Entrepreneurs from around the world gathered in Geneva, October 24-27 2011, to take nascent ideas and build them into products or services they could pitch to potential investors and partners at ITU Telecom World 2011.
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) (Union internationale des télécommunications, in French) is the specialized agency of the United Nations which is responsible for information and communication technologies. ITU coordinates the shared global use of the radio spectrum, promotes international cooperation in assigning satellite orbits, works to improve telecommunication infrastructure in the developing world and establishes worldwide standards. The ITU organizes the Telecom World Conference, considered one of the leading global ICT events, bringing together world leaders, representatives of governments and the telecommunications and ICT industry to exchange ideas, knowledge and technology that would have long lasting impact around the world.
We had the privilege of being one of the top 15 Digital Innovators (those working with Non-profit partner organizations) along with 30 young innovators, to be selected from a pool of over 160 ideas to participate in an intensive two day training workshop on preparing investor pitches, were we learned how to prepare good pitch presentations and how to “conceptualize” and “sell” our ideas better. We were then given the opportunity to pitch and share our ideas at ITU World’11 conference, and in the process compete for a small cash reward that we could put towards making our concepts realities.
Our selected idea (Posting on ITU World website) was:
What if you could join computing education, the latest in mobile technology and open source development to benefit humanitarian missions? Leveraging the expansion of telecommunications networks and low cost smart phones we recently built a set of Android apps to assist in data collection and program monitoring for an international NGO in rural Haiti. The apps we build are open source, so they can be shared among NGOs, and utilize accessible development technology that can be transferred through education programs. Our approach fosters local talent through skills development, improves effectiveness of programs and accountability to donors. Our goal is to help NGOs develop a sustainable program for developing mobile information tools.
Participants were not given any directives or guidelines prior to arriving in Geneva. We had an opportunity to present our ideas on day one as we had conceptualized them and then after an intense 30 + hours of training and work, with industry mentors and trainers from NoTosh and NoTosh and Snook, we all ended up with concise 5 minute presentations of our concepts:
The participants drawn from all corners of the world, were strangers and competitors in the beginning, left with new bonds of friendship and comradery that may lead to future collaborations following their chance meeting in Geneva.