Aug 21, 2023
India/ USA/ Europe, 21st August 2023: HCL, a global conglomerate and UpLink, the open innovation platform of the World Economic Forum, announced opening the applications for the Zero Water Waste Challenge – part of the Aquapreneur Innovation Initiative. The challenge calls for innovative water usage approaches to improve freshwater conservation from supply to demand, moving towards zero water waste. At the end of the challenge, 10 winners will receive a total financial award of 1.75M CHF.
|Important Dates to Note
|21 August to 2 October 2023
|Open for submissions
|17 October to 15 November 2023
|Review and selection process
|Announcement of the winning Top Innovators
This is the second challenge out of five Challenges of the HCL and UpLink’s Aquapreneur Innovation Initiative. Launched last year at Davos in May 2022, to create a first-of-its-kind innovation ecosystem for the global freshwater sector. The last date to apply for the second-year challenge is October 2nd, 2023. Full details and eligibility criteria can be found at this link. Under this initiative HCL committed $15 million until 2027 to support the water focused entrepreneurs.
Roshni Nadar Malhotra, Chairperson, HCLTech said, “As the climate change continue to intensify and fresh-water resources become scarcer, the corporates have a unique opportunity to make a substantial difference in the world we live in. At HCL, we are committed to help resolve this global crisis. In partnership with Uplink, we are all set to announce the second edition of our Aquapreneur Innovation Initiative moving towards zero water waste. While our commitment to this vital cause is unwavering, we invite fellow organizations to join us in this shared mission, contributing essential funding and catalyzing widespread exposure.”
Gim Huay Neo, Managing Director of the Centre for Nature and Climate at the World Economic Forum says, “The Aquapreneur Innovation Initiative is building a vibrant innovation ecosystem for water which is crucial for the conservation and restoration of all-natural ecosystems. By connecting innovators, experts, investors and partners, this initiative is fast-tracking high-impact solutions to enhance water security. Already, we’re seeing significant impact with the ten winners of the first Innovation Challenge and we’re excited to surface and support a new cohort of aquapreneurs.”
The focus of this year’s challenge will be on:
Protecting groundwater reservoirs by capturing additional water resources. Solutions could focus on recharging groundwater, capturing storm- and rainwater or water from the atmosphere, preventing or minimizing leakages, boosting ecosystem resilience or monitoring and managing freshwater.
Increase water-efficiency by reusing and recycling water resources. Solutions could include products that enable shower, washing machine and sink water to be recycled for non-potable uses, or reuse of water in industrial facilities, cleaner and greener tech to purify reused water etc. Ideally need to manage trade-offs, e.g. need to have sustainable energy support, as well as focus on water quality.
Reduce water withdrawal in agriculture through smart irrigation. Solutions could include precision irrigation, remote sensing, regenerative agricultural practices focused on water retention, and technologies such as mobile applications to optimize the amount and timing of water applied to crops.
Evaluation and selection criteria for 2nd year will include:
Top 10 water- focused entrepreneurs will be selected as Top Innovators to join the UpLink Innovation Network, an exclusive program tailored for Founders, CEOs, Executive Directors, and more. They will get various benefits, including access to selected events, projects, and communities led by the World Economic Forum and its partners. Participants will gain strategic connections with organizations within the Forum’s and UpLink’s networks, fostering valuable collaborations. The program extends targeted support encompassing technical, business, and operational guidance. Notably, a financial incentive is provided – among the selected Top Innovators, up to 10 can each receive 175,000 CHF from a total fund of 1.75 million CHF.
About HCL Group
Founded in 1976 as one of India’s original IT garage start-ups, HCL is a pioneer of modern computing with many firsts to its credit, including the introduction of the 8-bit microprocessor-based computer in 1978 well before its global peers. Today, the HCL enterprise has a presence across varied sectors that include technology, healthcare and talent management solutions and comprises three companies – HCL Infosystems, HCL Technologies and HCL Healthcare. The enterprise generates annual revenues of over US$12.8 billion with over 223,438 employees operating across 60 countries. For further information, visit www.hcl.com
UpLink is the open innovation platform of the World Economic Forum, dedicated to unlocking an ‘entrepreneur revolution’ to support positive systemic change for people and planet. Launched at the Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos in January 2020 in collaboration with Salesforce and Deloitte, Uplink is now a thriving ecosystem of 400+ Top Innovators, investors, experts, and organizations, who are driving positive impact for the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
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