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ITU Digital World 2021 Awards

The ITU Digital World Awards recognize the most promising innovative tech solutions with real-world social impact.

As the UN specialized agency for ICTs with 193 Member States, over 700 private sector entities and 155 years of industry expertise, ITU understands the critical role of digital technologies in accelerating social and economic development in emerging and developed markets.

Our Awards celebrate the innovation and creativity of ICT-based applications and initiatives changing lives for the better around the world – and provide an international platform to:

  • Highlight best practice
  • Share ideas on using tech for development
  • Network with peers, mentors and industry
  • Mobilize investment
  • Create new business opportunities for ICT solutions for social good
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About the Awards

The ITU Digital World 2021 SME Awards are open to any start-up or SME using tech creatively to solve socio-economic challenges – anywhere in the world. Applications for this year’s Awards have now closed and we are working hard on shortlisting the candidates to pitch online before our expert jury.

We have received the highest number of applications ever in the history of the Awards, so the competition will be exciting. The finalists will go head-to-head in live online pitching before the Awards Ceremony announcing the winners on 1 December:

Pitching 1: Connectivity – Tuesday 26 October
Pitching 2: Education Technology – Tuesday 2 November
Pitching 3: Smart Cities – Tuesday 9 November
Pitching 4: EHealth – Tuesday 16 November
Pitching 5: Digital finance –Tuesday 23 November

See full event calendar

Read our full Awards Terms & Conditions. Any queries? Contact us directly.​

Our jury

A distinguished jury of experts will select a shortlist of SME Awards applicants to pitch their solutions based on social impact, innovative use of ICTs, business model, scalability and environmental sustainability.

Winners in each category will be selected from this shortlist and announced on the final day of the event during the high-profile Awards Ceremony.

Join our jury:if you are interested in using your expertise with start-ups and in different industry categories to support the best innovative tech SMEs with positive social impact, please click the link below or contact us directly at participate.telecom@itu.int.

Jury nomination form

Read our Jury Terms & Conditions. Any queries? Contact us directly.​

ITU Digital World SME Awards 2021 Categories

The SME Awards are an opportunity to recognize excellent innovative tech solutions, build resilience and foster investment in tech SMEs in five categories:
 
 
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Connectivity

innovative solutions to increasing universal access to the internet.
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Smart cities,
smart living

using digital tech innovatively to improve urban life and beyond in areas such as energy, transport, planning, food management and commerce.
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E-health

using technology to improve healthcare through remote diagnosis and treatment, care in the home, monitoring and prevention.
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Digital finance

ICT-based initiatives focused on increasing and improving access to the economy for the banked and unbanked.
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EdTech

Innovative tools to expand educational programmes and capacity building, including training and relevant content in local languages

The benefits

  • Win UN recognition as an innovative ICT4D solutions provider

  • Benefit from international visibility before, during and after the event

  • Network with peers, industry experts, mentors and UN representatives

  • Take part in the SME Programme of capacity building and skills workshops, business matchmaking and networking events

ITU Digital World 2021 - Digital World Awards
Where you've applied from in 2021
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ITU Virtual Digital World 2020 SME Awards Winners and Finalists

Our 2020 winners and finalists
Our 2020 jury
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.
Sabelo Sibanda, Co-Founder & CEO, Tuse Applications

2019 Awards

Global
Industry Awards

for the most promising innovative solutions from large entities, either individually or in partnerships
Winners

Government
Award

for the National Pavilion at ITU Digital World with three or more of the most promising innovative SMEs present at the event who have applied for the Global SME Awards
Winner

Host Country
SME Awards

for the best and most innovative SME or solution from ITU Digital World’s host country
Winners
Recognition of
Excellence
Certificate
for the best innovative exhibitor within each National Pavilion at ITU Digital World
Winners

Award winners' success stories