'Expo Live' assists pandemic-hit innovators

'Expo Live' assists pandemic-hit innovators

DUBAI, 16th August, 2020 (WAM) -- Expo 2020’s global innovation and partnership programme has announced the provision of additional support to innovators from around the world facing financial hardship as a direct result of the global pandemic Expo Live has set aside AED3.7 million (US$1 million) in an Emergency Relief Fund, ERF, to support innovators from its global innovation and impact grant programme who are facing immediate financial hardship because of the ongoing global pandemic.

Grantees that have received ERF assistance 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.

ERF recipients also include UAE-based NOW Money, the first fintech in the Gulf region to rely on mobile banking technology to provide accounts, financial inclusion and a range of low-cost remittance options to low-income, migrant workers, and 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.

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.

Yousuf Luiz Caires, Senior Vice President, Expo Live, said, "Aligned with the ambitions and vision of the UAE more widely, Expo 2020 Dubai is committed to bringing the world together and enabling solutions that will create a brighter future for all.

"During the COVID-19 pandemic, the global community has shown an overwhelming level of ingenuity, support, understanding and compassion, as well as a desire for change. Expo Live is proud to encourage such ambitions through the Emergency Relief Fund, supporting social entrepreneurs through these challenging times and ensuring they continue to positively impact their communities."

Expo Live has awarded emergency grant funding of between AED184,000 and AED 367,000 (US$50,000-100,000) to 15 Global Innovators from 13 countries. The awards were made following a comprehensive evaluation process, including assessment of strategy, the use of current funds and support to local communities.

Expo 2020, which opens its doors for six months on 1st October 2021, will highlight and promote initiatives, such as Expo Live, that are shaping a better world by tackling some of the biggest challenges of our time through global collaboration.