DUBAI - The Mohammed bin Rashid Initiative for Global Prosperity (the Global Prosperity Initiative), today announced the 20 finalists for the Global Maker Challenge who will compete for prizes and mentorship worth up to US$1 million when they present their solutions during a series of Virtual Pitches that will commence on August 31, 2020, in the lead up to the Global Maker Challenge Award Ceremony on September 6, 2020.
The finalists were selected from over 3,400 solutions that were submitted for Cohort 2 of the Global Maker Challenge, a 200 percent increase from last year's inaugural cohort.
Solutions from over 148 countries were received, of which 18 percent came in from Least Developed Countries. This year’s global challenges centred around four themes: Sustainable and Healthy Food for All, Climate Change, Innovation for Inclusive Trade, and Innovation for Peace and Justice.
The 20 finalists, comprising five innovators per theme, were assessed and shortlisted in partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s SOLVE initiative, MIT SOLVE, and an esteemed jury of 47 globally renowned subject matter and innovation experts from UN agencies, global organisations, digital innovation companies, NGOs, and academia.
Ant?nio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, recently warned that as many as 50 million more people could fall into extreme poverty as a result of the pandemic unless urgent action is taken. This followed a report by The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, UNDESA, that the COVID-19 pandemic is slowing down overall efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, putting years of progress at risk.
The shortlisted finalists have harnessed novel technologies such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, smart materials or cloud-based networks to design affordable solutions that are highly scalable, and can help disadvantaged communities around the world to create new opportunities for sustainable development.
Badr Al Olama, Head of the Organising Committee for the Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit, GMIS, said, "The disruption caused by the pandemic risks setting back the progress made towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Innovation is key to controlling the damage caused by COVID-19 and bringing us back to speed towards a more sustainable future. We must double up on our efforts in utilising innovation to address humanitarian challenges and offer solutions to the unprecedented challenges caused by this crisis.
"Since its inception in 2017, the Global Prosperity Initiative has reflected the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, who is a firm believer in applying the power of innovation to solve our world’s challenges. I am confident that the creativity of this year’s finalists will further advance this vision – bringing life-changing solutions to those that need them most." The Virtual Pitches and award ceremony are expected to unite an audience of social impact enthusiasts from academia, investment companies, incubators, accelerators, and the judging panel who will witness the finalist pitch their solutions, high-level panel debates, and expert-led presentations. The discussions will focus on developing a path towards overcoming setbacks caused by the pandemic and ensuring the SDGs are placed back on track to achieving the 2030 targets.
The finalists of the Sustainable and Healthy Food for All challenge are ColdHubs, IXON, Xilinat, Stixfresh, and Nilus, who effectively address the issues that fast-growing urban populations face in accessing healthy and sustainable food.
The Climate Change challenge proposed solutions that facilitate a low-carbon circular economy through smart use of existing resources. The finalists of this challenge include AlgiKnit, Aquacycl, Queen of Raw, Plastics for Change, and Biocellection.
Each of the shortlisted solutions within the Innovation for Peace and Justice challenge offered a novel idea that helps refugees and displaced people access affordable, quality services that are essential to their safety and wellbeing; these include Peripheral Vision International, PVI, ID2020, PeaceTech Lab, Simbi Foundation, and Aiyin.
The final challenge, Innovation for Inclusive Trade, showcased innovators that were selected for their ability to support rural communities in accessing new supply chains and markets to create better livelihoods. The finalists within this challenge are Agricycle Global, Fantine, POKET, Takachar, and ChapChap.
Lisa Mcauley, CEO of the Global Trade Professionals Alliance said, "Although the coronavirus has changed the world, the global challenges we faced before the pandemic remain, and in some cases, are now being compounded by the virus. Nurturing innovation through initiatives such as the Global Maker Challenge is vital if we are to minimise the negative impact faced by the world’s most vulnerable people.
"The finalists that have been selected are a testament that there is still hope for millions of people suffering from the effects of environmental or human-made problems. Their ideas represent an inspiring blend of creativity and practical knowledge that enable scalable, affordable solutions that will improve the lives of millions living in marginalised communities all over the world." Cohort 2 of the Global Maker Challenge was launched at the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation’s 8th Ministerial Conference of the Least Developed Countries in November 2019 in Abu Dhabi.
© Copyright Emirates News Agency (WAM) 2020.