Indian eco-friendly company among Expo 2020 grant winners

The 23 projects singled out by Expo 2020 try to address poverty, inequality, climate change and justice

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Expo 2020 Dubai has awarded 23 grants to companies that work for the common good.

It is the fifth round of grants for the Expo Live programme, with selections made from a group of 4,000 applicants.

Recipients get a grant of up to $100,000 (Dh367,300), advice and a platform to make their project a reality.

Projects contribute to challenges identified by the UN Sustainable Development Goals to address poverty, inequality, climate change and justice.

Expo 2020 was originally to start this October but will now take place in 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

November 23, 2017.  Abu Muadh (center) wants to help blue collar workers better their lives and is doing so with a mobile app that teaches them English language and also gives them educational, safety information in the language they are comfortable. 
Victor Besa for The National
Reporter: Ramola Talwar
 Past recipient Abu Muadh shows his app, which helps blue-collar workers improve their English. Victor Besa / The National

One of this year’s recipients was Ecoware, an Indian start-up that makes biodegradable packaging using agricultural waste that would normally be incinerated.

“With Expo Live funds we will be able to source new types of agricultural waste for conversion into applications that will displace single-use plastics, take our products to smaller towns and cities and expand our impact,” said Rhea Mazumdar, the company’s founder.

“This will make a real difference in India, where it is common to see littered streets, clogged drains and overflowing dumpsites. By facilitating waste conversion, we help prevent the emission of greenhouse gases due to stubble burning, while creating jobs and opportunities for underprivileged communities in the process.”

Half of the recipients were led by women.

This year’s recipients also include Talent Beyond Boundaries, an Australian organisation that helps refugees and displaced people move internationally for work and BrainTrip, a company that has developed a user-friendly device to diagnose dementia for early detection.

One recipient from Cameroon has developed a smartphone platform for breast and cervical cancer screening for women in rural areas without access to testing.

To date, Expo Live has awarded 142 grants to start-ups from 76 countries. Previous recipients include a smartphone app that teaches blue collar workers to speak English and learn about safety material.

“Through Expo Live, Expo 2020 is demonstrating its commitment to driving solutions that will positively affect global communities and future generations, supporting social impact start-ups across the world,” said Yousuf Caires, the programme’s vice president.

“All projects supported by Expo Live so far, from improving access to mental health platforms in Egypt, Saudi Arabia or the UK, to innovative recycling technology in China, remain committed to improving people’s lives during the global health crisis. The latest cohort of global innovators will carry on this tradition, inspiring others to find solutions to challenges in their own communities, and playing a significant role in helping shape a better world.”