As Dubai’s much-awaited Expo 2020 promises to bring in opportunities for small businesses and entrepreneurs, one of its initiatives implementing this objective, Expo Live, has announced monetary grants to 29 social innovation projects from 22 countries, including five Middle Eastern startups. According to a statement, Expo Live, while not disclosing the amount for each project, says it would grant up to US$100,000 per initiative under its Innovation Impact Grant Program.
Launched by Dubai Expo 2020, Expo Live with a fund of $100 million on offer, seeks projects “offering creative solutions to pressing challenges that impact people’s lives or help preserve our world- or both.” Kicked off in January 2017, Expo Live says it will support winning projects through “funds, business guidance, promotion and acceleration.” In addition to the aforementioned support, the winners also get an opportunity to showcase their work at Expo 2020, a world Expo in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region that expects large-scale attendance from businesspersons and policymakers worldwide.
Among the 29 projects that have benefitted from the first set of grants are five Middle East-based startups -three from the UAE, and two from Egypt- that aim to improve lives of people across the globe with their digital solutions. The three UAE-based organizations include a digital learning platform for blue-collar workers Smart Labour, the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA), a non-profit agricultural research center established to develop agricultural production systems in desert environments, and Ver2 Digital Medicine, an e-health services platform. The beneficiary startups from Egypt are Yomken.com, a ‘crowd-solving platform' that connects businesses to the right solutions from the crowd, and Transport for Cairo, a digital solution attempting to solve Egypt’s road congestion by mapping the city’s formal and informal transport networks.