Techpreneurs tackling the SDGs

8 Apr 2019 13:15h - 14:00h

Event report


The moderator of the session, Dr Peter A. Bruck (World Summit Award Chairman) told about the World Summit Award that is a global contest of social entrepreneurship projects based on the UN principle one country –one voice. WSA deals with societal change in the WSIS framework, putting emphasis on the Action Line 7. WSA address the dived in knowledge – the ‘content gap’ by working on open access to policy and science papers and solutions in order to prevent people from reinventing the wheel and move their ideas forward. Bruck then asked the panellists to share their experience in technical social entrepreneurship.

Mr Jon Mark Walls (UNCTAD) spoke about his experience in doing business with the UN. Firstly, he told about the difference of being ‘intrapreneur’ inside the big bureaucracy like the UN: some financial support is offered, but there are significant administrative limitations. The pros of doing business with the UN support are considerable. Walls highlighted the gathering power of the UN events (eCommerce week, WSIS, for example) that brings a lot of people. It is also the ‘blessing’ effect of the UN organisations that help you establish direct connection with people in the target countries and have confidence in them, including the administrative guidance and resources. However, every entrepreneur should think about the return of investment, because most of the projects are really consuming energy and sources.

Mr Jordi Serrano Pons (Universal Doctor Speaker) won the WSA this year for the e-health project Universal Doctor Speaker, made in collaboration with the World Health Organization. Universal Doctor is a medical translation app that enables patients and healthcare professionals to communicate when they do not speak the same language. Pons noted that the most valuable effect of WSA is that it helps people to be known by international organisations, it gives them publicity that can be used for the expansion of their product for a larger scale.

Mr Arsene Tungali (Co-Founder and Executive Director, Rudi International, Democratic Republic of Congo) raised the problem of the language accessibility for NGOs working for social good. Although there are programs like WSA, the application process is mostly in the English language that creates problems for French speakers to take part in the competitions and promote their work. Tungali also noticed the challenge for young tech enthusiasts from developing countries that they lack some basic business skills to turn their technical solutions into the working project.

By Ilona Stadnik