ITU Telecom World 2015 closed its doors at Hungexpo, Budapest following an exceptional week of dialogue, debate, networking and showcasing.

The event, which welcomed over 4,000 participants from 129 countries, brought together an impressive line-up of top-level government representatives, leaders of industry – from established players to SMEs (small and medium enterprises) and young start-ups, from emerging and developed markets – along with high-level representatives of international organisations, entrepreneurs, accelerators, incubators and academia.

Among these were over 235 ICT leaders from around the world.

“This week we have marked the 150th anniversary of the foundation of ITU, hosted by Hungary – one of our original 20 founding members. We have also marked the first step in ITU’s new focus; to provide an international platform for SMEs, governments and major industry players to connect, share views, challenges and experiences and hold meaningful dialogues,” said ITU Secretary General, Houlin Zhao.

“Together, with all these stakeholders, we have explored how SMEs are the engine for much innovation, where their ability to take risks and move fast can be key. We hope that now this will lead to a greater cross-pollination of ideas and forging of new relationships between SMEs, governments and established ICT players to help scale and deliver innovative solutions globally, and improve lives.”

Spotlight on Global Innovation
The event’s core themes of accelerating innovation for social impact and they ways in which SMEs are driving this innovation were in evidence throughout the event.

A total of 238 exhibitors made their mark at ITU Telecom World’s exhibition space. National pavilions and world-famous technology brands demonstrated their innovation and talents alongside start-ups and SMEs from across the world.

“Intel believes that driving innovation is an essential goal for government and businesses from all around the world. Solving global problems starts with affordable access, active use of technology and capacity building.

Therefore we are supporting great ideas and programmes – such as the Young Innovators Competition – that bring together young innovators and give them the chance to present themselves to the international audience at this event,” said Gordon Graylish, Vice President and General Manager, Governments and World Ahead, Intel Corporation and a key ITU Telecom World 2015 participant and speaker.

Smart ICTs for Sustainable Development
ITU’s own Smart ICTs for Sustainable Development Pavilion, led by the organization’s Telecommunication Development Bureau, was one of the hubs of the showfloor, with a packed programme of activities. Daily presentations were held at the Pavilion’s Speaker’s Corner on diverse subjects such as drones and innovation for agriculture; healthy lives and well-being through e-health; ‘smart cities’; the power of mobile technologies for sustainable development; and how e-commerce requires new flexible, secure and user friendly solutions for digital financial services.

Leadership Summit and Forum
Some 247 speakers from 62 countries took part in plenaries, panel debates, workshops, high-level roundtables and networking sessions in the Forum and at the Leadership Summit. Speakers, who spanned leaders of government, industry, SMEs, entrepreneurs and innovators, the initiatives supporting them, international organisations and academia, provided truly global perspectives and viewpoints, from developed and developing countries.

Crucial dialogue
Dialogue between government and start-ups, and between established industry players and SMEs, took centre stage at the event, with dedicated sessions enabling these players to connect and examine issues in-depth. SMEs from Ghana, Nigeria and the Middle East spoke with Minsters and international organisations from around the world about the challenges they each face, and how to best create a fertile environment where entrepreneurship can flourish.

The SME and Industry dialogue saw an interactive exchange between on how both sides of the industry can work together and the best steps to help foster innovation.

Young Innovators Competition
The inspirational Young Innovators Competition winners showcased their technologies, pitched ideas and took part in an action-packed programme of activities, workshops and collaborations aimed at accelerating innovation.

Inaugural ITU Telecom World Entrepreneurship Awards 2015
The Closing Ceremony of the event also saw the much-awaited announcement of the winners of the ITU Telecom World Entrepreneurship Awards 2015.

In keeping with ITU Telecom World’s focus on fostering ICT-based SMEs and digital entrepreneurship, this year’s event introduced these awards, recognising the most innovative and promising SMEs and initiatives using ICTs for social impact.