Expo 2020 Dubai: clean energy and food waste start-ups win ‘Get in the Ring’ duel

Companies in energy and food sectors battle for chance to take green solutions to market

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Eco-friendly companies have struck a crucial blow in the fight for the planet's future at an event held inside a mock boxing ring at Expo 2020 Dubai.

The Netherlands pavilion played host to an international competition bringing together leading contenders in the battle to tackle water, power and food challenges.

Gazelle Wind Power Limited, of the UAE, and Israel’s Entoprotech were declared winners of the keenly contested Get in the Ring competition on Wednesday.

They were chosen after a final group of four companies pitched their plans in 30-second debating duels between the ropes.

We need fresh, innovative ideas to bring change
Roald Lapperre, Dutch minister

While the participants were in opposite corners for the spirited event, they remain firmly on the same side.

Roald Lapperre, the Netherlands' Vice Minister for the Environment, spoke of how action was vital to resolve the pressing climate change challenges.

“We need fresh, innovative and creative ideas to bring a change to resolve global challenges together. We need more such competitions and to make more connections worldwide,” he said.

“Climate change is one of the number one issues of our time today and so is the need for clean energy and adequate food supply for a growing population.”

The final of the Get in the Ring contest at Expo 2020 Dubai connects promising start-ups with investors, corporates and policy makers. Photo: Netherlands pavilion

Gazelle has designed floating wind platforms for clean energy generation to reduce reliance on carbon-based systems.

Entoprotech uses insects such as the black soldier fly to convert food waste into organic fertiliser and insect meal used as animal feed.

Both companies will interact with investors and corporates for support and delivery of their projects.

About 20 start-ups from around the world have been at Expo as part of the competition.

Carel Richter, commissioner general of the Netherlands pavilion, said it was important to connect innovative thinkers.

“It is extremely vital to encourage and nourish new business ideas that will develop into impactful, smarter, sustainable solutions that help tackle global challenges today,” he said.

The pavilion built the mock-up boxing ring near a vertical farm – a green food cone blanketed with herbs inside which mushrooms are grown to depict organic, sustainable agriculture in the desert.

The Get in the Ring contests are organised to offer promising technology groups the chance to test and scale up their plans and receive feedback from government and corporations.

Over the past year more than 25,000 start-ups from 109 nations entered the contest, which hosts events in more than 100 countries.

Updated: January 21, 2022, 4:00 AM