Startups and judges sharing – Innovation Space – ITU Telecom World 2019
Photo credit: ITU
The UN International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Telecom World completed their World Awards 2019 measured on the dimensions of: idea, business model, innovative use of ICT (Information, Communication Tech), social impact, scalability, presentation pitching skills, and team. As a judge, I was able to obtain insights into this amazing experience.
Winners are announced in several categories, and then an overall winner.
Best business model, VOKACOM from Ghana
Most innovative use of ICT, Immersion4 from Switzerland
Greatest social impact, UX from Mozambique
Most scalable solution, Prime Molecular Technologies from South Africa
The overall Global SME Excellence Award sent to Immersion4.
World Awards Winners with ITU leaders and judges
Photo credit: ITU, Zsigmond Laszlo
I interviewed participants to get their views.
Awards judge, Melissa Sassi, startup program manager at IBM, noted “Digital intelligence is a critical component of every profession, industry, as well as e-government services; however 49% of the world is still offline and large swathes of the world lack digital skills (ITU, 2019). As the Chair of the Digital Skills Working Group within IEEE, people often ask how to define digital inclusion. Similar to what we saw at ITU Telecom World 2019, digital inclusion equates to meaningful connectivity or combining access, skills, and utilization of technology to create outputs such as economic empowerment, financial inclusion, and the like. You can find valuable resources to help anyone of any age become digitally intelligent here. Such skills and access create opportunities for entrepreneurs to become startup founders. One of my favorite parts of ITU Telecom World is engaging in one-on-one mentorship, similar to the work I do with the program I head globally…IBM Hyper Protect Accelerator. This year, I was incredibly impressed to see 50% of the startups with female founders. In my role as judge in the startup competition, I represented IBM to help founders with their entrepreneurship journeys, business models, mission statements, value propositions, audience segments, and technical roadmaps. I not only had an opportunity to mentor an exciting group of entrepreneurs, I came back with ideas of how we could advance solutions available through IBM and beyond. I look forward to attending ITU Telecom World in Vietnam next year, empowering the world with digital skills, inspiring more female founders, and helping startups to innovate and scale!”
Ahmed Rashad Riad, ITU Telecom, who coordinates the awards made these observations, “At ITU Telecom World, we understand that SME success is key to ICT industry growth and socio-economic development throughout the world. That’s why we’re working to help high-tech SMEs scale up their business activities and global impact – as a key part of our unique international platform of ICT public and private sector leaders. One key element of the event is the ITU Telecom Awards Programme, which recognizes the most promising ICT-based solutions with real social impact. Exhibiting or sponsoring SMEs enter the Awards to win UN recognition, international visibility, partnership and networking opportunities, as well as access to mentorship and peer networking within the Awards alumni network. Onsite pitching in front of an expert jury forms a key evaluation stage for the Awards entrants. Our jury committee includes investors, venture capitalists, and technology innovation experts, providing an opportunity for SMEs to promote their businesses to a wide audience of decision-makers, investors and leaders. The SME Programme of activities during the event also includes capacity-building workshops and investor-led masterclasses covering a wide range of topics, including impact investments and blended finances, Intellectual Property Rights for tech start-ups, pitching techniques and media partnerships. We believe that in addition to funding, training and knowledge, building strong relationships with the people here is fundamental to the growth of SMEs. It was a great experience to work on such a programme for ITU Telecom World 2019 in Budapest, and we are looking forward to ITU Telecom World 2020, taking place in Hanoi, Viet Nam, as well as other ITU events.”
Neil Sahota, multi-awarding winning innovator and author of “Own the AI Revolution” provided this comments as judge, “ Telecom World was all about SPICE: Sustainability, People, Innovation, Culture, Entrepreneurship. The ITU did a stellar job in showcasing not only the new technology coming out but how this will impact society for the better. From member nations discussing their initiatives to entrepreneur’s pitching their social enterprises, it was a pleasure to see how people are wielding these emerging tech tools to make a positive difference for their community and the world as a whole.”
Immersion4 founder Serge Conesa
Photo credit: ITU, Zsigmond Laszlo
Immersion4 founder, Serge Conesa, went on to make these comments post conference, “ Immersion4, winner of Most Innovative Use of ICTs (Information, Communication Tech) and of the Global SME Excellence award, a privately held company founded in 2017 based in the Canton of Vaud, has developed a new cooling solution for electronic & Datacenters which today consume already more than 10% of the world’s electricity. Servers and connectivity’s are immersed in ICETM Coolant, an insulating fluid which collects and transports the dissipated heat to be transformed back into energy. As “Data is Energy” the wasted heat can be efficiently collected, transformed and reused as an energy source. Immersion4 customers are benefiting from a massively reduced cooling energy bill, lower acquisition costs, space savings, using a truly universal and sustainable system. For the first time, data storage, computing power, accessibility and connectivity become independent of their energy sources and can be built locally contributing to local economies and the communities’ QoL “Quality of Life.” Immersion4 DTMTM technology simplifies the complexity of implementing data centers through a distributed architecture without any up front sizing reducing drastically initial CAPEX & OPEX and offering an ROI in less than a year. This global recognition from world leading experts of the telecom/communication technologies is unexpected giving a global visibility and credibility. ITU and Immersion4 are now part of the same journey. The challenge we are currently facing is global and I hope in coming together, WE can make time our friend to reach our utmost goal to enhance everyone’s life in a world based on eco conservation and environmental conservation. As leading contributors to this world we have the duty to drive it for the better as there is no planet B.”
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