SME Programme


At ITU Digital World, we understand that SME and startup success is key to ICT industry growth and socio-economic development throughout the world. That’s why we’re working to help tech SMEs and startups scale up their business activities and global impact – as a key part of our international platform of ICT public and private sector leaders.
SME programme

Who's it for?

Our platform provides support, visibility, investment and networking potential to tech SMEs and startups from around the world looking to take their solutions or products to the next level.

  • High-growth SMEs and startups with solutions in the market and ready to expand
  • ICT-specific products or services; or ICT-dependent business model
  • Solutions or products with real social impact
  • Focus on enablers such as broadband connectivity, IoT, AI, 5G
  • Vertical sectors including smart cities, ehealth, digital finance, connectivity solutions, edtech, sustainability and smart solutions in energy, transport, planning, food management and commerce.

SME online masterclasses

Wednesday 26 May

14:00-15:30 (CEST, Geneva)
Fundraising for tech startup founders

Register now

International Trade Centre

One of the main challenges encountered by tech startup founders is the lack of funding - whether at the ideation stage to develop a minimum viable product, or at the point when they are ready to scale and grow abroad. This 90-minute training session explores the various sources of funding founders can try to tap into, including grants, loans, business angels, venture capital, crowdfunding and more. Participants will receive practical advice on how to prepare and apply for different sources of funding and the mistakes to avoid, alongside concrete examples of good practice.


International Trade Centre


Adramé Ndione,
Founder, Vertis Capital


Martin Labbé,
Tech Sector Development Coordinator, ITC

Wednesday 14 July

15:00-16:30 (CEST, Geneva)
Quality customer service & innovation


The premier global organization known for excellence in customer service is the Disney Company. Dr Jim Poisant has created and run well-received seminars on the Disney Approach to Quality Service and the Disney Approach to People Management, analysing how the company has achieved this excellence. Drawing on this experience, and on his current role as Secretary General of the World Information Technology & Services Alliance, Dr Poisant explores the key role of innovation and excellent customer service in building success - and presents eight different ways to innovate.


Dr James H. Poisant,
Secretary General, The World Information Technology and Services Alliance


Martin Labbé,
Tech Sector Development Coordinator, ITC

The benefits

  • Valuable international exposure
  • Connect to curated audience of buyers and investors
  • Access leading academics, coaches and business mentors
  • Peer networking in InnovationSpace
  • Structured matchmaking activities
  • Share best practices, solutions and ideas
  • Expert insight and understanding of critical ICT issues
  • Gain recognition by entering the ITU Digital World Awards
  • Visibility through onsite showcases and pitching sessions
  • Invitation for your SME CEO to network in the LeaderSpace Lounge

SME Programme activities

SME masterclasses

SME Programme - Masterclasses and workshops
Focus on the business attributes that matter in our expert-led masterclasses providing practical and inspirational guidance on capacity-building, product development, funding and investment.
See our 2020 Masterclasses

ITU Digital World SME Awards

SME Programme - ITU Digital World Awards

Enter the SME Awards  recognizing innovative ICT-based solutions with real social impact – and gain international visibility, UN recognition, partnership, networking and mentorship opportunities.

Find out more

Pitching sessions

SME Programme - Pitching sessions

Pitching sessions showcase the best small companies competing for the ITU Digital World SME Awards to a global audience. Our expert jury of investors, innovators and analysts select the Awards winners based on:

  • Business model
  • Social impact
  • Innovative use of ICT
  • Scalability

Forum debates

SME Programme - Forum debates
Take part in panel debates and interactive sessions bringing together leaders from government and industry with SMEs to explore digital transformation in depth – from digital health to new connectivity solutions, the role of innovation hubs, smart cities and much more.

SME success stories