600 entries for the Young Innovators Competition…and counting

Regina Sipos, ITU Telecom Innovation Focal Point Blog

The deadline is now up and the entries for the ITU Telecom World 2013 Young Innovators Competition are all in!

It has been a rewarding experience for us as organizers to see such a great response to our six global challenges. When we were defining the challenges with the help of our partners, we were hoping that young people would not be intimidated by the global scale and magnitude of these developmental problems and would be brave enough to attempt to find a solution. We had no doubt about their ease with ICTs, but we feared the challenges might be too challenging. We are happy to find out we were wrong.

And how wrong! We have received over 600 entries (that’s 200 more than last year), both concepts and start-ups, from 87 countries. The greatest number of innovations came from Nigeria, Uganda, the Philippines, Botswana, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Ghana and Egypt –  but we also received entries from Fiji, St.Kitts and Nevis, Vanuatu, Lesotho and Costa Rica, providing a unique perspective to the global challenges.

This year we have also seen an increase in the number of young women applying, a total of 20% (up from 18% last year). Among them are ladies from Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Yemen, France, Venezuela and China, among others.

For the first time we’ve received applicants from Trinidad & Tobago, Albania, Algeria, Azerbaijan, Ireland, the Netherlands, Hungary, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bolivia, Togo,  Uzbekistan, Zambia and Swaziland.

Now the deadline has passed, it’s time for the judging to start. We are, of course, not looking  for one winner, but for the ten best innovations that respond to our global challenges. This is definitely not just a matter of picking them out: what we want is to help competition entrants get maximum benefit from entering.

To help them, we have devised different phases for the judging process. First, our panel of challenge experts will review all the applications which meet the requirements and then engage in a conversation with applicants, helping them draw out the very best of their applications via an online platform. These applicants will then have the opportunity to revise their applications using the input and insight they have obtained.

Entries will then be awarded points according to various selection criteria such as innovation, business feasibility, and ability to deliver. And based on this, 10 winners will be selected to go to ITU Telecom World 2013 from 19-22 November in Bangkok!

So, watch this space for the latest news and views from the competition. And don’t miss the chance to see the winning entries showcased in the InnovationSpace, a dedicated area highlighting the shape of things to come, in Bangkok this November. See you there!

About the Author
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Regina Sipos, ITU Telecom Innovation Focal Point

Passionate about social and technological innovation and fresh ideas coming from the most surprising people and places, Regina is responsible for innovation-related activities within the ITU Telecom World events. These include the Young Innovators Programme, the Call for Innovations, the InnovationSpace and Lab exhibition on the event showfloor at ITU Telecom World, and her latest project, coordinating the Future Innovators Summit.