Grassroots to the Rescue: 10,000 Innovators Answered the Call Build Fairer, Greener World

28 Jan 2021

Ross Chainey, Digital Editor, Public Engagement,; Amanda Russo, Head of Media Content, Public Engagement,

  • Launched one year ago at Davos 2020, UpLink is the Forum’s digital platform to crowdsource innovations to accelerate the delivery of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
  • UpLink is open to anyone and gives visibility to innovators from around the world and sub-sections of society that are often overlooked and under-resourced.
  • Over 900 solutions from 10,000 innovators are on the platform, offering solutions to illegal fishing, plastic pollution, systemic inequalities and more.
  • The Oceans Solution Sprints, COVID-19, Circular Economy, Future of Protein, and Trillion Trees Challenges have supercharged efforts to find solutions to global challenges.
  • Learn more and get involved here.

Geneva, Switzerland, 28 January 2021 — As nations around the globe struggle to cope with the manifold disruptions of the COVID-19 crisis, innovators have stepped up and offered solutions to build a greener, fairer and more resilient world as we emerge from the pandemic and head towards COP26.

UpLink, created by the World Economic Forum in collaboration with Salesforce and Deloitte, connects the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs to networks of contacts that have the resources, expertise and experience to help bring about change. It was launched at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2020 in Davos and is now live with nearly 10,000 users, over 900 solutions, 12 digital communities, and 80 high-quality UpLink Innovators selected by experts and investors.

"UpLink is a unique way to improve the state of the world," said John Dutton, Head of UpLink, World Economic Forum. “I'm very proud the Forum, in cooperation with its partners, has developed a tool to connect entrepreneurs and accelerate new ideas. The innovation we have seen in the past year makes us very hopeful for the future.”

Innovations highlighted and supported by UpLink so far include Cubex Global, a digital marketplace which sells unused space in shipping containers; SUGi, which allows individuals to invest in nature and plant urban forests; and Desolenator, which is using solar power to purify water, making remote communities more water-resilient.

UpLink is calling on impact-oriented entrepreneurs, investors, experts and changemakers to join the movement to power innovation to achieve the SDGs. To find out more, sign up for free: UpLink.

15 challenges to fast-track impact

The inaugural Ocean Solutions Sprint brought together ways to tackle illegal fishing and plastic pollution to the degradation of coral reef habitats. A cohort of 11 Ocean Innovators are now in a programme to accelerate and scale their impact to produce global systemic change.

The Trillion Trees Challenge leveraged momentum from the launch of – the campaign to conserve, restore and grow one trillion trees by 2030. A cohort of Trillion Trees innovators was announced in September. UpLink also launched a COVID-19 innovation sprint to fight the pandemic and a COVID Social Justice Challenge to address systemic inequalities in the COVID-19 response, some of the top innovators across these challenges include:

Pachama is developing a modern market for forest carbon credits using remote sensing and machine learning to validate and monitor reforestation and avoidance of deforestation projects.

Carbon Health is a primary care provider delivering a premium experience through its modern clinics and virtual care, making world-class healthcare accessible for everyone.

Intelehealth is a telemedicine and case management platform connecting patients and frontline health providers with remote doctors to deliver high quality health services to last mile populations.

UpLink also partnered with The Circulars to kick-off our drive to source innovation for the circular economy. The Circulars Accelerator programme will connect industry leaders with 15 ground-breaking entrepreneurs to scale disruptive innovation at a pace not achieved until now.

During the Davos Agenda, UpLink kicked-off a 2021 programme of challenges to fact-tract impact on food production, clean air and equality. Challenges include: Mobilizing action on climate change and ensuring climate adaptation; a Deloitte-led challenge focused on education inequality; accelerating the clean energy transition; mobilizing protein diversification to transform how we produce food; achieving health equity; and pursuing clean air for all.

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All opinions expressed are those of the author. The World Economic Forum Blog is an independent and neutral platform dedicated to generating debate around the key topics that shape global, regional and industry agendas.

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