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ITU invites SA SMEs to take part in global digital awards

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ITU secretary-general Houlin Zhao.
ITU secretary-general Houlin Zhao.

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is inviting applications for its annual ITU Digital World SME Awards, which promote digital innovation by small and medium enterprises around the world.

The awards, now in their seventh edition, seek out innovations related to information and communication technologies in five categories: connectivity, smart cities, smart living, e-health, digital finance and education technology.

Shortlisted applicants will be invited to pitch live online in front of an expert jury of investors, innovation, business and tech specialists, with winners to be announced in an online awards ceremony at the end of the year.

Furthermore, all applicants will be invited to join the ITU Digital World SME Programme, consisting of master classes offering capacity-building, skills workshops, and mentorship and networking opportunities for SMEs all year long.

"Innovation is a driving force of the ICT industry, and SMEs are a huge source of innovation, jobs and economic growth," says ITU secretary-general Houlin Zhao.

"We all need to come together and support them in these trying times. I therefore encourage talented SMEs from across the globe to enter the ITU Digital World 2021 SME Awards and benefit from this valuable platform of knowledge-sharing, networking and visibility."

The deadline for applications is 3 September.

Simon Schwall, co-founder and CEO of OKO Finance, a winner last year, says: "Winning this award will be reassuring to the mobile operators we want to partner with, and to investors, who sometimes doubt our capacity to find key partners to allow us to scale up. This prize will also make us more credible when we go and talk to other UN organisations."

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