Getachew Engida

Former Deputy Director-General



LI Yong

UNIDO Director General



Dr. Michael Häupl

Mayor and Governor of Vienna

Mayor and Governor of Vienna


Norbert Hofer

Federal Minister for Transport, Innovation and Technology

Federal Minister for Transport, Innovation and Technology


Univ.-Prof. Dr. Heinz Faßmann

Minister Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research

Minister Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research



Minister of Digitalisation and Economics

Minister of Digitalisation and Economics Austria


Dr. Andreas J. Ludwig


Umdasch Group


Andreas Mailath-Pokorny

Stadtrat für Kultur, Wissenschaft und Sport

Stadt Wien


Renate Brauner

Stadträtin für Finanzen, Wirtschaft und Internationales

Stadt Wien






UNIDO’s mandate is to promote inclusive and sustainable industrial development in our Member States. Over the decades, industrial development has proven to play a key role in development, and in particular in poverty reduction through the generation of income-earning opportunities. Industrial development that is sustainable and inclusive also holds the potential to address environmental and climate change issues. At UNIDO, we strongly believe that the realization of SDG 9 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development will have positive spillovers on the attainment of the other SDG’s.


The future of manufacturing and the evolving industrialization process is undergoing a change, particularly during this era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). UNIDO foresaw these changes - in 2016, our Industrial Development Report estimated that benefits arising from cutting-edge technologies would be between 16 and 35 US dollars per year by 2025. To ensure smooth transformation to 4IR, it is imperative that Member States foster technological learning, innovation and entrepreneurship – especially among youth and women. This is confirmed by the findings from our Industrial Development Report 2020 indicating that when the right capabilities are in place, new technologies offer huge potential to advance economic growth and human well-being and to safeguard the environment.


UNIDO is actively engaged in supporting entrepreneurship development in our Member States. Among the many ongoing entrepreneurial activities, a key initiative that has had tangible results is our Entrepreneurship Curriculum Programme (ECP). Through this programme, UNIDO assists authorities in developing their own curriculum with syllabus, teachers’ guides, textbooks, monitoring and evaluation tools, assessment guidelines, training ECP teachers, piloting and ultimately embarking on a nationwide rollout of an entrepreneurship curriculum with the full involvement of the national authorities.


The ECP supports inclusivity by engaging with girls and boys in rural and urban areas. Entrepreneurship is included as a general subject in secondary, technical or vocational schools on a nationwide basis. Universities and colleges serve as centres of excellence to support national efforts to promote entrepreneurship and technology absorbing capacities.


The ECP empowers youth to acquire personal qualities such as self-confidence, innovation and creativity, the ability to take initiatives, as well as the willingness to take calculated risks and to collaborate. These competencies help them select and shape their career path as employees or entrepreneurs.


Gender Empowerment and Equality is an important component in our work. Our efforts in this area is guided by our “Strategy for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women: 2020–2023” that systematically helps us to plan, steer, deliver and report more effectively on progress towards its gender equality commitments at the global, regional, national and organizational levels.


UNIDO stands ready to support the role of entrepreneurship to drive towards the vision that we want as envisaged in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs aims to further improve Austria as a business location, to promote growth and ensure a stable upswing. To develop the business location, considerable endeavours in the area of research and innovation are still necessary, and efforts must be made to spread digitisation in all economic and social areas. Both are top priorities for the new Austrian Federal Government, and they are centrally coordinated by the Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs. All activities toward digital transformation are combined in the “Digital Austria” scheme ( Currently we are working on new “strategic action plans on digitisation”. The aim is to bolster Austria’s role as a leading digital nation in order to guarantee and increase prosperity, job opportunities and quality of life in the long term. Modern technologies offer enormous opportunities and require entrepreneurs to fully unlock their economic potential. The World Summit Award presents the most innovative young people from more than 180 countries together with their outstanding digital projects, each with the capacity to make a deep impact and improve our society. I would like to thank all participants and winners of this year’s Award for their courage and patience in 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.