UAE at the forefront of enabling start-up innovations for global growth


Badr Al-Olama delivers his remarks at the Global Manufacturing and Industrialization Summit
Badr Al-Olama delivers his remarks at the Global Manufacturing and Industrialization Summit

DUBAI —The Mohammed bin Rashid Initiative for Global Prosperity (the Global Prosperity Initiative), an initiative of the Global Manufacturing and Industrialization Summit (GMIS), called on global start-ups to develop transformational solutions, aimed at achieving a sustainable future for communities, as showcased by the 16 finalists of its $1 million Global Maker Challenge at the Pitch Event held in Abu Dhabi and Dubai last April 16 and 17, respectively.

The Mohammed bin Rashid Initiative for Global Prosperity is creating an ecosystem to channel innovation towards global good, reinforcing the UAE’s commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The UAE is creating the right ecosystem to empower innovative start-ups and entrepreneurs. This is demonstrated by several of the country’s initiatives such as the UAE Strategy for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, as well as the latest legislative direction by the UAE Cabinet on providing long-term visas for entrepreneurs, investors, specialized talent and outstanding students.

Giving the keynote address, Sheikha Shamma bint Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, Chief Executive Officer, Alliances for Global Sustainability, said: “To bring prosperity means to give access to healthcare and education, to end poverty and injustice and to ensure safety and security to those in need. Technology is playing an important role in improving the lives of many people across the globe. I have been lucky to meet many entrepreneurs who are creating a positive impact. Innovative entrepreneurs like the shortlisted start-ups of the Global Maker Challenge offer hope for global prosperity. I urge you to keep going and embed social and environmental values in your organizations.”

The Mohammed bin Rashid Initiative for Global Prosperity facilitates an open-innovation platform for innovators to identify solutions that have the potential to solve some of the world’s most pressing issues. The Global Maker Challenge, which was launched at the United Nations General Assembly in September 2018, shortlisted 16 transformational solutions from over 1,100 submission that address four critical development challenges – Digital Divide & Digital Literacy, Rural Transformation & Zero Hunger, Sustainable Cities and Sustainable Energy – affecting over 1 billion people globally.

Sheikha Shamma added: “The Mohammad bin Rashid Initiative for Global Prosperity has done a remarkable job in creating a platform that demonstrates the power of innovation and collaboration to make a positive difference. I wish the 16 finalists the best of luck for the next stage and am excited to see the impact of the winning solutions that will be announced at the Global Manufacturing and Industrialization Summit in Russia.”

The Global Prosperity Initiative is a platform that brings together UN agencies and organizations, major industry and digital innovation companies, NGOs, and businesses to advance resilience, community, harmony and dignity world-wide. The Pitch Event marked a major milestone in the Global Maker Challenge that is set to award the winners with monetary prizes, mentorship, and access to global organizations, worth up to $1 million.

Badr Al-Olama, Head of the Organizing Committee for the Global Manufacturing and Industrialization Summit (GMIS), said “the Pitch Event has gathered representatives from global manufacturing organizations, UN entities, start-ups and academia. It’s inspiring to see how many people believe in the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum on employing innovation to serve humanity. This initiative is the UAE’s contribution towards establishing a global movement that brings together key stakeholders and disruptive innovators to collaborate in spreading global prosperity. We look forward to announcing the winners at the Global Manufacturing and Industrialization Summit which will be held in the city of Yekaterinburg, Russia from July 9-11, 2019.”

In partnership with MIT University’s Solve initiative, the Global Prosperity Initiative coordinated a panel of 37 high-profile judges to assess submissions, and shortlist the 16 finalists, to present their innovative solutions live to a panel of experts at the Pitch Event. The four finalists selected for the Sustainable Energy challenge included A2P Energy Solution, Resolute Marine, OTAGO and OffGridBox, who have individually aimed to provide people living in rural and isolated communities with access to low carbon energy. POA Internet, The Rumie Initiative, BuffaloGrid, and Gram Marg have pitched their solutions for the Digital Divide and Digital Literacy challenge of connecting people in remote areas with access to reliable and affordable internet.

Pitches for the Rural Transformation and Zero Hunger, which seeks to help farmers in less developed countries to sustainably increase food supply and crop yields, included The Inga Foundation, TruTrade, Safi Sarvi, and Sponsh. Last but not the least, E25Bio, Ada Health, Folia Water, and GARV Toilets showcased their solutions to tackle the Sustainable Cities challenge.

Lourens Boot, Chief Executive Officer of Sponsh, a finalist under the Rural Transformation and Zero Hunger challenge, said: “the Mohammed bin Rashid Initiative for Global Prosperity has paved the way to enable several promising innovators build partnerships with a global community of makers to achieve our common goal of enhancing human welfare. Hosting the Pitch Event in the UAE has given us a flavor of the country’s culture of innovation.”

The judges will review the finalists, with the winners to be revealed at the Global Manufacturing and Industrialization Summit (GMIS) 2019 in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg on July 9-11. — SG