Innovative tech solutions with the potential to change lives across the globe were highlighted at the ITU Telecom World Awards 2018 ceremony on the closing day of ITU Telecom World 2018 held in Durban this week.

From digital agriculture, mobile learning, education and healthcare, to virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR), satellite, automotive repair and more, the fourth edition of the ITU Telecom World Awards celebrated creativity and innovation in digital solutions meeting real-world social needs.

Winners and finalists in several categories were presented with trophies and certificates by ITU secretary-general Houlin Zhao in a high-profile ceremony in the presence of government ministers, industry leaders, representatives of media and other high-level delegates from across the globe.

“I have been delighted to discover this week at ITU Telecom World 2019 many SMEs and great innovations with genuine potential to improve lives and connect the unconnected,” says Zhao. “It is my sincere hope that the global recognition of receiving an ITU Telecom World Award from an international panel of experts, will help these talented enterprise owners to scale-up and take their business onto a global stage.”

The Global SME Awards recognized the best innovative ICT-based solutions with social impact from SMEs present at the event in five classes – Best Business Model, Most Scalable, Most Innovative Use of ICT, Greatest Social Impact and the Global SME Excellence Award for the SME with the highest all-around score.

Corporate Awards were presented for the most promising innovative solutions with social impact in the areas of sustainable development and smart emerging technologies.

In addition, the government with the most innovative SMEs included in their National Pavilion at ITU Telecom World 2018 was recognized with the ITU Telecom World Government Award; and the Host Country Awards recognized the most promising SME solutions at the event from South Africa, the event host.

All SMEs in these categories underwent a rigorous application and selection process, with an external jury of social entrepreneurship and tech experts assessing each entrant on the basis of business model, scalability, innovation and social impact. Those shortlisted for the Global SME Awards were invited to take part in a quick-fire pitching sessions in front of an expert jury, during the event.

Global SME Excellence Award: Winner – Pulego Communications, South Africa.

Best Business Model: Winner – Tuse Applications, South Africa; finalist – Casual Payroll, Rwanda; finalist – Chamasoft, Kenya.

Most Innovative Use of ICTs: Winner – Uthini Tech, South Africa; finalist – IQRex, Azerbaijan; finalist – Yellow Beast, South Africa.

Greatest social impact: Winner – Pulego Communications, South Africa; finalist – iMoSyS, Malawi; finalist – Zinake, Kenya.

Most scalable: Winner – Talamus Health, US; finalist – Ologa Sistemas Informaticos, Mozambique; finalist – Dropque, Nigeria.

ITU Telecom World Corporate Awards: Smart emerging technologies winner – Nokia; Sustainable development winner – Huawei.

ITU Telecom World Government Award: Winner – Kenya.

ITU Telecom World Host Country Awards: Winner – dbTrack, South Africa; finalist – Cognitive Systems, South Africa; finalist – WatIF Health, South Africa.