Climate Action

Big ideas that could save the world: UpLink on this week's Radio Davos

UpLink: Non-profit organization Global Coralition draws on art, science and local communities for its coral reef restoration work.

Non-profit organization Global Coralition draws on art, science and local communities for its coral reef restoration work. Image: Global Coralition

Emanuela Orsini
Digital Content Specialist, World Economic Forum
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  • Radio Davos is the World Economic Forum's new flagship podcast.
  • The podcast looks at the world's biggest challenges and how we might solve them.
  • The first regular episode is about UpLink, a place where innovators and entrepreneurs can get help in making their ideas a reality.

Imagine you had a 'eureka' moment - an idea for a new way of doing something that could, in some way, make the world a better place.

How would you go about turning that idea into reality? One place you could go, is UpLink, a platform which lets anyone from anywhere in the world submit their ideas on how to solve global issues.

Launched a year ago by the World Economic Forum in partnership with Salesforce and Deloitte, UpLink is a crowdsourcing platform for innovators to pitch their ideas and participate in different challenges in response to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and get access to expertise, resources and potentially investors.

On this week's Radio Davos, UpLink's Emanuela Orsini talks about four entrepreneurs who have joined the platform since it launched a year ago at Davos.

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Ehab Sayed, founder of Biohm, spoke about his start-up which creates construction materials out of vegetative components such as mycelium, the root structure of mushrooms, and food waste. As part of the Circular Accelerators Cohort 2021, Sayed is hoping his innovation will help to revolutionize the construction industry.

“We're starting to realize that the word 'bio', based on the word natural, used to be associated with stigma,” explains Sayed. “And now that stigma is starting to fade away as we're starting to do tests against standards and we're proving that we're outperforming those synthetic or plastic alternatives that we've been so used to using.”

Justdiggit, meanwhile, was one of the first winners of the Trillion Trees challenge, a call for submissions from entrepreneurs helping to conserve, restore and grow one trillion trees around the globe by 2030. The Dutch-based company uses traditional techniques to combat soil erosion and stimulate landscape restoration in degraded areas in sub-Saharan Africa. Using a technique called Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration and rainwater harvesting, Justdiggit is empowering smallholder farmers to regreen their lands, improve biodiversity and make their livelihoods more secure.

“It's really empowering people in their daily lives, increasing crop yields and making sure that people don't have to move, that they can stay where they are, where they come from, and that they can improve their daily lives,” Marjolein Albers, managing director of Justdiggit says.

Global Coralition, a member of UpLink's community of Ocean innovators, has combined art and science as a way to regenerate coral reefs. The non-profit constructs large underwater sculptures that function as artificial reefs in areas where marine ecosystems are in decline. They’ve worked with local communities in Thailand and in the Dominican Republic to raise awareness around marine conservation.

“It's been a really impactful medium for us to be able to draw attention and create conversation around marine conservation,” explains Angeline Chen, co-founder of Global Coralition. “There's a lot of power in the art component because a lot of people that weren't engaged in marine conservation are now able to enter into the conversation and be a part of it.”

Last summer, UpLink launched a COVID-19 challenge to find solutions to the ongoing pandemic. Hannes Klopper from HelloBetter tells Radio Davos about the huge impact the pandemic has had on mental health in individuals all over the world. HelloBetter offers a free online course in English and in German to help people manage their anxiety and depression through their campaign called 'Calm through the Crisis'.

“When corona hit, we realized, this is not 'just a pandemic', but it's also an epidemic of epic proportions when it comes to mental health disorders that kind of follows in its wake,” explains Klopper. “It's this hidden epidemic or pandemic, where people suffer.”

To learn more about UpLink’s challenges and sign-up to the platform, visit the UpLink website.

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Climate ActionNature and BiodiversityHealth and Healthcare SystemsCircular EconomyBusiness
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