2021 ITU Global Innovation Forum

Building partnerships to mainstream entrepreneurship.



More than a year in, the COVID-19 crisis continues to have a significant impact on society. It has exposed the fragility of the current economic system across the globe, but also provided a powerful lens to examine the underlying conditions that led to this fragility, and illuminated gaps in economic and social values chains, providing the opportunity to improve economic resilience and related issues.

Entrepreneurship-driven digital innovation has the potential to increase communities’ resilience, protect jobs in key sectors of the economy and increase economic inclusion. However, the enabling environment for digital innovation is not adequate to create a sustainable impact in many countries. ITU research shows that as of 2021, very few countries have start-up acts, policies or programs supporting digital innovation and entrepreneurship. There is a growing digital innovation divide at the heart of the digital divide among countries, and many national policies and strategies — even in developed countries — often fail to close it.

Recovering from — as well as preventing — crises and bridging the digital divide require new partnerships to close the digital innovation gap. Countries can use this opportunity to transform their communities into thriving and competitive digital economies through accelerating entrepreneurship-driven innovation and focusing on job creation. This forum will empower participants with new insights, skills, tools, frameworks and relevant case studies to understand how to leapfrog the digital innovation divide, prepare and recover from global crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic, and accelerate job creation.

The forum is a five-day, immersive event that will take the participants on global and regional learning journeys to learn the “why”, “what” and “how” of building new partnerships that ensure that communities have the right innovation capabilities to be resilient and competitive with digital technologies.

The following topics will be covered during the forum:

  • Day 1: The forum’s opening day will highlight the innovation divide and its impact on social conditions in the COVID-19 era, as well as the role of entrepreneurship-driven digital innovation in closing the digital innovation gap.
  • Day 2: Participants will engage in discussion about specific mechanisms that can accelerate entrepreneurship-driven innovation.
  • Day 3: The forum will bring in a regional dimension, examining the state of countries’ readiness and show practical cases of how key sectors of the economy can benefit by nurturing digital innovation.
  • Day 4: The forum will continue regional deep dives by sharing good practices, stories of digital change-makers and offer insights for new partnership actions at the regional level.
  • Day 5: The forum’s closing day will bring the discussion full circle by recognizing the winners of the 2020 Innovation Challenges and a recap of the week through the lenses of winners and of the generation connects the community.


Do you want to learn how to accelerate economic development and job creation in your community? The event’s objectives are to:

  • support digital change-makers in building a bright future to enable tech-driven innovative businesses
    provide the expertise to boost your local ecosystem and encourage innovation by accessing knowledge, resources and opportunities
  • offer the chance to connect with a network of partners and projects to improve your investment portfolio for social and economic impact
  • gain insight on how to raise the entrepreneurship bar in your region by learning the tools you need to build an innovation-driven ecosystem
  • access resources that will empower you to overcome innovation roadblocks in your country by building future-forward tech innovation and entrepreneurship policies


The event is targeted at digital change-makers, policy-makers, the private sector, academics, entrepreneurial support organizations, entrepreneurs, financiers, community development managers, international organizations and media.

Youth are the leaders of tomorrow. Thus, the forum will explore the challenges and opportunities in becoming entrepreneurs, policy-makers or ecosystem builders who accelerate economic development in their communities through the lens of young ICT leaders from ITU’s Generation Connect cohort and other young ICT leaders.


Oct 25 - 13:30 - Oct 29, 2021 - 16:00
Website Visit website
Location Online
Africa, Antarctica Region, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Asia, Australia and New Zealand, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Europe, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Micronesia, Nicaragua, Northern America, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, Venezuela
Sectors Sector agnostic