ITU launched the fourth edition of its popular ‘Young Innovators’ competition, seeking out talented young thinkers and social technopreneurs across the globe, and encouraging them to showcase their innovative ideas at the upcoming ITU Telecom World 2014, which will take place from 7 to 10 December in Doha, Qatar.

The annual competition, which was launched in 2010, offers young people the chance to take part in workshops on entrepreneurial skills, opportunities to meet and network with leading ICT players, and to showcase their projects at the Innovation Space, a dedicated show floor pavilion at ITU Telecom World.

The first challenge of the 2014 edition focuses on ‘Local Digital Content’. Open to 18-30 year-old start-up founders from across ITU’s 193 member states, the competition is looking for the most promising tech start-ups that are inspiring the creation, aggregation or digitisation of dynamic local content, particularly in non-Latin scripts.

ITU Secretary-General, Dr Hamadoun Toure, said:

I am delighted to announce the first challenge of the latest edition of the ITU Telecom World 2014 Young Innovators Competition. Last year’s competition brought us inspirational concepts and projects from innovative young people around the world, all of which had significant potential social impact and impressive business potential. I look forward to exploring this year’s innovations at ITU Telecom World 2014 this December in Doha.’

ITU is the leading United Nations agency for information and communication technology. For nearly 150 years, ITU has coordinated the shared global use of the radio spectrum, promoted international cooperation in assigning satellite orbits, worked to improve communication infrastructure in the developing world, and established the worldwide standards that foster seamless interconnection of a vast range of communications systems.

Entries can be submitted by start-ups that are involved in script content, resolving the technical challenges of digitising non-Latin scripts through innovative technologies, or pinpointing fresh uses for older technologies, such as optical character recognition, voice recognition or translation software.

The first stage of the contest has been launched in partnership with Ooredoo, which is supporting Qatar’s hosting of ITU Telecom World 2014. With strong experience in encouraging relevant local content and inspiring start-ups across the MENA region and Asia, Ooredoo will provide invaluable support for the contest.

CEO of Ooredoo Qatar, Sheikh Saud bin Nasser Al Thani, said:

We’re excited to support this first challenge in the ‘Young Innovators’ competition. We know that new digital content can inspire people and open new opportunities in their lives, and we believe strongly that each and every market deserves relevant content in their own languages that is tailored to their interests.’

The competition consists of two start-ups will be selected as winners of this challenge by a Selection Committee of experts and invited to attend ITU Telecom World 2014. At the event itself, they will enjoy mentoring and workshops on entrepreneurial skills, opportunities to meet and network with leading ICT players, and the chance to showcase their projects at the InnovationSpace, a dedicated showfloor pavilion.

Prize money of up to US$10,000 in the form of seed funding will be awarded to implement and bring to scale winning start-ups. The competition will comprise a number of different challenges, the first of which focuses on local digital content.

The deadline for initial submissions is 30 May 2014, 24:00 GMT +2. Prize money of up to US$10,000 in the form of seed funding will be awarded to implement and bring to scale winning start-ups. Visit ideas.itu.int for more information on the challenge, to apply or comment on submissions. You can also visit the Young Innovators Facebook page or contact us directly at [email protected].

For more information, visit ITU Telecom World’s website.