Dozens of innovations, ranging from agricultural initiatives that empower women and farmers to novel products that could combat desertification or plastic waste, are among the latest to receive a major boost from Expo Live, run by organisers of the Expo 2020 Dubai.
Twenty-six projects from 22 countries have been selected in the third cycle of Expo Live’s flagship Innovation Impact Grant Programme, following a rigorous evaluation process, a statement said.
It added that competition was particularly strong in this cycle, with more than 1,200 applications from 114 countries.
Expo Live supports projects whose creative solutions to pressing challenges improve people’s lives or preserve the planet – or both. These innovators will join an existing community of Expo Live Global Innovators, bringing the total to 70 grantees from 42 countries.
Among the new Global Innovators is a Ghanaian woman who is empowering other women by teaching them how to grow a local wild grain called fonio on abandoned lands.
Through her social enterprise Unique Quality Products, Salma Abdulai engages disenfranchised women to farm abandoned land, helping them to provide for their families and gain financial independence.
To help such projects reach their full potential, Expo Live provides each successful initiative with a grant of up to $100,000, made available as they meet ongoing conditions.
The innovators operate in an array of fields, including healthcare, education, renewable energy, fintech, waste management and water management.
Germany’s Coolar has developed a solar-powered refrigerator that can store life-saving vaccines in off-the-grid, remote locations without the need for electricity. The Expo Live grant will help the firm pilot the refrigerator.
Other beneficiaries include the OTTAA Project from Argentina which is giving a voice to the speech impaired with its portable, AI-powered device that predicts what users want to say and says it for them.
Yousuf Caires, vice president – Expo Live at Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “Expo Live is based on a firm belief that innovation can come from anywhere to everyone. This is a major component of our redefinition of what a World Expo can and should do: tap into its convening power well before the event to enable problem-solvers around the globe to promote innovation and build partnerships that leave a lasting legacy not only in the UAE and the region but across the world.”
Expo 2020 Dubai will take place from October 20, 2020 to April 10 2021 and will be the first World Expo to be held in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region.
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