ICONLOOP has formed yet another impressive partnership in the public sector, this time with the United Nations’ specialized agency for informational and communication technologies.

The creators of ICON’s blockchain engine announced last Friday that it had signed a Collaboration Agreement with the International Telecommunication Union, or ITU, to establish a high-level framework of cooperation regarding the ITU Smart Incubator Programme with the aim of providing support and know-how on blockchain-related technologies to global start-up ecosystems.

Launched in September 2018, the ITU Smart Incubator Programme assists and supports tech-oriented entrepreneurs and start-ups in the early stages of development. Among the technologies in which the program has taken an interest are artificial intelligence, blockchain and the Internet of Things. The program hopes to enable innovation and change in telecommunication/ICT spheres through the digital transformation of society by empowering local entrepreneurs and start-ups.

Its work is linked to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, a collection of 17 global goals adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2015 for 2030. The goals include ending poverty and hunger, promoting health and gender equality, and encouraging industry, innovation, infrastructure and sustainable communities.

Under the just-announced collaboration agreement, ICONLOOP will serve with the program as a Knowledge Partner in blockchain. It will begin in Africa, where it will help startups in developing African states grow and expand through pilot projects focusing on three core pillars: technical know-how, business development, and outreach and networking. ICONLOOP will not only offer startups access to its extensive industry network, but also help them secure investment through marketing and big blockchain-related events.

In the official press release, ICONLOOP’s CEO Jonghyup Kim says, “Blockchain technology will be an important opportunity for international organizations, countries, and enterprises to solve various socio-economic challenges facing developing countries such as sustainable energy, agriculture, and financial accessibility.” He adds, “ICONLOOP will promote not only cross-border business and technology cooperation for mass adoption of the blockchain, but also create social value by utilizing it.”

Josh Choi, ICONLOOP’s Director of Public Affairs and the ITU’s forever Programme Lead, says the agreement will promote the use of blockchain solutions in the ICT sectors of developing countries, improving social outcomes. “We will work together with companies to directly intervene in the public sector,” he says. “For example, to provide access to micro-financing to small farmers or making agricultural supply chains transparent.”

The deal also presents ICONLOOP with an opportunity to expand in emerging markets, where competitors are fewer and legacy systems less entrenched. In such markets, you have less trouble convincing decision makers why they should abandon the old ways in favor of innovation solutions. Choi says, “If you look at developing companies, they can immediately jump up to the level of applying blockchain.”

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