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.

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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 3


The ITU Telecom World Young Innovators Competition in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO) is 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 include novel technologies or combinations of existing technologies, services, and systems which would shape a smart city. It may focus 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. The best initial ideas will be presented at the WHO Conference on Health and Climate Change on August 27 – 29.

Challenge 2


Challenge 2 seeks 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 are 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 – we invite you surprise us with your innovative approach.


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 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 Challenge 1 & Challenge 2

Challenge 3 Selection Committee

  • Mr. Jose Maria Diaz Batanero, Coordinator Inter-Sectoral Activities, ITU
  • Dr. Diarmid Campbell-Lendrum, Climate Change and Health Team Leader, World Health Organization
  • Dr. Carlos Dora, Coordinator of Interventions for Healthy Environment of the World Health Organization
  • Mr. Hani Eskandar, Lead Coordinator for ICT Applications
  • Mr. Bosco Fernandes, Owner and Senior Strategic Independent Consultant at Communication Consultancy (COMCON)
  • Mr. Ahmed Laiali, Incubation Center Section Head, ictQATAR
  • Ms Revital Marom, Head of Market and Consumer Insight (MCI), Alcatel-Lucent, France
  • Mr. Stuart Sharrock, Forum Curator, ITU Telecom World
  • Mr. Lucas Simão, founder of Descarte Correto, Winner of 2012 ITU Telecom Young Innovators Competition
  • Mr. Rohit Talwar, CEO, Fast Future
  • Mr Martin Venzky-Stalling, Senior Advisor, Science & Technology Park, Chiang Mai University

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