The Young Innovators Competition is looking for talented young social entrepreneurs using technology creatively to meet a range of  real-life developmental challenges.

If you are aged between 18 and 30 and have an idea or start-up that aims at solving one of our challenges, enter the competition for a chance of joining us at ITU Telecom World in Doha for a four-day accelerator programme of pitching sessions, workshops and mentoring – as well as the opportunity to win up to USD 10,000 in seed funding.

Our unique interactive platform is open to young people from anywhere in the world to engage with the challenges and to contribute, comment, refine and evolve ideas.

For any further questions, check out our FAQ page. As with every competition, Terms & Conditions apply.

Like, comment on and share Young Innnovators news on FacebookFlickr

The Challenges

We are launching a range of Challenges in the months leading up to ITU Telecom World 2014. Each Challenge is focused on using innovative technologies to solve real-life developmental issues and improve lives around the world.

Challenge 4


In partnership with the IEEE IoT Initiative, we’re looking for the best ideas for new businesses and innovations that can take advantage of the potential of the Internet of Things (IoT) to be used for social good and thus improve lives of people all over the world. The term IoT refers to technologies which connect and interact digitally with physical objects throughout the world. It has the potential to radically alter areas such as agriculture, healthcare, manufacturing and customer service. According to speakers at ITU Telecom World 2013 its value is estimated at over USD14 trillion, representing between 15 and 25 billion devices by 2015.  So far, advancements in IoT have been seen as tools for the developed world, as they are expensive and make heavy demands on infrastructure, and within a commercial framework. But IoT has tremendous potential to be harnessed for social change in developing and developed economies alike, from reducing famine risks to enabling smart grids or increasing healthcare options. We’re looking forward to hearing your ideas and innovative solutions on how to use the IoT to improve the lives of people everywhere.

Challenge 3


The ITU Telecom World Young Innovators Competition in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO) was looking for innovative ideas on how information and communication technologies (ICTs) can help smart cities to slow down or mitigate the effects of climate change. This might have included novel technologies or combinations of existing technologies, services, and systems which would shape a smart city. It may have focused on monitoring of or reporting on climate change, mitigating or adapting the impact of climate change on society, or on changes in technology and society that lead to a greener community.

By working with transportation and public spaces, health infrastructure and public health efforts, education, civic engagement, ICTs and green technologies, young social entrepreneurs can help to create innovative solutions that better educate, empower and connect citizens to transform their cities. Some of these innovations take the form of physical devices, such as smart grids and infrastructure; some could be software, such as big data analytics, or services and processes, such as education or community building programmes.

Challenge 2


Challenge 2 sought 18-30 year old entrepreneurs from around the world with social start-ups making use of open source technologies for disaster management. This could include disaster preparedness, early warning, emergency communication and response, and recovery from natural disasters.

We were looking for communication technologies, teaching tools, new equipment to save lives during a disaster, and new tools to help clean up, recover and rebuild after the event. Examples of open source technologies used in disaster management may include 3D printing, UAVs, Raspberry Pi and Arduino  – any innovative approach welcome.


Challenge 1


In partnership with Ooredoo, Challenge 1 sought the most promising tech start-ups aimed at inspiring the creation, aggregation or digitization of local content, particularly in non-Latin scripts. This may involve local script content, or resolving the technical challenges of digitizing non-Latin scripts through innovative technologies, or fresh uses for older technologies such as optical character recognition voice recognition or translation software.
Accessible, appropriate and locally-relevant content empowers people to become active members of the internet economy and to benefit from knowledge and opportunities. The availability of digitized records renders public services more accessible and efficient in preserving and archiving of unique local data. It is also a vital enabling condition for the development of various locally based e-services, as well as areas such as education, research, trade, financial services and healthcare.
Locally- generated content in local languages contributes to local economic development, and preserves cultural heritage and linguistic diversity online. Recent studies show that only 5% of the over 7000 languages of the world are currently on the Internet. Overcoming this content divide is as important as overcoming the digital divide.



The winners of each challenge will join us at ITU Telecom World 2014 in Doha, where they’ll take part in a full programme of entrepreneurship workshops and mentorship sessions with industry leaders, as well as networking, showcasing and pitching opportunities at the InnovatorSpace, a dedicated pavilion on the event showfloor.

Challenge 3

Making Sense of Sensor Technology – Vratul Kumar
With the help of smart sensor technology and a distributed network of intelligent sensor notes, this is a design for a network of waste disposal bins that automatically alert the local municipality when full.  The wireless sensors also create interactive maps of full rubbish bins in order to optimize collection, and include data on traffic congestion and sewage overflow monitoring. All this data is delivered wirelessly and in real-time to the appropriate authorities.

