NEW DELHI: Global tech firm HCL Technologies and UpLink, the open innovation platform of the World Economic Forum, on Wednesday announced the Global Freshwater Innovation Challenge and have invited applications globally.
This is the first out of five challenges of the HCL and UpLink's Aquapreneur Innovation Initiative, a programme to source innovative solutions to conserve and restore freshwater ecosystems from 'aquapreneurs', HCL said in a statement. The last date to apply is November 8, 2022.
HCL has committed USD 15 million over five years to support the water focused entrepreneurs, it said. Selected entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to work closely with industry experts, investors, and ecosystem partners to further develop their innovative solution, to scale and drive further impact.
Roshni Nadar Malhotra, Chairperson of HCL Technologies, said, "An innovation ecosystem can enable water entrepreneurs with resources and mentoring to invest in creating new solutions and improving any existing ones for scale and impact.
" There are entrepreneurs and startups that have the potential to provide contextualised solutions to conserve freshwater and have been trying to create impact in small ways within small ecosystems.
Out of these, many struggle to secure financing and lack the operational capacity to scale their solutions, she said. HCL, through its large network and partnership with the World Economic Forum's UpLink, is keen to ensure that these entrepreneurs are identified and supported, she added.
The first year's Global Freshwater Challenge will focus on solutions that fill knowledge gaps, improve data collection, and create transparent and accessible data. It will also focus on water quality restoration and solutions that can ensure ecosystem resilience.
The initiative, launched during the forum's annual meeting in Davos in May 2022, will create a first-of-its-kind innovation ecosystem for the global freshwater sector.