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UN based World Summit Awards

Our world is almost entirely connected, our devices are getting smarter every day. The World Summit Awards is a United Nations based global awards initiative selecting and promoting outstanding digital innovations with positive impact on society.

Experts in more than 180 UN member states nominate local solutions demonstrating global diversity and richness in the smart use of ICTs (Information and Communications Technology).

With international events and meetings, WSA serves as a knowledge HUB and network of start-ups, mentors, entrepreneurs, jurors, governmental representatives, ICT experts & international organisations to ensure a global multi-stakeholder transfer.

The World Summit Awards has been initiated in 2003 in the framework of the UN World Summit on the Information Society. It contributes to the UN sustainable development goals agenda. Up to now, more than 180 countries are actively involved, making the World Summit Awards are a global HUB for everyone who values the crucial importance of local content to make today’s information society more inclusive. WSA showcases a prime selection of 40 Winners per year through a democratic, inclusive and highly competitive award system. It also rewards 5 Young Innovators Winners
The World Summit Awards offer a platform for those who think beyond the box.

WSA National Expert Ilkka Kurkela tells why you should participate


  • Government and Citizen Engagement 

    services | open data | democratic participation

    WSA government and citizen engagement.pngThe Government & Citizen Engagement category may entail solutions that:

    • Integrate the citizens in public administration & increase the citizen engagement
    • Deliver content rich solutions to the public & connect the public including individuals, businesses and organisations
    • Enable low threshold access of information, data & procedures & make public services accessible to all
    • Significantly improve and enhance service depth and quality & democratic processes
    • Increase transparency in governmental processes & facilitate participation of citizens and public services clients
    • Simplify administrations & foster efficiency of information exchange
      Ensure equal rights to economic resources, access to basic services, ownership and control over land and other forms of property, inheritance, natural resources, appropriate new technology and financial services, including microfinance

    The above descriptions are suggestions & guidelines, not restrictions.


  • Health and Wellbeing 

    medical care | sport | lifestyle

    WSA Healtn and Wellbeing.png

    Health & Well Being solutions may address for example:

    • Meeting healthcare needs of citizens and patients with innovative content applications
    • Reduce maternal mortality ratio & preventable deaths of new-borns and children
    • Prevention & reduction of epidemics like AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, hepatitis or substance abuse
    • Supporting healthcare professionals, as well as the broader public, policy makers and healthcare providers with easy data access and communication tools & diagnosing with technical solutions & content
    • Supporting research and development of vaccines and medicines, health financing and recruitment, development, training and retention of the health workforce
    • Enable information on healthcare, nutrition, medication, disease & well-being by smart solutions
    • Solutions to learn health & well-being by improving and enhancing healthy behaviour, nutrition, hygiene, sports
    • Content rich solutions to enjoy and facilitate sports, music, entertainment, style & fashion
    • Utilizing ICTs for hobbies, free-time activities and sports


    The above descriptions are suggestions & guidelines, not restrictions.

  • Learning and Education 

    Knowledge | science | skills

    WSA Learning and education.png
    The Learning & Education category may entail ICT solutions that:

    • Provide intelligent solutions for easy & low threshold access of education for everyone
    • Address the learning needs of every level of learner and creating interactive e-learning communities & interactive, personalized and distributed education resources online
    • Support knowledge transfer and skills gain in a complex and interactive fashion
    • Help teachers to enhance and simplify teaching & material creation & find new methods and innovative teaching solutions using ICT’s
    • Enhance corporate training & lifelong learning
    • Foster global collaboration in science, provide measures to promote science and demonstrate results and value to society
    • Eliminate gender disparities in education and ensure equal access to all levels of education and vocational training including persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and children in vulnerable situations
    • Provide child, disability and gender sensitive education tools and safe, non-violent, inclusive and effective learning environments

    The above descriptions are suggestions & guidelines, not restrictions.

  • Environment and Green Energy 

    climate | sustainable resources | agriculture

    The Environment & Green Energy category may entail ICT solutions that:

    • Support maintaining ecosystems, sustainable food production systems & resilient agricultural practices that increase productivity and production
    • Adaptation to climate change, extreme weather, drought, flooding and other disasters
    • Utilization of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge for sustainable agriculture
    • Facilitation of timely access to market information, including on food reserves
    • Supporting methods via ICT’s to progressively improve land and soil quality
    • Enhance agricultural productivity and support small-scale food producers
    • Water-use efficiency across all sectors & water resource management at all levels
    • Support and strengthen the participation in water- and sanitation, including water harvesting, desalination, water efficiency, wastewater treatment, recycling and reuse technologies
    • Enhance access to clean energy research and technology, including renewable energy, energy efficiency and advanced and cleaner fossil-fuel technology

    The above descriptions are suggestions & guidelines, not restrictions.

  • Culture and Tourism 

    heritage | entertainment | subcultures

    SWA Culture and tourism.png

    Culture & Tourism solutions may address for example:

    • Preserving and presenting cultural heritage in line with the challenges of the future
    • Demonstrating valuable cultural assets clearly and informatively using state-of-the-art technology
    • Develop the diversity of cultures and sub-cultures and the multilingual nature of societies
    • Enabling travellers to find attractions, to be informed and enlightened, to enjoy safe travel and have access to up-to-date travel information
    • Enhance intermodal use of public transport, supporting orientation in cities and countryside, allowing the hotel industry to address customers, and providing navigation-based content
    • Promote sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products
    • Safeguard and transmission of cultural heritage
    • Promote cultural diversity


    The above descriptions are suggestions & guidelines, not restrictions.

