The list of infoDev Top 50 SMEs featured at the upcoming Global Forum on Innovation & Technology Entrepreneurship emphasizes the remarkable efforts by entrepreneurs around the world to spur technological innovation. Thirty-six of the selected Top 50 SMEs focus their work on the field of Mobile and ICT. In countries ranging from Brazil to Belarus and Senegal to Syria, these SMEs are harnessing digital technology to drive innovation in a diverse array of industries, such as speech recognition and graphic design.
This enthusiasm and dedication to global innovation in Mobile and ICT reflects an exciting trend of entrepreneurial initiatives dedicated to connecting people and businesses in the developing world using innovative and unconventional means. The strategies and business plans from these SMEs can be used to draw important conclusions about the future of international development.
How can ICTs help businesses improve their services and sales? Using predictive technologies, recommendation software, and social media, some of this year’s featured SMEs demonstrate the potential of ICTs to improve services and sales. One firm incubated in Jordan, for example, saves online retailers over €100,000 each year by helping businesses predict their customers’ buying trends using online software. Normalizing the use of ICTs in developing world business settings not only facilitates connections among clients and businesses, but doing so also increases the productive capacity and skill sets of employees and users.
How can the Internet empower individuals and develop their skill sets? Several of this year’s Top 50 SMEs are working to provide opportunities for independent artists, female web developers, and creative problem-solvers to use their talents and interests to benefit their communities. One such start-up in Kenya teaches interested young women about ICTs and assists them in developing mobile applications. Tools created by SMEs like this one emphasize the importance of finding relevant solutions using local talent to tackle local problems.
How can ICTs help people and businesses share ideas? Language can be a difficult barrier to overcome when trying to do business in an international setting. Several of the featured SMEs use new technologies for translation purposes to facilitate dialogue. Others make use of the power of digital voice technologies (DVTs) or mobile social networks to connect parties. An entrepreneur in Colombia, for example, utilizes DVTs to improve online customer relations and improve communication.
How can farmers and fishermen utilize ICTs to improve productivity? By connecting farmers and fishermen to satellites and simulators, two SMEs use ICTs to provide information about anything from tractor routes to trawling techniques. Thanks to the work of one of this year’s Top 50 SMEs, fishermen can consult 3D simulators to learn where to drop their nets, thereby increasing efficiency and reducing environmental damage.
Using emerging technologies to forge unconventional connections among individuals, businesses, information, and ideas is a hallmark of this year’s Top 50 SMEs. Don't miss out on hearing from our Top 50 SMEs at the Global Forum on Innovation & Technology Entrepreneurship. Register today to join these exciting firms in Helsinki from 30 May to 3 June 2011!
Can't travel to Helsinki and meet them in person? Visit the Global Forum's challenge page on IdeasProject, Nokia’s new web based innovation community and idea crowdsourcing service. Entrepreneurs from the infoDev Top 50 SMEs have created profiles to display their ideas, prototypes, services, and business plans. You can vote for your favorite and help infoDev select 20 SMEs that will receive International Acceleration packages customized for their business needs. Go to www.ideasproject.com/globalforum to give us your input today!