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Startups: The International Telecoms Union is waiting for your pitch

   

ITUTwo weeks ago, ITU (the International Telecoms Union) launched a global competition that seeks to give 60 Young Innovators and Digital Innovators the chance to travel to its flagship event, ITU Telecoms World in Geneva (October 24-27). Entrants will be able to pitch their ground-breaking ideas to leaders of the world’s ICT industry. Techzim would have wanted to publish this sooner however we have just found out about it. And it’s not too late!

The deadline for applications to be submitted is 15 September 2011.

The three entrants from each category judged to have the best all-round concepts by an online vote of delegates attending ITU Telecom World 2011 will share prize money totalling over CHF 50,000 (US $40 000) to help them realize their digital dreams.

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Industry mentors will also continue to work with the six winners after the event to help them turn their vision into reality.

Would-be innovators simply submit their idea online in one of two competition categories:

Young Innovators: Entrants should be 18-25 years or age, and their idea must have been developed independently of any project with their current employer. The best ideas from around the world will win finalists an all-expenses-paid trip to Geneva, where they will benefit from two intensive days of training on how to best pitch their concept, culminating in a final ‘quickfire pitch’ at a grand final event on October 25. ITU is actively encouraging submissions from women and those still looking to enter the workforce.

Digital Innovators: Partnering with an NGO or other not-for-profit body: Entrants are encouraged to submit their ideas for new ways in which ICTs could help further their causes in areas like environmental sustainability, improved access to health and education, digital accessibility or the alleviation of poverty. The best partnerships will be brought to Geneva and trained on how best to pitch their developed idea, before making their final pitch on October 25.

Entries will be judged on innovation, feasibility (technical implementation/cost) and applicant experience (ability to deliver). ITU Telecom World’s online community will initially vote on their favourite submissions, with the 60 most popular ideas from each category then submitted to a high-level selection panel of independent experts from the public and private sector, who will choose the finalists.

In addition to the chance to win one of six cash prizes, the competition is designed to offer finalists an enriching experience that will help them better succeed in the competitive world of ICT development. As well as the chance to build a valuable network of new professional contacts worldwide, all contestants will have their pitches filmed and uploaded to YouTube, Facebook and the ITU Telecom website, to give them and their great ideas maximum global exposure.

They will also be encouraged to blog about their experiences and their ups and downs on the ITU Telecom website during the two-day pitch development process, and to upload their own photos, videos and audio podcasts.

According to ITU’s Secretary-General, Dr Hamadoun Touré, “The Young Innovators and Digital Innovators competition draws on our long-standing expertise in facilitating youth events and harnessing the power of fresh, digital thinking . Applications, services and products driven by next-generation networks can truly transform the everyday life of millions. These competitions offer a unique and exciting opportunity for young talent and digital innovators to receive the support, recognition and seed funding needed to turn promising digital ideas into valuable, working contributions to a better world.”

The deadline for submissions is 15 September. Young Innovators can enter online at: http://world2011.itu.int/young-innovators. Digital Innovators working with an NGO or not-for-profit can enter at: http://world2011.itu.int/node/add/idea.


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