Matti – Jeisson Díaz
Matti is a social application which mitigates the negative effects of climate change in real time using assisted GPS navigation. It includes maps of recycling points and reports of natural hazards, is multilingual, and is easy to navigate with searches based on address, category, or point of interest.  The app will carry out campaigns on climate change awareness and incentivise people who donate batteries or other electronic waste by awarding them points. These points will then transfer into discounts on their utility bills.

Challenge 2

Social Media Coordination (SoMeC) – Hemant Purohit, India
SoMeC is a web-based application with an optional mobile interface, which automatically finds and contacts key people and organizations on social media in near-real time to improve the coordinated response, situational awareness, and public engagement of disaster response organizations. Using natural language processing, network analysis and user behaviour modelling, SoMeC identifies social media influencers in order to engage directly those with relevant skills and occupations, and to leverage their networks to disseminate important information.

NAJI – Your Mobile Is Your Savior – Sahar Pakseresht, Iran
NAJI (Persian for “saviour”) is an application and bracelet which locates people missing during natural disasters, potentially saving their lives. A wireless body sensor network (BSN) in the bracelet sends the location and heartbeat of the user to the NAJI application on the user’s smartphone or nearest NAJI-enabled device via Bluetooth. The information is then sent over the mobile network to the remote monitoring centre, which coordinates the relevant response, aid and services.

Challenge 1

TeleMuseum – Lorna Okeng, Uganda
Telemusuem aims to preserve and digitalize African local content, culture and history often traditionally passed on through the ancient informal education of storytelling. Local script content and analogue voice content from various sources will be aggregated and converted into fully independent, virtual cinema using a range of technologies from optical character recognition to abstract graphics algorithms. This is bringing storytelling to life – and preserving local history for generations to come.

Incept – Safouan Ben Jha, Tunisia
Incept provides an interactive, multilingual solution for museums, historical and archaeological sites via augmented reality, including language translation, interactive guided tours, and adaptive content – all through a standard smartphone. By presenting content in a highly attractive, interactive manner, it enables you to experience history as never before – such as translating ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics on tombs or pyramids into your own language via the smartphone in your hands, or watching the construction of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.

Selection Committee

Each Young Innovators Competition challenge has a Selection Committee of experts tasked with identifying the winner among all the submitted applications.  Five main criteria will be used to determine the winning entry: innovativeness,  business potential,  a clearly identified social value proposition, response to the challenge, and likelihood of success. The Selection Process takes place after the deadline for each challenge and results will be published approximately one month later.

Find out more about the members of the Selection Committees for
Challenges 1, 2 & 3

Challenge 4 Selection Committee

  • Zhenzhong Chen, Ph.D., Professor, School of Remote Sensing and Information Engineering, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China
  • Richard Chuang (Ph.D., Research Scientist), Systems and Software Research, Intel Labs, Intel Corporation
  • Sabrina Coccia, CEO, International Expert on Smart Cities, SmartMetropolis
  • Raffaele Giaffreda, Editor in Chief, IEEE IoT  eNewsletter
  • Latif Ladid, Research Fellow, SnT, University of Luxembourg and President, IPv6 Forum
  • Roberto Minerva, IEEE IoT Initiative Chair
  • Stuart Sharrock,  Forum Curator, ITU Telecom World
  • Shao-Wen Yang, Ph.D., Senior Research Scientist, Intel Labs, Intel Corporation

Young Innovators Competition 2013 winners

Chosen from over 600 applications representing 88 countries, ten finalists of the ITU Telecom Young Innovators Competition 2013 joined us at ITU Telecom World in Bangkok last November. This year, they’ll be back with us in Doha with updates on their projects, peer feedback for the 2014 winners, showcasing and networking.

  • Al Dalilah represented by Ahmed Fawzi from Qatar – a satellite assisted mission control and first response system
  • Kumba Connect represented by Keston Perry from Trinidad and Tobago – an interface connecting unemployed Caribbean migrants with technical skills based in the UK with Caribbean-based companies
  • M-Tambula represented by Brenda Katwesigye from Uganda – providing the elderly with easy access to public services using Interactive Voice Response over mobile phones
  • Open Curriculum represented by Varun Arora from India – an online platform for local K12 educational material
  • SiSwApp represented by Timothy McDermott from Australia/ Swaziland – an English-SiSwati translation app aimed at migrant workers
  • Broad Street Maps represented by Hannah Judge from the USA – producing individualized healthcare maps to support health organizations
  • Land-Sea Digital Bridge represented by Nguyen Tran Hoang from Viet Nam – an HF digital radio communication system connecting fishing boats and shore stations
  • NduruApp represented by Thomas Kioko from Kenya – a one-stop mobile app to manage all aspects of road safety
  • SalvageHub represented by Oscar Ekponimo from Nigeria – a web and mobile platform to reduce food wastage at individual and retail levels
  • Tudlo Disaster and Emergency App represented by Bella Donna Econar from the Philippines – a multi-purpose information platform for emergency and disaster situations