The ocean economy is substantially underinvested by the public and private sector alike. Philanthropy also overlooks the ocean opportunity, with just 7% of all US-based environment and animal philanthropy directed to ocean causes.
Meanwhile, the ocean innovation ecosystem has attracted growing interest for the potential to mobilize large amounts of private, return-seeking capital while supporting innovators that tackle ocean and societal challenges.
Nevertheless, there remain major challenges for the ecosystem to overcome, including:
- limited recognition by and access to decision-makers
- lack of ecosystem cohesion
- absence of support for bottom-up innovation
- poor understanding of the cross-sectoral relevance of ocean innovation
Ocean innovation at the World Economic Forum
In response to these challenges, the Forum hosts 1000 Ocean Startups and UpLink Ocean.
1000OS is a coalition to accelerate ocean innovation for ocean health. The coalition’s vision is to mainstream ocean impact innovation and bring the ocean impact innovation ecosystem to maturity. The main levers for this are:
- building cohesion among existing players
- attracting new investors
- catalysing new investment
The coalition counts 32 members of entrepreneur-supporting organizations, encompassing venture capital funds, incubators, accelerators and innovation platforms. To date, these organizations have mobilized nearly $1.5 billion in assets under management. In addition, members have incubated, accelerated, mentored and invested in at least 330 ocean startups.
UpLink is a digital crowd-engagement platform that connects entrepreneurs and champions with impactful solutions making progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Its goal is to link up the best SDG innovators to a growing network of experts and decision-makers who can implement the change needed for the next decade. The Ocean Action Agenda and UpLink have partnered together to create a dedicated space for ocean innovators: UpLink Ocean. Through its challenges, UpLink Ocean aspires to empower anyone with impact-oriented ideas and solutions that address the most pressing challenges facing the ocean.
To see all UpLink Ocean Top Innovators, visit the UpLink Ocean page.