors, business and tech specialists. Winners will receive UN recognition, online visibility, a certificate of achievement, and an access pass to join the ITU Digital World 2021 in Ha Noi, Viet Nam, in the last quarter of 2021 to take part in the event's SME programme in person.

"The COVID-19 crisis has underlined the importance of digital technologies in our lives, and now, more than ever, fast-moving, responsive and innovative tech SMEs need our help to keep their creative ideas flowing. I therefore encourage talented SMEs from across the globe to enter the ITU Digital World SME Virtual Awards, and benefit from this valuable platform of knowledge sharing, networking and visibility", said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. 

Speaking of the opportunities offered by the awards, the 2018 winner, Sabelo Sibanda, Co-Founder and CEO of Tuse Applications from South Africa, said: "​Winning the award has given us unparalleled exposure, access to markets, finance and new opportunities - it has truly been a game changer for our business." 

The deadline for applications is 5 October at midnight CET. Masterclasses for all eligible applicants will then take place in November 2020, followed by pitching sessions and the announcement of winners in December 2020. 

Full information about the awards is available her​​e, whereas further information on ITU Digital World 2021 can be found on this page.