Expo 2020 Dubai awards innovators from around the globe

Expo 2020 Dubai awards innovators from around the globe
The projects were chosen based on their potential to positively impact the environment or generate social value.
Published: 3 October 2018 - 5:24 a.m.
By: David Ndichu

Expo 2020 Dubai’s global social impact programme Expo Live has launched its fourth cycle, awarding successful projects with grants of up to USD 100,000 each.

The projects were chosen based on their potential to positively impact the environment or generate real social value in line with Expo 2020’s three key subthemes of Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability.

The launch of the IIGP’s fourth cycle coincides with the inaugural Expo Live Global Innovators Summit. Hosted in Dubai, the event was attended by Global Innovators from nearly 40 countries who received grants and support as part of the initiative’s previous cycles.

Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director General of Dubai Expo 2020 Bureau, said: “The true legacy of Expo 2020 Dubai will be measured by the connections it creates, the people it inspires and the future it builds.

“Expo Live not only symbolises what a World Expo should stand for, it also enables Expo 2020 Dubai to deliver on its promise of social innovation and to inspire future generations to create a positive impact. Through initiatives such as Expo Live’s Innovation Impact Grant Programme, we have an opportunity to empower individuals and communities around the world to solve pressing challenges.”

The Expo Live Global Innovators Summit, which began on 30 September, 2018 and concluded yesterday, saw social entrepreneurs from around the world participate in workshops, training sessions and in-depth discussions. Attendees also took advantage of opportunities to network with other Global Innovators, while Expo 2020’s Premier Partners Accenture, Cisco, DP World, Emirates NBD, Etisalat, PepsiCo and SAP, plus Official Partners DEWA, Emaar Hospitality and UPS, offered support and advice throughout the event.

All 70 projects that have secured support from the IIGP correlate with one of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a set of 17 global objectives that, if achieved, will secure a good basic quality of life for everyone.

For example, Brazilian project F123, which received funding as part of the programme’s first cycle, is developing a portable and affordable talking computer that provides visually impaired people with a greater degree of independence, in line with the ‘Reduced Inequalities’ SDG.

Fernando H F Botelho, founder of F123, said: “The Expo Live grant helped us achieve our goal by speeding up the development process. It enabled us to create the world’s first free Arabic speech synthesiser, which is compatible with low-cost computers. Participating in the Global Innovators Summit also has been an incredible opportunity for all of us to benefit from the expertise and assistance of the Expo Live team and Expo 2020’s partners. It is very encouraging to see that we are fully supported and it makes us want to work even harder to make this world a better place.”

In line with the ‘Quality Education’ SDG, UAE-based start-up Smart Labour has developed a mobile app that helps blue-collar workers improve their reading and writing skills, while offering rewards such as vouchers.

Since securing Expo Live’s support, Smart Labour has partnered with the UAE Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation to implement the app across the country and develop it further. The firm has also signed a contract with Dubai Taxi, and more than 3,500 drivers have already used the app to take courses.

Abu Muadh, founder of Smart Labour, which also secured funding during the programme’s first cycle, said the platform now has 40,000 registered users, up from a few thousand people before securing Expo Live’s support.

Yousuf Caires, Vice President, Expo Live at Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “Expo Live is proud to support passionate visionaries who are having a positive social and environmental impact all over the world. All 70 Global Innovators reaffirm our belief that innovation can come from anywhere, to everyone.

“We know there are more innovators impacting their communities in all corners of the globe and we encourage them to apply for funding, assistance and exposure as part of the fourth cycle of the Innovation Impact Grant Programme.”

Expo Live is a USD 100 million innovation and partnership programme launched by Expo 2020 Dubai to fund, accelerate and promote projects that offer creative solutions to pressing global challenges. Its various initiatives facilitate promising innovations that would not reach their full potential without Expo Live’s support.

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