HCL and UpLink Call for Applications Globally for Aquapreneur Innovation Initiative


NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–HCLa global conglomerate and UpLink, the World Economic Forum’s open innovation platform, announced today that applications have been opened for the Global Freshwater Innovation Challenge. This is the first of five challenges in HCL and UpLink’s Aquapreneur Innovation Initiative, a program to source innovative solutions to conserve and restore freshwater ecosystems from “aquapreneurs” (water-focused entrepreneurs). The initiative, launched during the Forum’s annual meeting in Davos in May 2022, will create a unique innovation ecosystem for the global freshwater sector. The last application date is November 08, 2022. All details and admission criteria can be found under this link. HCL has committed $15 million over five years to support water-centric entrepreneurs.

Roshni Nadar Malhotra, President of HCL Technologies said “An innovation ecosystem can enable water entrepreneurs with resources and mentorship to invest in the development of new solutions and improve existing solutions in scale and impact. There are entrepreneurs and start-ups that have the potential to provide contextual freshwater conservation solutions and have tried to make a small impact on small ecosystems in small ways. Of these, many are struggling to secure funding and lack the operational capacity to scale their solutions. HCL, through its extensive network and partnership with the World Economic Forum’s UpLink, wants to ensure these entrepreneurs are identified and supported.”

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The first year’s challenge, referred to as the Global Freshwater Challenge focus on:

  • Improved decision making: Solutions that close knowledge gaps, improve data collection and create transparent and accessible data (i.e. solutions that monitor and forecast water usage and demand)
  • Restoration of water quality: Solutions that address water quality by monitoring, treating, restoring or protecting it. (i.e. solutions such as solar stills for water purification)
  • Ecosystem resilience: Solutions that protect spring water throughout the value chain and build resilience to climate and weather-related shocks, taking into account the most vulnerable areas (i.e. solutions that reduce water evaporation from extreme heat or ways to absorb and store acute flooding)

Gim Huay Neo, Executive Director of the Center for Nature and Climate at the World Economic Forum says: “The Aquapreneur Innovation Initiative invites all entrepreneurs to get involved to scale and accelerate their solutions and impact. Through this initiative, we are trying to improve freshwater resilience and better protect our water resources. Working with HCL and UpLink will provide a platform for top innovators to connect with public and private partners and access venture capital to collectively transform our sustainable management and use of freshwater systems.”

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Find HCL and UpLink:

  • Stage: Impact-driven startups that are in the pilot, growth or scale-up phase, with proven success towards scaling (i.e. a proven track record with measurable outcomes and impact). Solutions that represent an “idea” or “prototype” phase will not be considered.
  • Business model: Ideally looking for for-profit start-up companies or social enterprises with a sustainable, ideally hybrid, financing model.
  • Scale: Start-ups that demonstrate the potential to scale, particularly for the hardest hit communities, along with a vision to achieve long-term financial viability and sustainability.

Selected entrepreneurs have the opportunity to work closely with industry experts, investors and ecosystem partners to further develop, scale and further impact their innovative solution.

About the HCL Group

Founded in 1976 as one of India’s original IT garage startups, HCL is a pioneer of modern computing with many firsts including the introduction of the 8-bit microprocessor-based computer in 1978, well ahead of its global competitors. Today, HCL Group has a business presence in all sectors including technology and healthcare and consists of three group companies – HCL Technologies, HCL Infosystems and HCL Healthcare. With more than 211,000 employees in 52 countries, the group generates annual sales of more than 11.8 billion US dollars.

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HCL Technologies, a group company, is empowering global businesses with technology for the next decade, today. As a leading global technology company, it prides itself on its diversity, social responsibility, sustainability and educational initiatives. HCL Technologies is also a strategic partner of the World Economic Forum.

About UpLink

UpLink is the World Economic Forum’s open innovation platform dedicated to unlocking an “entrepreneur revolution” to support positive systemic change for people and the planet. Launched at the Forum’s annual meeting in Davos in January 2020 in partnership with Salesforce and Deloitte, UpLink is now a thriving ecosystem of over 50,000 entrepreneurs, investors and experts working together to innovate towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Visit www.hcl.com for more information



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