Skip links

Greatest EXPO 2020 Value: Brightest Minds of the World and Brand-New Ideas

The global Covi-19 pandemic postponed the World EXPO 2020 Dubai for a year. The event, carrying the flag of ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’, will take place from October 2021 to 31 March 2022. This one-year break is neither a retreat or stalling. The brightest minds, visionaries and innovators of our planet are already gathering under the EXPO 2020 flag, engaging in intensive work for a better future. Here are some of the August news, published by EXPO 2020 Dubai organisational committee.

Expo 2020 Dubai unveils a new round of social entrepreneurs helping communities around the world

19 August 2020. An Australian organisation providing work opportunities for refugees, a dementia breakthrough from Malta and an environmentally-sustainable Indian packaging company are among 23 new social innovators helping to tackle some of the world’s most pressing challenges as part of Expo 2020’s global innovation and partnership programme, Expo Live.

The Expo Live Innovation Impact Grant Programme (IIGP) began in 2016, and has since expanded from 29 Global Innovators in 22 countries to 142 grantees across 76 countries, with each offered funding of up to AED 367,000 (USD 100,000), plus expert advice and the opportunity to share their ideas with a global audience.

Cycle Five grantees were selected from a pool of more than 4,000 applicants from 170 countries, proving that meaningful innovation to tackle some of the world’s greatest challenges can come from anywhere, to everyone.

Some of these global challenges, including rising levels of unemployment, inequality and poor access to quality healthcare, have been exacerbated by the current global health crisis, demonstrating a greater need than ever for collaborative solutions to address them.

Yousuf Luiz Caires, Senior Vice President, Expo Live, said: ‘Through Expo Live, Expo 2020 is demonstrating its commitment to driving solutions that will positively affect global communities and future generations, supporting social impact start-ups across the world.’

Expo 2020 will offer a unique platform to its Expo Live Global Innovators, including many from Arab nations such as the UAE, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Lebanon. It will provide them with the opportunity to showcase their solutions on a global stage, encouraging collaboration, sparking ideas and inspiring further positive change.

Global Innovators joining the IIGP include Australia-based Talent Beyond Boundaries (TBB), which helps refugees and displaced people move internationally for work, leveraging their own professional skills to secure their futures. An international non-profit, TBB is engaging the global private sector and national governments to provide a safe, legal migration option for refugees, enabling them to generate income for themselves and their families, while also offering a solution to industries and communities who struggle to find the talent they need.

Malta-based BrainTrip, created by lifelong brain enthusiasts with backgrounds in cognitive science, neuroscience and medicine, offers an affordable, easy-to-use and mobile EEG-based (electroencephalogram) method to diagnose dementia – a major breakthrough in rapid screening and early detection of the debilitating disease.

Also among the grantees is GICMED, whose innovative tele-medicine platform and smartphone digital microscopy system allows women in rural areas of Cameroon to be screened and diagnosed for breast and cervical cancers. This takes place at the point of care by medical specialists ordinarily only present in a handful of big cities.

More than half the Global Innovators in Cycle Five are also led by women, highlighting Expo Live’s commitment to female-led entrepreneurship and building on the major contribution of women in the delivery of Expo 2020. To date, 35 per cent of all Global Innovators – 49 out of 142 in the IIGP – are led by female entrepreneurs.

They include India-based Ecoware, whose range of 30-plus compostable, 100 per cent natural and biodegradable packaging products addresses two significant environmental problems in India – air and plastic pollution. Made from common agricultural residue that would otherwise be burnt in the open, its products directly benefit the planet and people, particularly children and those more vulnerable to air pollution.

Ms Rhea Mazumdar Singhal, Founder & CEO of Ecoware said: ‘Ecoware supports environmental sustainability and engages the community to be part of the solution. With Expo Live funds we will be able to source new types of agricultural waste for conversion into applications that will displace single-use plastics, take our products to smaller towns and cities, and expand our impact. This will make a real difference in India, where it is common to see littered streets, clogged drainages and overflowing dumpsites. By facilitating waste conversion, we help prevent the emission of greenhouse gases due to stubble burning, while creating jobs and opportunities for underprivileged communities in the process.’

Amal Work, a Palestine-based start-up, empowers construction workers through its online platform aimed at improving workers’ access to suitable employment opportunities with their safety and dignity preserved. Its app provides cross-examinations of worker/contractor profiles and has multiple filters, including reviews.

‘All projects supported by Expo Live so far – from improving access to mental health platforms in Egypt, Saudi Arabia or the UK, to innovative recycling technology in China – remain committed to improving people’s lives during the global health crisis. The latest cohort of Global Innovators will carry on this tradition, inspiring others to find solutions to challenges in their own communities, and playing a significant role in helping shape a better world.’

