Indoor vertical farming company AeroFarms won the Global Prosperity Award by the Mohammed bin Rashid Initiative for Global Prosperity.
The award is a programme that reinforces corporate social responsibility through science, innovation and entrepreneurship.
Under this programme, New Jersey-based AeroFarms will provide mentoring for four start-ups that were identified as the most disruptive solutions for the Global Maker Challenge, which ended in September last year.
The mentorship programme will include training on food safety and quality-assurance processes, discussions with AeroFarms’ senior leadership team to strengthen organisational structures and ways to improve private-sector engagement, and support with public relations and branding.
The award presents AeroFarms with a chance to “give back and help serve as a role model and inspiration on how to push the boundaries of innovation”, said David Rosenberg, chief executive of AeroFarms.
“We are looking forward to working closely with these young organisations that demonstrate an immense drive to make transformative changes in the world and help them improve operational competitiveness and commercial growth,” Mr Rosenberg said.
The four start-ups identified by the Global Maker Challenge are: Agricycle Global, a vertically integrated supply chain to empower rural farmers; Algiknit, a creator of eco-conscious renewable and biodegradable fibres and yarns; ID2020, a non-profit organisation that aims to develop digital IDs for undocumented people; and Ryp Labs, which aims to reduce food waste by extending the shelf life of fruit and vegetables.
The Mohammed bin Rashid Initiative for Global Prosperity combines the Global Maker Challenge – an online open-innovation platform for innovators to solve specific real-world challenges – and the Global Prosperity Award. It brings together companies, start-ups, entrepreneurs, governments and NGOs.
“By supporting innovators that are creating unconventional solutions to improve the state of the world, the Global Prosperity Award once again underscores the UAE’s commitment towards unlocking new opportunities that can accelerate global good,” said Badr Al Olama, head of the organising committee for the Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit.
“AeroFarms is well recognised in the technology and food security sectors … highly regarded globally for being an innovative and agile organisation."
Established in 2004, AeroFarms was selected for presenting customised support plans to help each of the winning companies overcome their non-financial operational challenges and achieve societal effects.
It is also building a 8,200-square-metre research and development centre in Abu Dhabi, the largest in the world, which aims to advance sustainable agriculture in arid climates.
The company uses plant biology, agriculture and disruptive technology to grow fresh produce and distribute them around the world.