Expo Dubai launches the $100 million innovation and partnership programme, Expo Live to support social entrepreneurs across the region and the world with funding, guidance and exposure.
The programme, has received to date more than 10 thousand applications from 184 countries and has supported so far 120 global innovators from 65 countries across the globe.
Expo Live projects offer solutions across 14 different sectors, including agriculture, education, environment, employment, energy and healthcare.
“Think of it as a way in which we are trying to find global innovators, people who are working on innovations but at the same they would like to make the world a better place and that is in a nutshell what we are trying to do,” Fatma Ibrahim, Expo Live, Assistant Manager, Expo 2020 Dubai told Zawya.
The programme help in funding by giving global innovators with a grant of up to $100 thousand. Aside from the financial support, the innovators benefit from media exposure opportunities and showcasing in Expo 2020 in front of a huge number of visitors.
This global initiative is called Innovation Impact Grant Programme (IIGP) and the UAE-based initiative is called the University Innovation Programme.
On the IIGP front, the programme concentrates on startups, SMEs, NGOs, social enterprises, people who are still at their early stages of the innovation journey and are looking for support from such a big name as Expo 2020.
The innovators coming from different countries are not only implementing their projects in their communities and within their societies but also have a wider reach.
Expo Live signs agreements with grantees for 12 months and continues the collaboration and support with them after the one-year period.
Innovators need to meet certain criteria before applying to the programme. The first criteria is that it should be a legally registered entity; the second one is that the project needs to be at least at the prototype level, while the third and fourth criteria require meeting aspects of innovation and the sense of social impact respectively.
As for the University Innovation Programme, forty-six teams of students, from across the UAE, were granted up to 50,000 dirhams ($13.61 thousand) each, alongside exposure, mentorship and guidance to help develop creative solutions to pressing challenges.
Ibrahim said that Expo Live helps students as part of the University Innovation Programme to move from “an idea on a piece of paper into actual startups.”