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Colombian, Panamanian and Uruguayan companies and agencies win IDB prizes for ICT projects

Award ceremony to be held Thursday in Montevideo, Uruguay, during the Ministerial Conference on Information Societies in Latin America and the Caribbean

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) today announced the winners of its Innovatic awards, which recognize the creative use of information and communication technologies and broadband connectivity to boost productivity in government agencies and private businesses in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The prizes were awarded to Panama’s Colon Free Zone Administration; the Ministries of Livestock and Interior and the Electronic Government and Information Society Agency ( AGESIC ) of Uruguay; Colombian companies Publik and TEAM, and Uruguayan startup

The winners were announced ahead of the 4th Ministerial Conference on Information Society in Latin America and the Caribbean, which will take place later this week in Montevideo, under the auspices of the UN Economic Commission on Latin America and the Caribbean and AGESIC. The award ceremony will be held at 5 pm on Thursday, April 4 at the Radisson Hotel.

“These awards underscore the importance of using ICTs to promote productivity and innovation, both in the public and the private sectors. The winners of the Innovatic prizes will become the most effective examples for demonstrating what you can achieve when you have the right mix of technology, vision, ingenuity and human capital,” said Rafael Anta, lead specialist at the IDB’s Competitiveness, Technology and Innovation Division.

The Innovatic awards cover five categories: public policies, e-government, broadband, e-commerce and social networks. Two prizes were awarded in the e-government category, while no winner was declared for the public policy category.

In the e-government category, the Colon Free Zone Administration won an award for its electronic documentation system, which links companies with the agency via internet in order to register and authorize cargo shipments in the CFZ, the world’s second largest free zone. The system, which handles more than 1 million transactions totaling over $30 billion a year, helped cut the average time to process paperwork from more than two hours to less than three minutes. By switching to an electronic system, the Panamanian agency also eliminated the use of more than 12 million paper forms each year.

In the same category, Uruguay’s Ministry of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries, the Ministry of the Interior and AGESIC won an award for a project that strengthened the National System of Livestock Information. This platform holds data on 12 million head of cattle, each one of which has an electronic identification, which allows authorities to trace them and to crack down on rustling. The system also allows Uruguay to maintain high standards of traceability, which have helped its beef exporters gain new markets.

Publik Emociones e Interactividad, a company based in Medellin, Colombia, won the award for innovative use of broadband. Publik uses this technology to transmit and monitor multimedia content displayed on its electronic billboards through the country’s biggest cities. By using broadband communications, the company has achieved high operating efficiency in the usage of its information and entertainment channels.

TEAM Ingenieria de Conocimiento, a consulting firm headquartered in Bogota, Colombia, won the award for innovative use of social networks for business. TEAM’s open innovation platform, developed with assistance from COLCIENCIAS and Universidad Distrital Francisco Jose de Caldas, allowed the firm to better position itself and identify new sources of demand for its services. It also helped it build a virtual community with more than 1,700 subscribers who exchange ideas and share knowledge on innovation processes and opportunities., a young Uruguayan company, won the award for the most innovative use of e-commerce. The startup uses Internet and Android and iOS applications to connect restaurants with people who want to order meals for home delivery. The model, which helps its small and medium-size clients increase their sales and productivity, has expanded to cover 4,000 restaurants in seven Latin American countries.

The nominations for the Innovatic awards were reviewed by a committee of IDB specialist and external experts who took into account the degree of innovation, impact, ingenuity, sustainability, evaluability and pertinence of the projects.

About the IDB

The Inter-American Development Bank is a leading source of multilateral financing for Latin America and the Caribbean. The IDB’s Competitiveness, Technology and Innovation Division promotes the creation and growth of dynamic businesses in the region, strengthening their capacity and providing them tools to innovate and compete in world markets.

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