Message of the Secretary General.

World Telecommunication and Information Society Day 2016: Message from the ITU Secretary-General
(Hulin Gao)

Entrepreneurship in ICT for Social Impact

Last year in 2015, we celebrated the 150th anniversary of founding the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), reaffirming its worldwide reputation as one of the most important and sustainable organizations dedicated to provide the world with the most innovative means of communication.As we celebrate World Telecommunication and Information Society Day 2016 in the occasion of the establishment of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) on May 17 1865, we are still looking forward to future communications developments. We focus this year on "ICT Entrepreneurship for Social Impact".The ICT sector is one of the most profitable and successful sectors and has revolutionized the way the world communicates through a combination of government policies, forward-looking regulatory reforms, international standards, innovation in industry and investment in new infrastructure and services, billions of people have been integrated into the information society in a very short period of time. This is a common achievement that we can all be proud of.

Based on this foundation, we are now in an increasingly intelligent and networked environment that embraces cloud computing, massive data and new applications in a variety of areas of health and finance, moving towards the future of intelligent transport systems and smart cities. With progress in the deployment of infrastructure and connectivity, the role of services and applications will be enhanced as well as many innovative small players will be able to enter the market with solutions to meet local needs. Entrepreneurship in the field of ICT will lead to a shift in the model of great social impact. We need entrepreneurs' experience, innovations and investments to achieve our common goals of sustainable economic and social development.
 
Small and medium enterprises (SME), emerging enterprises and technology centers are the driving force for innovative and practical solutions to catalyze progress, especially in developing countries. SMEs represent more than 90 percent of the business sector as a whole globally and represent a "way out of poverty" for many developing countries.
 
The fundamental role of innovators and small and medium-sized enterprises in information and communication technology (ICT) is already reflected in the outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). World leaders recognized the economic potential of ICT for SMEs and their special needs, such as increasing their competitiveness by adding value to their products and services, streamlining administrative procedures, facilitating their access to capital and enhancing their ability to participate in ICT-related projects.
 
The World Summit on the Information Society also encouraged the adoption of a range of relevant measures, including incubator schemes, joint capital investment, government investment funds, investment promotion strategies, support for research and development networks, software export activities and software parks.
 
I invite our partners from Governments, industry, academic institutions and technical experts, as the United Nations specialized agency dealing with the latest in ICT, to strengthen the role of small, emerging and innovative enterprises in the ICT sector, promote the spread of digital social innovations and give priority to economic policies that encourage innovation and ensure the availability of human capacities and support the creation of comprehensive eco-systems for entrepreneurship, as well as helping entrepreneurs move from ideas and innovation to sales and revenue.
 
Let us combine our resources to take advantage of the catalytic role of ICT in achieving sustainable development, economic growth, social integration and environmental balance