Nº 10 2012 > ITU Telecom World 2012 | Special report

Winners of young innovator competition revealed at Telecom World 2012

The twelve winners of the Young Innovators Competition, launched by ITU in April 2012, were unveiled at ITU Telecom World 2012 in Dubai, which took place from 14–-18 October.

Winners of young innovator competition revealed at Telecom World 2012Winners of young innovator competition revealed at Telecom World 2012

With nearly 400 entries from 77 countries worldwide, the 12 submissions, which demonstrated the greatest possible social impact and potential for business success, were chosen as winners. There were eight core issues that entrants could tackle, all relating to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, and the winners and their respective initiatives were as follows:

  • Omaima Al Muraikhi with B.IT — GPS-based monitoring of blood in local blood banks (Oman, Healthcare).
  • Victoria Alonso Pérez with CHIPSAFER — An early recognition system for cattle diseases (Uruguay, Healthcare).
  • Linkesh Diwan with Crisis Communicator — A disaster management information communication system (United States, Healthcare).
  • Lucas Simão Oliveira with Descarte Correto — An e‑waste management project in the Amazon region (Brazil, Environmental Sustainability).
  • Ivan Klimek with Excalibur — A secure online authentication system (Slovakia, Cybersecurity).
  • Syed Ahmed with Gradberry — An online job portal for students and graduates (United Arab Emirates, Youth Employment).
  • Ludger Peters with HiYP — An app using Quick Response (QR) codes to identify counterfeit medicine (South Africa, Healthcare).
  • Rizky Ario with Isara — Sign-language learning programme (Indonesia, Human Rights).
  • Iram Tariq Bhatti with LabMagic — A virtual science laboratory environment for schools (Pakistan, Education).
  • Catherine Mahugu with Sasa Africa — An e‑commerce application for local craftswomen (Kenya, Empowerment of Women).
  • Kevin Kung with Takachar — A solid waste management system through ICT sensors (Kenya, Environmental Sustainability).
  • Anshul Tewari with Youth Ki Awaaz — An online platform and training programme for young journalists (India, Human Rights).

As part of their prize, the winners received seed funding (up to CHF 5000 for concepts and up to
CHF 10 000 for projects) with each finalist receiving a specific amount based on the needs expressed in her or his business plan and the results of a personal interview with their mentor to assess each finalist’s ability to implement their initiative.

The winners were also invited to participate in workshops on business skills and were able to pitch their innovations to investors. The workshops at Telecom World were organized by the programme’s exclusive Knowledge Partner, the American University in Dubai (AUD), with six professors from AUD’s Business School carrying out interactive sessions with the 12 innovators on topics such as Project Management Approaches for an Entrepreneur, Pitching, Entrepreneurship and the Law, Marketing for Entrepreneurs, Towards a Virtual Company, Lean Startup & Business Model Design for Startups, Key Ingredients for Success for a Social Entrepreneur, and Responsible Leadership.

“The past four days were very much like a four day compact accelerator programme for the innovators and we got first-hand experiences from people who have been there and done that,” said Anshul Tewari, one of the 12 winners. “We have had the opportunity to learn how to make business plans, and what is the right marketing strategy for our projects, and to receive one-on-one feedback from our mentors which has been unparalleled.”

Following the first three days of workshops and lectures, the Young Innovators were invited to participate in a pitching session at the ITU Telecom World 2012 Forum, where they had to present their intentions and ideas to investors, key stakeholders from the telecommunication industry, and other delegates. The pitching session followed a quick fire format, for which the innovators had earlier received training from a professional coach.

In order to increase the Young Innovators’ exposure so that they could engage with an even greater number of people, the Young Innovators Programme organized a day devoted to Youth and Development, where delegations from many countries had the opportunity to meet the innovators, interact with them and exchange views and ideas. This day culminated in a Youth and Leaders Debate, moderated by Ali Jazairy, Head, Innovation and Technology Transfer Section, World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), where key figures from the telecommunication industry, academia, and ITU were able to engage in dialogue with the young people and share thoughts and perspectives. Among the participants in the debate were ITU’s Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun I. Touré, Karim Lesina from AT&T, Dr Didier Fass from ICN Business School and LORIA Nancy University, Jean Philbert Nsengimana, Rwanda’s Minister of Youth and ICT and Osman Sultan, CEO of du, one of the leading mobile phone operators in the United Arab Emirates.

“As we move forward from here, I would like to see this programme grow to something which is much bigger, which gives very good access for all to government bodies, to investors, to public policy-makers and to people who can really give us peer-to-peer mentoring,” said Anshul Tewari. “Just being able to have that conversation was so enriching, and it signifies how this competition is something which is far beyond conventional ways of how mentoring is done.”

At the Forum Closing Conversation and Award Ceremony, the Young Innovators received a certificate from Dr Touré and promised to reunite again, at ITU World 2013, to provide an update on their projects.

For more information on the winners, visit http://world2012.itu.int/wt12winners.



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