Pandemic-hit innovators facing financial headwinds receive emergency funds

Pandemic-hit innovators facing financial headwinds receive emergency funds

Expo 2020’s global innovation and partnership programme is providing additional funds to innovators from around the world facing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19

Aligned with the UAE’s wider response to the global pandemic, Expo Live – Expo 2020’s global innovation and partnership programme – has launched an Emergency Relief Fund (ERF) to support social impact start-ups.

The ERF earmarked AED 3.7 million (USD 1 million) in additional grant funding to grantees, known as Global Innovators, who have applied for additional assistance in light of financial hardship suffered as a direct result of COVID-19.

Expo Live provides funding and support to innovative start-ups that are having a positive impact on communities from around the world. It has awarded emergency relief funding of between AED 184,000 and AED 367,000 (USD 50,000-100,000) to 15 Global Innovators from 13 countries.

Grantees that have received ERF assistance include Attollo SE, a Canada-based edtech enterprise that develops talking stickers designed to provide early literacy learning for children. When the Covid-19 pandemic started, Attollo helped increase health and safety awareness about the virus, producing recordings in multiple languages and disseminating them through a phone app and the talking stickers technology.

ERF recipients also include InvestEd, a Filipino fintech start-up that provides loans and financial training to low-income students, allowing them to complete their college education. Nearly half of InvestEd’s student borrowers are now unemployed due to Covid-19 and the organisation has increased coaching services to help them find other job opportunities. Since the start of the pandemic, and thanks to the additional Expo Live emergency funds, the team has created new financial products that will enable the students to continue their education remotely.

Acting in solidarity with communities around the world, the ERF supports a wider commitment by Expo 2020 and the UAE to advance humanitarian goals and build a brighter future for all. Since the start of the pandemic, the UAE’s active role in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic has included more than 1,200 tonnes of aid sent to 107 countries, reaching more than 1.2 million healthcare workers.

Expo 2020, which opens its doors for six months on 1 October 2021, will bring the world together in a spirit of hope and optimism, to build new connections, share new ideas and create new solutions to some of the greatest challenges of our time.