Government and industry seek to kick-start rapid growth

Budapest, 13 October 2015 – The new Emerge Partnership was launched today at ITU Telecom World 2015 in Budapest, bringing together a core group of stakeholders to provide thought-leadership and best-practice advice to help inform government policy-making.

Emerge Partners will be actively engaged in supporting innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystems, and include representatives from the United Nations and other international organizations, the ICT industry, incubator/accelerator managers as well as development/innovation practitioners.

Business to government (B2G) dialogues took centre-stage today at ITU Telecom World 2015, where the Emerge Partnership was launched as a means of facilitating public-private collaboration. Large multinationals, start-ups and SMEs outlined key priorities and requirements for government policy-makers to provide a vital enabling environment for innovation and private enterprise.

communiqué issued by the Emerge Partners focused on increasing the innovation capacity of small firms in the ICT sector, while encouraging the spread of digital social innovation (DSI) aimed at helping to improve people’s lives worldwide. The partnership also seeks to enable entrepreneurial ecosystems that leverage a multitude of local, national and regional stakeholders to provide the policies and necessary resources to create and sustain private-sector (and SME)-led innovation and economic growth.

The Ministerial Round Table, which also met today, issued the ‘Budapest Call for Action’ reaffirming the political will to accelerate innovation for social impact in line with the Connect 2020 Agenda adopted at the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference in November 2014. The ‘Budapest Call for Action’ emphasized the importance of fostering innovation entrepreneurship and welcomed the establishment of the Emerge Partnership. The document highlighted the role of ICT-based innovation in addressing key socio-economic and environmental sustainability challenges, such as those addressed by the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and other national and regional frameworks. It also invited all stakeholders to implement innovative solutions, technologies and partnerships aimed at bridging the digital divide and ensuring global connectivity for all.

Speaking at the event on Tuesday, ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao echoed the Emerge Communiqué and Budapest Call for Action. “As the digital transformation continues to bring unprecedented potential for socio-economic growth, there is a very real danger that the digital divide between the connected and the unconnected will deepen, rather than disappear,” Zhao said. “Economic policies that promote innovation and entrepreneurship will be essential to  bring ICTs to every person and business in the world and kick-start rapid growth.”

While participating at the ITU Telecom World event, Dr. Sharad Sapra, Director of the UNICEF Global Innovation Centre said: “It is the dawn of a new era of digital transparency, accountability, development and humanitarianism from bottom up, where the young, who are most active users of simple mobile phones, and who are willing to invest their social capital, are no longer just recipients of services but active participants in the national development process. No one group can do this alone. The biggest challenges today will be overcome by an interdisciplinary group of people working across industries, countries, and cultures.”

Read the blog: “Why SMEs are at the heart of #ITUWorld 2015” 

For more information and interview requests, please contact:

Paul Conneally
Head, Corporate Communications Division
telephone +41 22 730 5601
mobile +41 79 592 5668
email paul.conneally@itu.int
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