FAQ – WSA and how it works in a nutshell

WSA - what does that actually mean?

WSA has been initiated in 2003 in the framework of the UN World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). The Austrian government invited ICNM (NGO organizing WSA) to come up with a concept. ICNM introduced WSA- the World Summit Award - as award for the World Summit.

The idea was to use the mechanism of a global contest, to demonstrate to governments and policy makers digital content solutions from all over the world. In 2020 the World Summit Award became WSA - fresher, bigger, concise.


What is the award, what do the winners get, how does it work?

WSA uses the mechanism of an award to identify best practice solutions from all over the world. WSA awards digital solutions with a positive impact on society, contributing to the achievement of the UN SDGs.

WSA applies the UN model (1 vote per country in the general assembly) to its contest - each UN member state can nominate only 1 solution per category per year to the contest. You can not apply yourself - you need to be nominated as local best solution. Therefore WSA works with and through so called national experts, representing WSA in their countries and organizing national pre-selections in order to have a fair, transparent and democratic process of selection to find the national nominations. To date, WSA has national experts in 182 countries.

All nominations (around 500/year from 120 countries) are evaluated by an international experts jury in 3 phases. The jury selects 40 global winners per year - 5 by WSA category. The winners are invited to present their solutions at the WSA Global Congress, where they also get introduced to potential mentors, partners, investors and gain new skills in workshops and trainings. WSA winners don't get a cash prize but an introduction to a global community.


What is WSA doing for the youth?

WSA believes in the power of the youth.

Offering a lower threshold for young entrepreneurs under the age of 26, WSA engages the youth with the yearly WSA Young Innovators contest. It's an open contest for all young digital entpreneurs under 26 years of age, who already developed a product with a positive impact on society.


So what's a typical WSA winner?

A digital solution. Interactive. It needs to be on the market and already successful in its country. The solution needs to prove a positive impact on society.


Got the award - what else?


WSA is a global community of founders, mentors, partners, speakers, experts, government leaders - we believe in global cooperation and multistakeholder processes. Therefore WSA brings its community together in events, workshops. WSA shares knowledge in a podcast. WSA partners with other organisations for joint programs and initiatives. WSA also runs a global entrepreneurship program for students, bringing universities and entrepreneurs together.


Is WSA part of the UN? Do we get money from the UN?

WSA has been initiated in the framework of the UN and this is part of our DNA.

Multistakeholder - contributing to the agenda 2030 - globally - joint values - gender balanced.

However - WSA is an independent activity, often endorsed or in partnership with UN entities but there is no official affiliation and unfortunately we don ́t get any money from them.


How do you measure your success and impact?


By the quality and sustainable success of our winners. By the quality of our community. Join and see yourself.


How is WSA financed?

WSA is organized by a not for profit organisation. We currently have a grant from the European commission and some public funding from Austrian ministries. All other activities are financed through sponsoring. Plus - WSA's overhead is really small - only 4 full time employees organize this global activity.


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