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Expo Live funds over 100 global innovations


Dubai - The Innovation Impact Grant Programme of Expo Live attracted 11,000 applications from across the world over five cycles of participation.

Published: Thu 11 Mar 2021, 9:17 PM

Last updated: Sun 14 Mar 2021, 1:39 PM

When Expo 2020 opens in October, countless innovations and solutions to the world’s challenges will be on show. And one team that has been busy sifting through some of today’s best ideas is Expo Live.

The Innovation Impact Grant Programme of Expo Live attracted 11,000 applications from across the world over five cycles of participation. Interestingly, about 10 per cent of these applications were from the UAE.

A vertical of Expo 2020, Expo Live has been building a strong platform for the world fair since 2016. It launched its Innovation Impact and Grant programme to search, find and fund projects that showcase ingenuity and creativity. From agriculture to education, to projects that align with the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations, technology, etc., the platform has reached out to people across the globe and extended support to 140 global innovators.

“Each of these global innovators has received at least $100,000 in terms of support. This (amount) is good for entrepreneurs no matter where they are,” said Yousuf Caires, senior vice-president of Expo Live, in an exclusive chat with Khaleej Times.

Innovation is not just about using technology to improvise processes, it is about changing perspectives and behaviours that can help us tackle some of the pressing issues in a more efficient manner, Caires said.

“Expo Live is playing an imminent role in this sphere by bringing together innovators from across the world to the Expo 2020, offering them a level playing field where these entrepreneurs from all corners of the world can participate and show how they are dealing with a particular issue.”

Its grant programme was also successful in attracting applications from university students and led to the creation of a special programme for that category. “We were surprised to receive applications from university students for grants, which led us to create a University Innovation Programme that gave research and development grants of up to Dh50,000 per group,” says Caires.

More than 2,000 students from the UAE had applied for this grant, and the programme eventually supported 46 grantees from 19 universities through its two cycles of applications.

The importance of these projects isn’t just limited to finding new solutions but to also raise awareness among people and build a more dignified world. Expo Live is also engaging bright minds from across the globe to steer dialogues on how people can initiate change.

“When we think about labour, we think about jobs. But for a better future, we don’t need more jobs, we need meaningful jobs that allow diginity of work. Through this platform, we also want to focus on human dignity. We want to initiate conversations on what we can do for the planet. Through our global innovators we are trying to target issues related to opportunity, mobility and sustainability,” Caires said.

Expo 2020 has teamed up with the UN and other organisations and is organising Expo Talks to discuss and debate on how it can make change. The next talk is on March 23 on water.


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