HCL, a global conglomerate, and UpLink, the open innovation platform of the World Economic Forum, announced today that applications have opened for the Global Freshwater Innovation Challenge. This is the first out of five Challenges of the HCL and UpLink’sAquapreneur Innovation Initiative, a program to source innovative solutions to conserve and restore freshwater ecosystems, from ‘aquapreneurs’ (water focused entrepreneurs). The Initiative, launched during the Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos in May 2022, will create a first-of-its-kind innovation ecosystem for the global freshwater sector. The last date to apply is November 08, 2022. Full details and eligibility criteria can be found at this link. HCL has committed $15 million over five years to support water-focused entrepreneurs.
Roshni Nadar Malhotra, Chairperson of HCL Technologies said, “An innovation ecosystem can enable water entrepreneurs with resources and mentoring to invest in creating new solutions and improving any existing ones for scale and impact. There are entrepreneurs and start-ups that have the potential to provide contextualized solutions to conserve freshwater and have been trying to create impact in small ways within small ecosystems. Out of these, many struggles to secure financing and lack the operational capacity to scale their solutions. HCL, through its large network and partnership with the World Economic Forum’s UpLink, is keen to ensure that these entrepreneurs are identified and supported.”
The first year’s challenge, called the Global Freshwater Challenge, will focus on:
GimHuay Neo, Managing Director of the Centre for Nature and Climate at the World Economic Forum says, “The Aquapreneur Innovation Initiative invites all entrepreneurs to participate to scale and accelerate their solutions and impact. Through this initiative, we seek to enhance freshwater resilience and better protect our water resource. The collaboration with HCL and Uplink will provide a platform for the top innovators to connect with public and private partners, as well as gain access to venture funds, to jointly transform our sustainable management and use of freshwater systems”.
HCL and UpLink are looking for:
Selected entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to work closely with industry experts, investors, and ecosystem partners to further develop their innovative solutions, scale, and drive further impact.