WSA PATRONS 2018
The difficult employment situation of many young women and men has become one of the most important challenges of our times. Estimates show that in the next 15 years, 600 million jobs will need to be created for young people worldwide.
It is imperative that we empower young people as the demand for new skills increases in an era of rapid technological progress driven by the Fourth Industrial Revolution. More than one-third of the skills relevant for today’s socio-economic development are anticipated to change by 2020. Our young people must be equipped with new skills to prepare them for the future of work and skills. They need to be provided with possibilities for continuous learning, and an enabling environment for innovative ideas to be converted into concrete practical solutions on the ground. It is encouraging that many young people today are already contributing to inclusive and sustainable development, by turning their innovative ideas into new businesses that also benefit the society at large.
The World Summit Awards (WSA) initiative provides a platform to showcase the potential of youth, their innovative solutions and their entrepreneurial spirit, ultimately bringing about social change. These new innovative business models will become more important than ever, as we find ways to tap into the opportunities of the Fourth Industrial Revolution to create win-win situations for our young people, and in particular for those who live and work in developing countries. UNIDO commends the WSA for providing visibility to these talented young entrepreneurs and stands ready to support young people worldwide to realize their full innovative potentials.
Preparing for the digital future is one of the most important tasks today. The internet expands new economic opportunities, creates jobs and connects people. Modern technologies offer big chances and require entrepreneurs to fully unlock their economic potential. The World Summit Award presents the most innovative youngsters and their outstanding digital projects from more than 180 countries, each with deep impact for improving our society. I would like to thank all participants and winners of this year`s Award for their courage and patience, working on new digital solutions for a better world.
The future is digital. Innovation, creativity and technical know-how are all important for shaping this future. Spaces where changes take place need to be purposefully used. Digitisation is a huge challenge for education systems around the world, and simultaneously it offers many opportunities for the future of learning. We are currently faced with the important task of equipping young people with the skills necessary to prepare them for future developments. The World Summit Award, now in its 15th year, honours innovative projects from young entrepreneurs around the world who are working towards creating a sustainable and digital future. I would like to warmly congratulate all this year’s winners, and to thank all the participants for their active involvement.
An ancient Chinese proverb says: When the winds of change blow, some build walls, others build windmills. We are currently in the midst of such change. Technological developments revolutionize the way we live and work, the way we communicate, how we travel, how we learn, how fast we age and how healthy we remain. Digitalization thus gives us the opportunity to successfully meet some of the greatest challenges of the 21st century, but only if we take the chance and learn to build windmills. At our Ministry we are trying to shape and support digital development through the provision of the necessary digital infrastructure and the funding of technology & innovation, however, we know that we can only pave the way. It is smart, curious, dedicated people like the youngsters participating in the World Summit Awards who are the real game changers. These people with their impressing ideas and projects are the ones who truly enrich the future and make a difference.
Vienna has been among the world’s most innovative cities for generations. Its strong welfare system, social housing for almost two thirds of the population, and the drinking water supply from the nearby mountains have worked reliably for decades thanks to sustainable planning. These accomplishments are just examples for the many social and technological innovations that enhance quality of life in Vienna every day, and have led to its worldwide reputation as a highly liveable city. To make sure Vienna remains a good place to live for everyone even as it continues to grow fast, we are already preparing the right framework conditions for the future: with a Smart City Strategy that focuses on social inclusion, responsible resource management, and inventing the future by investing in science and research.
Smart and sustainable products are a special strength of Vienna as a business location. It is therefore an important sign to hold a congress at the Vienna City Hall, which awards digital solutions with a social impact. We will offer the numerous international visitors a pleasant stay.
Since years, the World Summit Award has promoted outstanding digital concepts and applications that create a social and cultural value. The city of Vienna firmly supports the initiative and is looking forward to the event in the town hall in 2018.
As a globally active group of industrial companies we are called upon to focus on megatrends such as digitalization, automation and artificial intelligence at an early stage. The international WSA network enables us to get external ideas and to access a great circle of young enterprises, innovative start-ups and out-of-the-box thinkers. We are excited that it is our second year cooperating with the WSA for the Josef Umdasch Research Prize. And we are again looking forward to deep dive into the world and spirit of young innovators.
Fromer Deputy Director-General
Young people under the age of 30 have unprecedented opportunities to engage their imagination toward building Knowledge Societies, by addressing development challenges through widely accessible digital solutions such as apps, social media, as well as blockchain applications, the Internet of Things, robotics and artificial intelligence.
Amidst the grave challenges facing humankind, we must find hope in all the young women and men who are applying their creativity toward local and global digital solutions to build a world of the future that will be more at peace and as one. We must urge the young innovators at the World Summit Awards to continue forward in their lives to help build a greener and more sustainable planet whose mission is to leave no one behind.