ITU Telecom World Awards signs off event in Durban as Budapest hosts 2019 gathering

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lnnovative tech solutions with the potential to change lives across the globe were highlighted at the ITU Telecom World Awards 2018 ceremony on the closing day of ITU Telecom World 2018, the global event for governments, corporates and small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the information and communication technology (ICT) sector, held this week in Durban, South Africa.

From digital agriculture, mobile learning, education and healthcare, to virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR), satellite, automotive repair and more, the fourth edition of the ITU Telecom World Awards celebrated creativity and innovation in digital solutions meeting real-world social needs.

Winners and finalists in several categories were presented with trophies and certificates by ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao in a high-profile ceremony in the presence of government ministers, industry leaders, representatives of media and other high-level delegates from across the globe.

Participants took part in an adrenaline-filled live pitching session during the award ceremony itself, during which they shared the innovative approach of their entry, and the social impact that it is capable of creating.

“I have been delighted to discover this week at ITU Telecom World 2019 many SMEs and great innovations with genuine potential to improve lives and connect the unconnected,” said ITU Secretary-General, Houlin Zhao. “It is my sincere hope that the global recognition of receiving an ITU Telecom World Award from an international panel of experts, will help these talented enterprise owners to scale-up and take their business onto a global stage.”

The Global SME Awards recognized the best innovative ICT-based solutions with social impact from SMEs present at the event in five classes – Best Business Model, Most Scalable, Most Innovative Use of ICT, Greatest Social Impact and the Global SME Excellence Award for the SME with the highest all-around score.

Corporate Awards were presented for the most promising innovative solutions with social impact in the areas of sustainable development and smart emerging technologies.

In addition, the government with the most innovative SMEs included in their National Pavilion at ITU Telecom World 2018 was recognized with the ITU Telecom World Government Award; and the Host Country Awards recognized the most promising SME solutions at the event from South Africa, the event host.

All SMEs in these categories underwent a rigorous application and selection process, with an external jury of social entrepreneurship and tech experts assessing each entrant on the basis of business model, scalability, innovation and social impact. Those shortlisted for the Global SME Awards were invited to take part in a quick-fire pitching sessions in front of an expert jury, during the event.

Global SME Awards Winners and Finalists


Global SME Excellence Award 

Winner – Pulego Communications, South Africa

Best Business Model

Winner – Tuse Applications, South Africa

Most Innovative Use of ICTs

Winner – Uthini Tech (Pty) Ltd, South Africa

Greatest social impact

Winner – Pulego Communications, South Africa

Most scalable

​​Winner – Talamus Health, United States

ITU Telecom World Corporate Awards

Smart emerging technologies winner – Nokia

Sustainable development winner – Huawei

ITU Telecom World Government Award

Winner – Kenya

ITU Telecom World Host Country Awards

Winner – dbTrack, South Africa

Meanwhile, the ITU and the government of Hungary have confirmed the hosting of the next ITU Telecom World event in Budapest, Hungary. The announcement followed a high-level meeting during ITU Telecom World 2018 being held 10-13 September in Durban, South Africa between ITU Secretary General Houlin Zhao and the Government of Hungary, represented by Péter Sztáray, State Secretary for Security Policy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary.

The leading technology event for governments, corporates and small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), ITU Telecom World 2019 will focus on the smart digital innovations that can enhance lives, and the key role that SMEs can play within the information and communication technology (ICT) ecosystem. It will continue as the international platform connecting tech SMEs with governments and corporates, attracting member states, regulators, heads of international organizations, global media, digital experts and visionaries, leading ICT corporations and cutting-edge tech SMEs from the region and across the globe.

“I am delighted to be working together again with the government of Hungary to build another successful ITU Telecom World event. With its excellent strategic location and dynamic digital ecosystem, Budapest provides the prime venue to explore the innovations, strategies and policies that are fuelling the digital economy,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. “We look forward to continued close cooperation with our hosts across all elements of the event, from the Exhibition, to Forum debates, networking and more, providing a global stage for innovation, ideas and expertise from Hungary and the wider region to meet the world.”

“The government of Hungary is very pleased to be welcoming ITU Telecom World 2019 to Budapest,” said Péter Sztáray, State Secretary for Security Policy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary. “In hosting the event, the government of Hungary is underlining its commitment to supporting the digital innovation ecosystem, building partnerships and exploring cooperation on a regional and global level and growing the ICT industry to accelerate socio-economic benefits throughout the world.”

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