Digital Entrepreneurship

Working Group Co-Chaired by:

Andrus Ansip
Vice President, European Commission

A growing number of reports and studies recognize the key role that digital technologies can play in improving the business landscape across the world. It provides an opportunity for both developed and less developed countries to achieve sustainable growth and to create decent jobs and thereby to contribute to the achievement of the SDGs. Digital entrepreneurship  can strongly contribute to reduce poverty and create prosperity and livelihoods and digital entrepreneurs can reap the benefits of the global market. Young people can develop their capacity to build start-ups and innovative community initiatives by using digital technologies as a support. Digitalization can also create opportunities in sectors such as cultural and creative industries which employ proportionately greater numbers of young people and women.

Digital hubs and scalable digital services and products are emerging in developing countries. In addition to creating growth and jobs they serve as a way to address local problems using digital means. Digital entrepreneurship is driven by so called “frugal innovation”, meaning design of products and services that are affordable and durable, without having a focus on sophistication

Nevertheless, analysis show that businesses – and SMEs in particular – often struggle with digital developments. Barriers to cross-border trade, regulatory and administrative burdens, insufficient access to finance and digital skills in the workforce. Removing intermediaries, matching employers with their future employees, providing online education, adapting the educational material, giving people their first physical address and their first bank account are just a few of the areas that digital entrepreneurs have to address. In order to build innovation ecosystems, a number of measures are necessary.

The Working Group concluded its activities and issued the final outcome report. The publication was released during the Annual Meeting of the Broadband Commission in New York, on 23rd September 

The report sets a nine-point action plan and puts forward several Broadband Commission Targets and recommendations to foster digital entrepreneurship. including these:

1. Connect.

2. Skill Up.

3. Build a Supportive Policy Environment for Digital Development.

4. Deliver Equal Opportunities.

5. Make the Administrative Transactions of Running a Business Fully Digital.

6. Adopt and Propagate Electronic Identities and Signatures.

7. Fund Knowledge and Innovation.

8. Harmonise Cross-Country Rules for Healthy, High-Volume Regional Trading Relationships.

9. Develop Digitally. 

Objectives of the Group:

  • Confirmation of the 5 themes to be assessed: legal and regulatory frameworks, cross border barriers, physical environment, labor and financial markets and possible modifications

  • Selection of the most relevant issues to be addressed per theme

  • Analysis of existing evidence, literature and proposals to address the issues under each theme, including work of the previous Working Groups of the Broadband Commission

  • Drafting of preliminary recommendation before the spring meeting. Monthly/Bimonthly VCs

  • Working Party meeting at the spring 2018 meeting

  • Contribution to the 2018 annual report of the Broadband Commission

  • Final endorsement of the recommendations and the launch of the assessment report

  • Possible evaluation on progress in the implementation of the recommendations in 2019


digital entreprenurship

Digital Entrepreneurship

This report examines the potential that digital entrepreneurship has to dramatically improve lives in developing countries, and to help those countries make progress on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the 17 global objectives (and 169 targets) agreed by the United Nations’ 193 member states and the international community in 2015.


Broadband Commissioners

  1. European Commission (Chair) 
  2. AU Commissioner
  3. Bharti enterprises
  4. VEON
  5. ITC 
  6. GMSA
  7. America Mobil
  8. Republic of Rwanda
  9. IMDA, Singapore
  10. Facebook
  11. Kenyatta University
  12. Inmarsat
  13. Nokia
  14. Huawei Technologies
  15. ITU
  16. CITC Saudi Arabia
  17. Intelsat
  18. Pakistan​
  20. UNESCO
  21. UN Foundation
  22. OECD
  23. UNCTAD
  24. Intel
  25. ITSO

External Experts