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UN agency selects winners of young innovators competition

Young Innovators Competition 2013. Credit ITU
Young Innovators Competition 2013. Credit ITU

UN agency selects winners of young innovators competition

Ten young people from around the world will be honoured with a United Nations award recognizing their work as entrepreneurs and use of technology to change the world.

The recipients of the 10 Young Innovators Competition organized by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Telecom come from a wide range of countries including India, Uganda and Viet Nam and have worked on diverse issues such as marine protection, reduction of food waste and immigration.

“These are bright young minds with creative technological solutions to developmental challenges both in their communities and in the wider world,” said ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré.

Open to young social entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 26, the competition seeks innovative digital solutions in the form of start-ups or initial concepts meeting global developmental challenges. The winners will be heading to the ITU Telecom World 2013 a knowledge-sharing event for the global ICT community, which will be held in Bangkok, Thailand, on 19-22 November.

“Bringing the competition winners to the forefront of the global ICT stage at ITU Telecom World connects them with the event's influential audience, with the entrepreneurial experiences and with the success stories of their expert mentors and their peers from 2012,” said Mr. Touré.

“These are the connections and conversations that matter, with the power to make a real difference in the world.”

One of the winners is Keston Perry from Trinidad and Tobago, who started KUMBA, an interface connecting unemployed Caribbean migrants with technical skills based in the United Kingdom with Caribbean-based companies.

Nguyen Tran Hoang from Viet Nam will be honoured for the Land-Sea Digital Bridge – a digital radio communication system connecting fishing boats and shore stations.

Oscar Ekponimo from Nigeria created SalvageHub, a web and mobile platform to reduce food wastage at individual and retail levels.

Also from the African continent is the M-Tambula platform by Brenda Katwesigye, which provides the elderly with easy access to public services using Interactive Voice Response over mobile phones.

Thomas Kioko from Kenya will be recognized for his Nduru App – a one-stop mobile application to manage all aspects of road safety.

Ahmed Fawzi from Egypt was selected for his Al Dalilah Advanced Operational Global Positioning System (GPS) – an advanced tracking and first response system using meteorological data.

Hannah Judge from the United States will also be recognized for her use of geolocation technology, as she created Broad Street Maps, which produces individualized healthcare maps to support health organizations

In India, Varun Arora created Open Curriculum, an online platform for local educational material for standard, primary and secondary schooling.

Yvone Loremia from the Philippines was selected for her Tudlo Disaster and Emergency Application, a multi-purpose information platform for emergency and disaster situations.

Finally, the Timothy McDermott from Australia and Swaziland created SiSwApp, an English-SiSwati translation app aimed at migrant workers.

The judges received over 600 entries from 88 countries worldwide, and the winners were selected based on their possible social impact and potential for business success.

At ITU Telecom World the winners will take part in a programme to take their projects to the next level via one-on-one mentorship sessions with start-up mentors and business experts, hands-on workshop training, peer mentoring from the winners of the 2012 competition, and the opportunity to showcase their projects to the event’s influential audience.

ITU Telecom organizes global events for Governments, industry leaders and regulators that form part of the world’s ICT community. The first ITU Telecom event was held in 1971 and ITU Telecom marked its 40th anniversary in 2011.