LKDF Forum 2021 — How can businesses innovate inclusively?

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DIGITAL SME and BITMi are co-organising a panel at the LKDF Forum 2021 on 22 September, 11.00 – 12.00 CEST to discuss how businesses can innovate inclusively. Register now and learn concrete examples of SME-based inclusive innovation from Rwanda and Germany!

Inclusivity is both a requirement for a just future and provides a decisive boost to sustainable development efforts by mobilising and including underrepresented demographics in the economy.

From a business perspective, inclusion can mean many things. Hiring more women and representatives of minority groups is an important first step. But inclusivity can also mean seeing trading partners from different geographies as equals. All too often in development discourses, power imbalances between so-called industrialised nations and so-called developing nations are upheld or even exacerbated. But innovation emerges from Africa, Latin America and South-East Asia as much as from Europe and the United States, and one of the most important steps towards more inclusivity is taking innovation emanating from “developing” countries seriously.

In this panel, speakers will present examples of inclusive innovation within a project between Germany and Rwanda. First, Dr Oliver Grün from the European DIGITAL SME Alliance and the German Federation of IT SMEs (BITMi) will set the stage and share his approach to inclusive innovation.

After that, Dr Geraldine Schmitz from BITMI will present her organisation’s SME-centred cooperation project Access to International Partnerships in IT (AIPI) with the ICT Chamber Rwanda, which has a focus on digital-skills-related initiatives.

Finally, Rwandan entrepreneur and computer scientist Clarisse Iribagiza will explore inclusivity from the point of view of her technology company HeHe Limited, which features a dedicated academy to foster young talent with over 400 graduates and 69% female enrolment.

After a moderated discussion with the two speakers and additional stakeholders, the floor will be opened up for a Q&A with participants.

This article was developed in the context of #skills4prosperity, a joint campaign by UNIDO‘s Learning and Knowledge Development Facility and the European DIGITAL SME Alliance.