Rowan Alawi, Co-Founder, Amal Work, said: ‘Our relationship with Expo 2020 stretches back to July 2019, when we were extremely proud to be selected – from an initial pool of more than 4,000 applications – for our app that continues to change the lives of construction workers across Palestine. In March, we came to Dubai to pitch our idea to a grant evaluation committee made up of industry experts and key stakeholders. That pitch was successful, and now, with Expo Live’s support, we are able to further commercialise and develop our platform, helping our workforce to access the right opportunities, at the right time.’

Projects under the Expo Live programme look for solutions across 14 different sectors. These include innovators that help to address the challenges set out in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), 17 global goals designed to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.

Expo 2020 and participating countries show strong progress and commitment to shared goals

Organisers, members of the Expo 2020 Dubai Higher Committee and BIE representatives, plus participants, commercial partners and government officials from around the world, convened virtually from 24- 27 August for the fifth Expo 2020 International Participants Meeting (IPM), where they discussed updates on site operations, facilities management, Expo 2020’s events and programming calendar, and content related to marketing, communications and media services.

Expo 2020’s resilient response to the current global health crisis has enabled progress towards the next World Expo to continue unabated. Following the completion of Expo-led construction at the end of 2019, work this year has focused on landscaping the site and fitting out the Expo-owned buildings. Preparations for the Country Pavilions also continue at pace, underscoring the strong commitment that participants continue to show for the event.

Dimitri Kerkentzes, Secretary General of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), the governing body of World Expos, said: ‘Dubai and the UAE along with all participating countries have continued to make remarkable progress towards delivering the next World Expo despite the impact and challenges of a global pandemic.’

Every country will contribute to Expo 2020’s dynamic, diverse and ever-changing events programme, while Expo 2020 has continued to develop its specialist programming, which will highlight some of the world’s most pressing challenges, including climate change, health and wellness, inequality and environmental degradation.

Themed weeks and international day events will encourage partners, participants and visitors to explore global issues and commit to collective action against them. This will build on Expo’s existing efforts in bringing the world together to facilitate progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.


Expo 2020 and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation team up to support grassroots innovations tackling the world’s biggest challenges

27 August 2020. Expo 2020 Dubai has joined forces with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support grassroots innovators with the ambition and potential to improve the lives of people across a variety of complex, fragile or marginalised humanitarian settings, organisers announced at the end of the fifth Expo 2020 International Participants Meeting (IPM).

The link-up with Expo Live, Expo 2020’s global innovation and partnership programme, comes amid a global need for creative solutions to support millions of people living in challenging environments. Many of these situations have been exacerbated by the current global health crisis, highlighting a need to work together and collaborate across borders to create a better future – in line with Expo’s central aims and mirroring Dubai’s deep-rooted history of bringing people together to encourage positive change.

Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director General, Expo 2020 Dubai Bureau, said: ‘Working with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation underscores Expo 2020’s purpose of bringing people together to explore global issues and commit to collective action against them, spurring cooperation and helping to create a better future. The initiative empowers grassroots social innovators with funding and guidance to improve people’s lives, their communities and the environment, yet the real impact goes even further – inspiring optimism for the future and stoking global action to help millions facing unimaginable challenges in their everyday lives.’

Joe Cerrell, Managing Director, Global Policy and Advocacy, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said: ‘More than ever before, the world is in need of innovative solutions to support the millions of people living through challenging environments caused by emergencies, with people displaced by war and civil unrest.’

He added: ‘This initiative will help fund and develop innovative solutions from across the world that have the potential to save lives during an emergency or enable affected communities to rebuild better and safer, and become more resilient over the longer-term. We look forward to working with Expo Live and social entrepreneurs globally to spotlight solutions that can deliver a positive impact within some of the world‘s most challenging humanitarian settings.’

The collaboration will promote innovation in global humanitarian and development response by identifying, co-funding and upscaling ambitious innovative solutions. The Gates Foundation’s Emergency Response Programme – which helps communities build strong systems to strengthen their ability to ‘build back better’ in the wake of a crisis – will share expertise, best practices and technical assistance with a specific focus on water, sanitation, health, agriculture and financial inclusion.

Learnings from the Expo Live Global Innovators will help the Gates Foundation’s Emergency Response Programme assess how grassroots solutions can be applied elsewhere in the world, spreading optimism for the future and inspiring further action towards the Sustainable Development Goals.

Grantees identified under the initiative include PichaEats, a Malaysia-based catering and meal-box service powered by ‘Picha chefs’– refugees who create authentic delicacies and cuisines from their homelands; myAgro which uses cell phone technology to enable smallholder farmers in Mali to set aside funds for the purchase of high-quality agricultural supplies and training; and Seenaryo, which supports life skills and academic achievement for children in refugee and local communities across Lebanon and Jordan.

The first World Expo in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region – Expo 2020 – will run for six months from 1 October 2021 until 31 March 2022. The event will coincide with the 50-year anniversary of the founding of the UAE, and highlight the country’s role as a global connecting hub for people, ideas, and innovation.

Based on EXPO 2020 Dubai information

Article from magazine JURA