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’ (water focused entrepreneurs). 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.
The first year’s challenge, called the Global Freshwater Challenge, will focus on:
- Improved decision-making: solutionsthat fill knowledge gaps, improve data collection, and create transparent and accessible data (i.e., solutions that monitor and forecast water use & demand)
- Water quality restoration: solutions that tackle water quality by monitoring, treating, restoring or protecting it. (i.e. solutions such as solar distillers for water purification)
- Ecosystem resilience: solutions that protect source waters across the value chain and strengthen resilience to climate and weather-related shocks, taking into consideration the most vulnerable areas at risk (i.e. solutions that reduce water evapotranspiration from extreme heat, or ways to absorb and store acute flooding)
Up to 10 Top Innovators will each be eligible to receive 175k CHF, from a total fund of 1.75 million CHF, in co-financing that has generously been made available by HCL, a leading global conglomerate.
What are they looking for?
HCL and UpLink are looking for:
- Stage: Impact-oriented start-ups that are at pilot, growth or scale-up phase, with demonstrated success towards scale (i.e., a proven track record with measurable results and impact). Solutions that represent an“idea” or “prototype” phase will not be considered.
- Business Model: Ideally seeking for-profit start-up companies or social enterprises with a sustainable, and ideally hybrid, funding model.
- Scale: Start-ups which demonstrate the potential to scale, particularly for communities most impacted, alongside a vision for achieving long-term financial viability and sustainability.
- Financially viable business model: Solutions should demonstrate a sustainable business model, approach to revenue and represent a proof of funding history, as well as investable opportunities for investors or philanthropic funders.
- Cross-sectoral impact: Solutions will be holistic with cross-sectoral impact and demonstrate ‘win-win’ benefits for multiple agendas, particularly society and the environment.
- External Risk: Solutions are aware of any risks and uncertainties associated with achieving their outcomes.
- Replicability: Solutions are implementable across different geographies and cultural contexts.
- Product-market fit: Solutions show how they fit the market demand, in the local context and/or globally.
- Sustainable: Solutions should support the water agenda long-term, providing impact that outlasts the length of the challenge.
- Socio-ecological: Solutions that encompass a joint, rather than individualistic approach are encouraged. Innovators should explain how their solution fits into the local geography and the impacts its communities.
- Measurement and standards verification: Solutions should demonstrate a clear impact monitoring, evaluation, and verification framework. The metrics and indicators should be tracked transparently, reference and apply relevant, robust standards, and receive independent credentialing and third-party verification.
- Governance, team & operating models: Solutions should have a legal entity attached to the project or technology and have a diverse leadership team with the right capacity and skillset to deliver on the project’s mission. The operating model should show the extent to which the project has achieved financial viability and sustainable revenue streams or has a vision and plan for achieving it.
For more information, visit https://www.hcltech.com/press-releases/press-releases-business/hcl-and-uplink-call-applications-globally-aquapreneur