  • The Smart Settlements & Urbanization 

    mobility |productive work | sustainable living

    SWA smart settlement and urbanisation.png

    The Smart Settlements & Urbanization category may entail ICT solutions that:

    • Support higher levels of economic productivity through diversification, technological upgrading and innovation
    • Support productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value
    • Offer regional and trans border infrastructure, to support economic development and human well-being
    • Enhance safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems
      Entail inclusive and sustainable, integrated and sustainable human settlement planning and management
    • Solutions for safe, inclusive and accessible, green and public spaces
      Support positive economic, social and environmental links between urban, per-urban and rural areas
    • Solutions for financial and technical assistance, sustainable and smart buildings
    • Substantially increase the number of cities and human settlements adopting and implementing integrated policies and plans towards inclusion, resource efficiency, mitigation and
    • Support adaptation to climate change, resilience to disasters and/or risk management
    • Consumer information and/or smart access to data at all levels


    The above descriptions are suggestions & guidelines, not restrictions.

  • Business and Commerce 

    innovative services | security | finance | marketing

    This category may entail ICT solutions with high social impact that:

    • support and optimization of business processes
    • are Fintech solutions with social impact
    • create of new business models in e-commerce and m-commerce
    • are solutions which demonstrate an incremental or radical / disruptive innovation development
    • are applications, processes, products or business models in the financial services industry
    • are solutions with regard to their supported business processes such as financial information, payments, investments, financing, advisory and cross-process support
    • are solutions for the insurance industry ("InsurTech"), like retail, private and corporate banking as well as life and non-life insurance
    • are Business-to-business (B2B), business-to-consumer (B2C) or consumer-to-consumer (C2C) solutions, internet security and other areas
    • are complementary services such as personal finance management systems, or competitive solutions such as e.g. peer-to-peer lending
      provide Data security to protect sensitive consumer and corporate financial data

    The above descriptions are suggestions & guidelines, not restrictions.

  • Inclusion and Empowerment 

    diversity | gender | justice | human rights
    This category may entail ICT solutions with high social impact that:

    • support integration of the global information society, empower the social, economic and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status
    • empowering citizens and stakeholders in public services
    • reduce “digital divides” between technology-empowered and technology-excluded communities
    • Ensure equal opportunity and reduce inequalities, eliminating discriminatory laws, policies and practices in legislation, policies and action in this regard
    • Enhance resilience to climate-related extreme events and other economic, social and environmental shocks and disasters
    • Support mobilization of resources from a variety of sources
    • Ensure access for all everyone to food, education, information, data etc.
    • Strengthen the capacity, in particular developing countries, for early warning, risk reduction and health risks
    • Reduce discrimination against all women and girls & prevent all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres
    • Enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology, to promote the empowerment of women

    The above descriptions are suggestions & guidelines, not restrictions.

How to apply

WSA promotes and awards also young innovators under the age of 30, who developed a digital application tackling the sustainable development goals of UN .

The WSA Young Innovators Award is an open call.

  1. If you wish to apply for the UN WSA contest you need to contact Finland’s WSA National Expert. Once you have contacted the expert, they will go through the steps you will need to take in order to qualify for national selection with you.
  2. Your project will be reviewed and evaluated if it meets the eligibility criteria and standards of WSA.
  3. If your project is chosen to be nominated in one of the WSA categories, your WSA National Expert will enter your data in the WSA online Contest Database. Please make sure that your WSA National Expert has the right contact data.
  4. Upon nomination, you will receive a confirmation email inviting you to complete your application. After submitting your application you are officially enrolled in the global WSA. An especially assembled international Jury will evaluate in the next step all nominated and completed projects and choose the 40 WSA winners and WSA Young Innovators per year.

Please find more info about the timeline and how to apply

National contest

UN WSA is a non monetary award system focusing on sustainable knowledge transfer through a worldwide network and the WSA winners benefit from a lifelong partnership and integration. A nomination to the WSA is already a national award, the qualification to compete and be presented on an international level and being the best practice in 8 categories.

One of the major pillars of the WSA network are the WSA National Experts, who are responsible for the national pre-selection of entries to the WSA. WSA leverages this network in over 180 UN member countries. Finland’s National Expert is Ilkka Kurkela who works as a Development Manager in Laurea University of Applied Sciences. The national competition takes place during the summer. After a selection process with Finnish Jury members, the winners for 8 categories of the global competition are nominated.

Experiences from the contest


A nomination for the World Summit Award is already a win - these are the rewards:

  • More coverage on your product. WSA provides nominees with press templates to help them to gain the attention of national media with support of the WSA national experts
  • World Summit Award nominee seal to use on websites, social media channels and publications
  • Opportunity to receive feedback from the jurors.
  • Being nominated for the World Summit Award means to be the best in Finland in one of 8 categories. Experience has shown that this qualification can immensely improve outreach.

Winners of the World Summit Awards Benefits

  • Opportunity to be part of the next WSA Global Congress to pitch to a global worldwide audience, media and experts
  • Integration into a network of internationally recognized digital content developers
  • Access to the WSA community of global experts and industry leaders in over 180 countries
  • Interaction with world-renowned sponsors and partners of the WSA community
  • Workshops specially shaped for the winners needs
  • A videoclip highlighting the winners projects
  • Special placement on WSA website, youtube channel and social media promotion
  • Long-term coverage within WSA editorial channels


More information: