Global ITU Innovation Challenges 2020

posted on: 25 May, 2020.
Global ITU Innovation Challenges

ITU is an abbreviation International Telecommunication Union.

ITU is on a mission is to bridge the digital innovation divide (gap) through strengthened ICT ecosystems that are vibrant, innovation-driven and supportive of job creation, development of innovative businesses, and the growth of small and medium enterprises, as well as inclusive of all economic sectors and aligned to national development.

The International Telecommunication Union(ITU) cordially invites applications for its Innovation Challenges 2020 -- Theme: Rethinking the digital economy's value chains during Covid-19.

The 2020 edition of the ITU Innovation Challenge will be taking place amidst a global pandemic caused by Covid-19 (Corona Virus). This has resulted in huge stress on value chains and countries' readiness for a digital economy, significantly affecting social conditions worldwide (conditions like disrupted global supply, production, consumption, and delivery chains). And this has caused developing economies that have not been digitalized struggling.

The challenge is a global open competition platform for ecosystem builders and innovators to present their ideas and projects, empowering them to transform their communities into thriving digital societies.

The Three(3) Categories of Opportunities Available for Win
  • Ecosystem best practice challenge: For ecosystem builders with good practices that nurture an enabling environment for innovators in their communities.
  • Digital change-maker challenge: For innovators with ideas that create digital impact in their communities.
  • Women in technology challenge: For innovators with digital projects that create impact for women in their communities.


  • Benefits of Award
    - Cocreation workshops with winners on new skills and capacity
    - Virtual networking event and onboarding
    - Workshops on storytelling and practice in pitching projects
    - High-level dialogue, pitching on their projects, media corner, expert talks, partner corner, and matching of winners with potential resources.
    - 4-day subsistence allowance for their participation in an event at UN local country level daily rate.
    - Be engaged in developing a remarkable video story about their project
    - Some activities will be streamed, others will private and reserved for relevant categories of stakeholders.
    - Support in identifying new partnership opportunities and networking with potential buyers, global delegates, investors, government representatives, and other attendees.
    - Support during the event to help winners further develop their proposals; connect with mentors, ecosystem builders, and potential clients and investors; international recognition.

    There will be a minimum of five winners per challenge

    Eligibility criteria
    Women in technology challenge:
  • Open to innovators with a digital project that creates impact for women in your community
  • The innovation challenge is open to all eligible startups with a minimum of one (1) year in operation, legally registered and incorporated in a developing country and at least 30% or more women-owned, managed, and controlled.
  • Your solutions should:
    - Ensure that women are given access to ICT platforms, internet connectivity, and digital tools; equipped with digital skills through training and use of tech tools; and/or offered chances to develop leadership potential (such as entrepreneurial skills, network building, financial inclusion, etc.) by being active members of the digital society.
    - Focus on facilitating and improving processes in one of the selected sectors (agriculture, textiles, and apparel, or health) in which women are represented in significant numbers as both business owners and workers, by supporting them to access and use ICTs for development through scalable innovative solutions that will help them increase their participation in the economy.

    Ecosystem best practice challenge:
  • Open to ecosystem builders with a good practice that will enable innovators to develop ICTcentric solutions.
  • The practice must be operational (not at an idea stage).
  • Your solution should:

  • - Be evidence-informed practices that can be applied and scaled at the national level.
    - Help other communities at the global level upgrade their practices to maintain competitiveness and innovation in their ICT ecosystems.
    - Provide an enabling environment that nurtures innovators to accelerate their ideas to market.

    Digital change-maker challenge:
  • Open to innovators with ideas that create a digital impact in their communities
  • The solution can be at an early stage of development but must have a minimum viable project.
  • Your solutions should

  • - Address a clear problem that stakeholders in your community are facing, especially considering value chain competitiveness and global disruption due to Covid-19.
    - Cover one or more of the thematic areas above.


    Evaluation criteria
    All proposals that pass the co-creation stage will be submitted to a jury of experts from ITU and supporting organizations. The jury will use the following criteria in addition to the challenge scope criteria:
  • Creativity: Your idea must be innovative and unique.
  • Originality: Your idea must be original.
  • Viability: Your idea must be realistic and logical.
  • Co-creation: Special attention will be paid to your submission if you actively help other ITU Innovation Challenge community members advance their ideas.
  • Sustainability: You must clearly describe how the activity or project will be able to continue.
  • Impact: Your idea must fall within the scope of the challenge. Your submission should consider cross-cutting impacts, problems, and relevant solutions.
  • Ecosystem collaboration: Ecosystem builders who apply to the global ecosystem best practice challenge and have their innovators apply to one of the other challenges will be given special consideration.
  • Location: Worldwide
    Deadline: Fri, 31 Jul, 2020

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