Jan 17, 2024
Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, 17 January 2024:HCL Group, a global conglomerate and UpLink, the open innovation platform of the World Economic Forum, today announced the top 10 water-focussed entrepreneurs who will receive a financial award from a total pool of1.9 million CHF as part of the Zero Water Waste Challenge. HCL Group committed $15 million investment in total to drive freshwater sector innovation for five years until 2027. In less than a year, HCL Group’s commitment saw a 10x return on its investment as the first cohort of ‘Aquapreneurs’ collectively raised $54.5 million after joining the UpLink Innovation Ecosystem.
The Zero Water Waste Challenge is the second out of five innovation challenges, under HCL Group and UpLink’s Aquapreneur Innovation Initiative. The focus of this year’s challenge aimed at capturing and protecting freshwater supply, water reuse and recycling of materials and saving water in agriculture.
Top10 water-focused entrepreneurs or “Aquapreneurs” were selected from a pool of 192 global applicants. Out of these, most of the applications were from Africa (16%), Asia (18%) and Europe (13%).These Innovators come from eight different countries and are bringing cutting edge innovative solutions in areas such as greywater reuse, rainwater capture, advanced filtration, precision agriculture, and data analytics and AI.
Announcing the winners, Roshni Nadar Malhotra, Chairperson of HCLTech said, “In light of the current global climate change crisis and increasing scarcity of freshwater resources, the urgent need for innovative solutions to manage our freshwater supplies cannot be overlooked. These innovations reshape our approach to water, optimizing its use and conservation. HCL stands committed to supporting these innovations for a positive global impact. Congratulations to the winners of the Aquapreneur Innovation Initiative 2024.”
Climate change, pollution and overuse pose a grave threat to the planet’s freshwater supplies”, said Olivier Schwab, Managing Director of the World Economic Forum. “UpLink and HCL are building an innovation ecosystem around early-stage, water-focused entrepreneurs that will provide them with the resources, expertise and vital funding they need to thrive. The solutions created by these ‘Aquapreneurs’ will play a crucial role in bringing about the transformative change required to shape a sustainable, water-resilient future for all.”
Two of the top 10 innovators were selected to present their solutions at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos in 2023:
The other entrepreneurs that were awarded prize money from HCL Group and support from UpLink are:
In addition to the financial reward, winners will receive exclusive access to events, projects, and communities led by the World Economic Forum and partners.
Notes to the editor
UpLink is the open innovation platform of the World Economic Forum, designed to unlock an ‘entrepreneur revolution’ for people and planet by supporting start-ups with innovative solutions for the world’s most pressing issues, as outlined by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).Launched at the World Economic Forum’s 2020 Annual Meeting in Davos in partnership with Deloitte and Salesforce, UpLink builds bridges between entrepreneurs and the investors, experts and partners who can help scale their ventures. UpLink sources innovations through a competition framework known as innovation challenges. UpLink has now run more than 50challenges and identified over 450 entrepreneurs with innovative solutions across critical SDG areas including freshwater, health, food, ocean, plastics, education, climate and more.
For more information, visit https://uplink.weforum.org
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$12.9 billion with over 220,000 employees operating across 60 countries. For further information, visit www.hcl.com
Dr. Pooja Arora | firstname.lastname@example.org