Monday 23 July 2018

Three UAE start-ups win Expo Live grants

DUBAI, July 31, 2017

Three organisations in the UAE have been awarded more than Dh1 million ($272,000) in funding through Innovation Impact Grants of  Expo Live an innovation and partnership programme launched by Expo 2020 Dubai.

The drive aims to fund, accelerate and promote creative solutions that improve lives while preserving the planet. Through Innovation Impact Grants, the programme awards grants to support the growth of social enterprises, start-ups and grassroots projects around the world.

Expo Live is not disclosing the amount for each project it is supporting but has said it would grant up to $100,000 per initiative for its Innovation Impact Grant Programme.

Smart Labour, a digital learning and smart services platform that provides voice-enabled content to educate blue-collar workers in their language and provide them with useful smart services to make their lives easier, is among the first to receive funding.

Abu Muadh, founder of Smart Labour, said: "There are 2.2 million blue collar workers in the UAE and about 16.5 million workers in the Middle East, most of them are not connected to the smart world and are only using technology for entertainment purposes such as talking to their families.”

“The Smart Labour App is specifically designed for blue-collared workers and labourers. It assists them by teaching them life skills in their own language and provides them opportunities to win vouchers (food, shopping etc.) & telecom rewards to connect to their families for free.

“In addition to the core learning focus, we also provide value added smart services specific to their needs.  We currently have a reporting service through which they can report health and safety incidents & provide feedback and suggestions via a voice note & by snapping a picture without having to type out anything. We are building a food service before Ramadan for them where restaurants can advertise offers to residents who can purchase the food online after registering as a partner.  Labourers will get a notification on their phone with vouchers, which they will be able to redeem upon showing the voucher at the restaurant,” he added.

Another grant recipient in the UAE is the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA). The Dubai-based non-profit agricultural research centre was established in 1999 and its mandate is to develop agricultural production systems using marginal land and water resources which are available in desert environments.

The grant from Expo Live will support the development of inland and coastal modular farms in the UAE.

Dr Dionysia Angeliki Lyra, a Halophyte Agronomistat ICBA, said: “The grant from Expo Live will help the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture in its work on developing and improving innovative inland and coastal modular farms using marginal saline water resources such as seawater, water coming from fish farming and the reject brine from desalination to grow unconventional crops in order to enhance food, nutrition and income security of rural communities that are struggling to produce in desert environments.”

The third recipient is the “Connected Health and Education” firm Ver2 Digital Medicine, which is an eHealth Services Platform that uses connectivity to solve healthcare’s biggest challenges.

Expo Live is giving Ver2 a grant to support the development of an innovative medical education model that is being replicated across Africa.

Brian de Francesca, CEO of Ver2, said: “The Innovation Impact Grant from Expo Live will help support innovative ways of using connectivity so remote medical educators can teach in Africa and then establish locally based ‘train the trainer’ programmes to sustain and accelerate the process.

“When it comes to having access to high quality medical education, there is a unfortunate global supply demand imbalance; it is our intention to provide access to high quality medical knowledge to everyone, all of the time, everywhere. The Innovation Impact Grant from Expo Live will help us realise this goal.”

Expo 2020 Dubai’s vice-president of Expo Live, Yousuf Caires said: “The past few months have been extremely productive for Expo Live. We’ve launched the first public roll-out of Innovation Impact Grant Programme on 15 January, having initiated the project through a pilot last year.

“People didn’t come here to compete, they came to collaborate, to network and build new connections. To Expo Live and Expo 2020 Dubai as a whole, this was a manifestation of our theme ‘Connecting minds, Creating the Future’ in action.”

Dubai will be hosting the first World Expo in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region and the Arab World.

The programme, which was publicly launched in January following a pilot phase last year, will support the winning projects through funds, business guidance, promotion and acceleration of their creative solutions. They will also have the possibility to showcase their work at Expo 2020 Dubai, which will be visited by many of people from around the world.

Expo organisers received 575 responses to their initial call for proposals. This was whittled down to just 29 winners.

Expo Live’s flagship Innovation Impact Grant programme is open for submission twice a year. The programme supports projects from around the world whose solutions generate social and environmental value and are in line with Expo 2020 Dubai’s subthemes of Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability. – TradeArabia News Service

Tags: innovation | expo 2020 |

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