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, healthcare, digital finance, connectivity solutions, agritech and sustainability

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

Programme activities

ITU Digital World Awards

SME Programme - ITU Digital World Awards
Enter the Global SME Awards (and the Government Award, if you are on a National Pavilion) recognizing innovative ICT-based solutions with real social impact – and gain international visibility, UN recognition, partnership, networking and mentorship opportunities.
Find out more on the Awards

Pitching sessions

SME Programme - Pitching sessions

Pitching sessions showcase the best small companies competing for the Global SME Award at ITU Digital World in front of our wide audience of event delegates. Our expert jury of investors, and analysts select the Global SME Award winners based on:

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

SME masterclasses and workshops

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.

InnovationSpace activities

SME Programme - InnovationSpace activities
Showcase your SME, innovative project or ICT solution with an independent stand in the InnovationSpace or within a National Pavilion in the event exhibition. Network with your peers, benefit from international visibility, and set up bilaterals or demos with potential investors, partners and buyers

Forum debates

SME Programme - Forum debates
Join 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.

Networking and matchmaking

SME Programme - Networking and matchmaking

Network with our ITU Digital World audience to unlock partnership potential, make connections and close deals throughout the event, including:

  • Structured matchmaking platform connecting SMEs with relevant buyers and investors
  • Informal networking events and social functions
  • Central meeting point in the InnovationSpace on the exhibition floor
  • Powerful online directory of attendees through the popular event app

SME success stories