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Small ICT business innovation still big in Asia Pacific

Published on behalf of the Information Society Innovation Fund (ISIF)

The Asia Pacific is still proving to be a centre of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) innovation in small business, with the release of 2009 figures showing the sector is surging. APNIC’s Chief Scientist, Geoff Huston’s report, 2009 in Review – the IP Address Registry Perspective, shows despite a 5% global downturn, the Asia Pacific accounted for nearly half of the IP addresses allocated in 2009. Small business is leading the way in innovative approaches to the extension of infrastructure in the Asia Pacific. This approach requires flexible and timely funding strategies to support technical research and implementation, such as the assistance provided by funding programs such as ISIF.

The Information Society Innovation Fund (ISIF) is a small-grants program aimed at stimulating creative solutions to ICT development needs in the Asia Pacific region. The program was established in 2008 through a partnership between the Asia Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC), the Canadian International Development Research Centre (IDRC), the Internet Society (ISOC), and with generous support from the dotAsia domain registry.

The 2010 ISIF program received its greatest number of applications so far with 207 submissions received from 25 different economies. The competition was very tough, comprising a strict set of selection criteria and a rigorous process followed by the Grants Evaluation Committee (GEC), to finally select 8 projects from Australia (to be deployed in Timor-Leste), Bhutan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.

The successful projects showcase innovation, cooperation, and technical knowledge, and have the potential to create social change in their communities in areas such as IT infrastructure, health, or multilingualism. The projects also reflect current issues in technical and social discussion, including two projects that focus on IPv6 research and deployment; exploring the opportunity for developing economies to get ahead in the IPv6 challenge. Two other projects focus on the deployment of wireless technologies to serve isolated communities providing alternative services thus making communications cheaper and more accessible.

Details of the 2010 grant recipients are available here.

The ISIF program has received an increasing number of applications and requests for support. This indicates there is a vibrant community of reliable organizations and qualified IT professionals eager to test and develop new ideas, recognizing the need to boost R&D investment for ICT4D initiatives.

The ISIF program has reviewed its partnership and sponsorship strategy, opening the possibility for other interest parties to join the program. This will allow a higher number of projects to be sponsored per year, as well as fund sponsor workshops and produce in-depth publications.

For more details on how your organization can support cutting edge ICT programs in the region, contact Sylvia Cadena, ISIF Project Officer.

During 2010, results of the projects funded during 2009 will be shared with the Internet community.

ISIF is planning to continue with a new call for applications. Details will be available at www.isif.asia in late-2010.

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