A few months ago, when preparing the Geneva celebration of the 2016 World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD 2016) – which focused on the theme: “ICT entrepreneurship for social impact”- our team at the ITU had a very intense discussion around the concrete role that ICT ministries* are playing around the world in support of tech Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and startups.
Which ICT ministries and countries have been more active to date in this domain? What can we learn from the experiences available across ITU Membership? Is there a concrete role (leading role vs. supporting role) emerging from the different ecosystems and regions?
This discussion led to the initiation of a mapping of initiatives of ITU Member States, which started by looking at a group of 10-15 countries, and gradually expanded to cover close to 100 countries in less than four months. The goal of the research was to learn from the interventions undertaken by ICT ministries in support of their entrepreneurial ecosystems, and to make these experiences available to ITU Membership at large.
The result of this exercise is the report “Trends in tech MSMES and startup development” which presents an overview of the results obtained through this research, and which resulted in the identification of over 50 countries currently engaged in supporting tech MSMEs and startups through the ministry of ICT.
The report zooms into the experiences of eight countries that presented a very active level of engagement: Bangladesh, Colombia, Costa Rica, Estonia, Italy, Malaysia, Rwanda and Spain. For each of these countries, the report presents a country profile with a sample of the interventions undertaken by each administration.
The preparation of this new report has allowed ITU to acquire a better understanding of how ICT ministries are currently engaging with the local tech MSMEs and startup community, how they promote and support tech MSME development, the tools that have been used, and to identify which countries are the most engaged in these types of programmes, which include interventions such as Italy’s Startup Act, Malaysia’s Technology Innovation For Globalisation Fund (TIG) or Colombia’s App.co accelerator.
We hope that this new publication will promote the exchange of experiences between administrations working on this domain and encourage more ICT ministries to look at how they can accelerate ICT entrepreneurship for social impact.
We invite all administrations to further share their experiences with ITU by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Stay tuned for future ITU activities in the area of tech MSME and startup support.
NOTE: This is the second publication released by ITU in the area of tech MSME, after the launch of the report “A review of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in the ICT sector” at the recent ITU Telecom World 2016, held in Bangkok, Thailand from 12 to 14 November 2016. Find out more about ITU’s activities in support of tech MSMEs and startups by visiting www.itu.int/entrepreneurship
* For this analysis, ICT ministries are defined as the ministries designated by each ITU Member State as the lead focal point assigned to represent the administration in ITU´s activities. For further information refer to http://www.itu.int/online/mm/scripts/gensel8.