SME Programme


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

SME flyer
SME - header image

Programme activities

ITU Telecom World Awards

SME - awards

Enter your SME for the Global SME Awards (and the Government Award, if you are on a National Pavilion) recognising 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 - b2b dialogue

Pitching sessions showcase the best small companies competing for the Global SME Award at ITU Telecom World in a fast-paced and dynamic environment on the showfloor. Participating SMEs promote their business to a wide audience of event attendees, including an expert jury of investors, deal-makers and analysts who select the Global SME Award winners.

  • Assessment based on business model, innovative use of ICT, scalability and social impact
  • Onsite pitching sessions take place on Monday 9 and Tuesday 10 September
  • Pitching in the form of 5 minute presentation with maximum 10 slides, followed by 10 minutes Q&A

SME masterclasses and workshops

SME - exhibition

Focus on the business attributes that matter in our expert-led workshops masterclasses providing practical and inspirational guidance on capacity-building, skills, product development, funding and investment. Themes and topics include:

  • SME Workshop: Storytelling for startups: creating a pitch that captures media and audience
  • SME Workshop: Imposter syndrome: a ten point-plan for banishing your internal doubts about your accomplishments. You are not a fraud! Join tech leaders from IBM and Microsoft to hear about how they overcame their fears of being imposters and turned their biggest fears into their superpowers.
  • SME Workshop: Addressing the challenges of access to finance and investment: meeting the common challenges faced by SMEs, especially those owned by women, in accessing finance and investment. ITC SheTrades and ITU will introduce a short presentation followed by an interactive mentoring session.
  • SME Masterclass: Impact investing and blended finance: delivering the financing necessary to support SDG-related projects require new innovative approaches. This session explores how impact investing and blended finance can provide a sustainable option for statups and SMEs.
  • SME Masterclass: Ready to go global? Intellectual Property in the ICT sector:  you must have the right strategy for your intellectual property rights in place before going global, but how can you protect it? Join experts from Eurochambres for facts and practical information on how your business can benefit from the right IPR strategy.

InnovationSpace activities

SME - exhibition

Network with your peers, take part in digital showcasing, meet other exhibitors, set up bilaterals or demos with potential investors, buyers, and partners in the InnovationSpace at the centre of the showfloor. Showcase your SME, innovative project or ICT solution with an independent stand or in a National Pavilion in the event exhibition – and enjoy the benefits of international visibility, targeted networking and investment and partnership options.

Forum debates

SME - forum debates

Join panel debates and dialogues bringing together leaders from government and industry with SMEs from around the world to explore the impact and opportunities of smart digital transformation.

Find out more

Networking & matchmaking

SME - networking

Network with our ITU Telecom World audience to unlock partnership potential, make connections and close deals with networking and matchmaking activities running throughout the event, including:

  • Structured matchmaking platform for SMEs to connect with relevant buyers and investors
  • Informal networking events and social functions such as coffee breaks, luncheons, dinners and happy hour
  • Central meeting point in the InnovationSpace on the exhibition floor, providing space for bilaterals and demos
  • Powerful online directory of attendees and networking options through the popular event app
Find out more

Who’s it for?

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

  • High-growth SMEs 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, education, healthcare, finance, entertainment and media

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 Telecom World Awards
  • Visibility through onsite showcases and pitching sessions
  • Invitation for your SME CEO to network in the LeaderSpace Lounge

SME success stories

  • Semse Apps develop unique applications for neurofeedback devices which can help our ufor sers learn to...
    SME, Telecomworld 2019
    Semse Apps
  • Our main reason for coming to ITU Telecom World was to...
    SME, Telecomworld 2019
  • I speak from my experiences as guiding more than $10 trillion...
    SME, Telecomworld 2018
    Stephen Ibaraki, Chairman, Managing General Partner REDDS Capital
  • Taking part in the ITU Telecom World Awards – and winning...
    SME, Telecomworld 2018
  • ITU Telecom World was a great platform to provide visibility to...
    SME, Telecomworld 2018
  • We enjoyed our participation in the event and received extensive, relevant...
    SME, Telecomworld 2018
  • I attended ITU Telecom with my co-founder as exhibitors in order...
    SME, Telecomworld 2018
    Tuse Applications
  • ITU Telecom World was a great platform for us as an...
    SME, Telecomworld 2018
  • Modalku was nominated by the Ministry of Telecommunications and Information of...
    SME, Telecomworld 2017
    Modalku, Indonesia
  • Participating in the ITU Summit has been very good for WASPAG...
    SME, Telecomworld 2017
    WASPAG, Ghana
  • I was present at ITU Telecom World with my own booth...
    SME, Telecomworld 2017
    Covenant University, Nigeria
  • Our aim in taking part in ITU Telecom World 2016 was...
    SME, Telecomworld 2016
    Academic Bridge
  • I was amazed by the traction and attendance at ITU Telecom...
    SME, Telecomworld 2016
  • ITU Telecom World was a great platform to showcase our solutions,...
    SME, Telecomworld 2016
  • The exposure to the latest thinking and future trends in ICT...
    SME, Telecomworld 2016
    Health Q2
  • ITU Telecom World provided us with a great opportunity to showcase...
    SME, Telecomworld 2016
    Ulala Lab
  • Winning the ITU Telecom World Award brought our company greatly increased...
    SME, Telecomworld 2015
    Japan Battery Regeneration