UpLink: how 18,000 innovators pitch their solutions to industry leaders

Published
29 Apr 2021

Our open digital platform connects innovators with investors, global companies, experts, international organizations and government bodies who have the ability to scale their solutions.

The impact.

From using drones to detect illegal fishing to making remote learning available to students who are struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic – these are just some of the ways innovators are using their creative energy to tackle issues affecting their community.

Finding like-minded people, while also gaining access to influential networks, could be the key to scaling their venture.

UpLink is the World Economic Forum’s open innovation platform. Over 18,000 change-makers are using the digital space to crowdsource solutions for the world’s most pressing issues, as outlined by the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Launched at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2020 in Davos-Klosters, in partnership with Salesforce and Deloitte, UpLink seeks to connect the best solutions to expertise, resources and networks that can scale their work.

Organizations which are harnessing UpLink to source solutions to challenges related to COVID-19 include the World Health Organization, Goldman Sachs, and the Conrad Hilton Foundation.

Learn how companies are working with innovators in the Dominican Republic to recycle plastic waste and create new products from it.

The challenge.

The world faces an unprecedented set of global issues, from the climate crisis and the destruction of natural ecosystems to the COVID-19 pandemic and rampant income inequality, and there is a critical need for us to achieve the SDGs by 2030.

Business leaders and governments are unable to address these issues alone; collective action is needed to propel us towards the resolutions we desperately need. How can we promote grassroots creativity, ingenuity and innovation and collaborate to solve these issues together?

"Initiatives shouldn't just come from enlightened business leaders or governments. We have to engage people. They have ideas. We have to give them the means to translate their ideas into action."

Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum

Our approach.

UpLink is a digital platform open to anyone who can contribute to solving the SDGs. Hosted by the World Economic Forum, UpLink was co-designed and developed by two founding Partners: Salesforce and Deloitte. Since its establishment, UpLink’s partners have played a crucial role in developing the technology architecture, platform development, vision, business model and impact framework.

The platform is centred around Innovation Challenges and Action Groups, enabling entrepreneurs to showcase their ventures and to join a collaborative ecosystem of industry leaders, investors and experts to progress their journey.

In the past year, UpLink has welcomed over 18,000 users, gained more than 1,000 submitted solutions and recognized 80 UpLink Innovators addressing the SDGs.

"Capitalism as I knew it is dead. There is a new capitalism, stakeholder capitalism – a fairer and more equitable capitalism. That’s why I'm so excited about UpLink."

Marc Benioff, Co-Chief Executive Officer, Salesforce

Innovation Challenges are launched in partnership with Funding Partners such as Goldman Sachs, 500 Start Ups and Blue Ocean Partners. These organizations co-design, promote, review and select high-potential submissions to be recognized as UpLink Innovators. Those selected can embark on a cohort programme, which is tailored to provide the support and resources needed to scale their ventures.

The programme seeks to maximize:
1. Visibility through the Forum’s social media channels
2. Access to Forum and Funding Partners’ events, projects and communities
3. Connectivity to the organizations and experts in the Forum’s and Funding Partners’ networks
4. Collaboration between cohort members and their integration into Forum workstreams and events

"The only way to reach the UN SDGs by 2030 is to approach these persistent societal challenges in new ways. UpLink is a perfect platform for this."

Punit Renjen, Chief Executive Officer, Deloitte

How can you get involved?

Businesses are invited to connect with the community of innovators and contribute resources and networks to scale up local approaches within their distribution networks and markets.

Interested in sourcing high-quality innovations that complement your current portfolio? Contact us using the links below to discuss how we can collaborate in the co-design of an Innovation Challenge.

Discover Innovation Challenges

Join UpLink

Work with UpLink innovators

Contact us

How UpLink helps you

Learn more