The Global Finals of the 2020 Entrepreneurship World Cup (EWC) concluded Tuesday at the fifth edition of the Misk Global Forum (MGF). The winner was TurtleTree Labs, from Singapore, which received a $500,000 cash prize.
TurtleTree Labs is the first biotech company to create milk sustainably using cell-based technology.
FLITE Material Sciences from Canada came second, winning $250,000. This startup uses lasers to change the surface of materials so they protect themselves from rust, ice, fouling and pathogens without toxic chemical coatings.
In third place was Genecis Bioindustries Inc, from Canada, winning a prize of $100,000. Genecis uses bacteria and synthetic biology tools to transform organic waste into high value materials and chemicals.
The remaining startups from the final shortlist of five contestants were:
BrightSign (Saudi Arabia) — developers of a sensory glove equipped with machine learning software to recognize any sign language and translate it to any spoken language in different voices
Rubitection (United States) — a medical device company commercializing the Rubitect Assessment System, which provides care givers with a low cost, reliable, early detection tool for bedsores.
In addition, cash prizes of $50,000 were awarded to the top-scoring startups from the following categories:
Vuetech Health Innovation, LLC (United States) — developed the first automated, intelligent video monitoring system, designed specifically to detect, predict and prevent falls and other adverse patient events in healthcare facilities.
Key2enable Assistive Technology (United Arab Emirates) — empowers children with disabilities, their parents and caretakers with its assistive technology to accelerate their communication and learning process.
BrightSign was the winner of the new social entrepreneurship category for this year's competition.
The winners were selected by an audience vote and panel of four international judges, comprising: Kevin O’Leary, chairman, O'Shares ETFs, Canada; Ritesh Agarwal, founder & CEO (Group), OYO Hotels & Homes, India; Jeff Hoffman, Chairman of the Board, Global Entrepreneurship Network, United States and Prince Khalid Bin Alwaleed, CEO & founder, KBW Ventures, Saudi Arabia.
Kevin O’Leary said of the second edition of the EWC: “This crop of deals this year is spectacular. I have to admit these are extraordinary companies.”
Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO of VaynerMedia, one of the speakers, said: “This is a remarkable thing to be associated with. All World Cups are exciting to me, growing up a sports kid. The Entrepreneurship World Cup is the one that really gets my juices going.
“I cannot wait until 15 years from now when those ten to ten to fifteen businesses that everybody admires are being talked about in the realm of them being started during this process."
The EWC Global Finals were the culmination of the competition's second year. The EWC is organized by the Misk Global Forum (MGF), the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) and The Global Education & Leadership Foundation (tGELF), along with a number of regional and strategic partners including OneValley, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) and Entrepreneurs' Organization.
Over the course of 2020, 175,000 entrants from 200 countries were narrowed down through national and regional finals to 100 startups. Most of the events were held virtually, due to COVID-19.
During two days of the MGF annual gathering (Oct. 18-19), the remaining 100 entrants competed through a series of heats and elimination stages until only five remained. Each of the 100 startups will receive a package of in-kind services valued at $850,000.
All global participants gained access to free training materials from experienced mentors and $25,000 worth of perks from dozens of partners including Zoom, Amazon Web Services and Shopify. Already, more than $3.5 million worth of perks have been claimed by EWC 2020 contestants.
Abdulrahman Al-Suhaymi, who leads the EWC and entrepreneurship programs at Misk, said: “I congratulate each of the 100 finalists who have been competing so hard during the last two days, and especially today's prize-winning contestants. All of this year's entrants have the potential to embark on incredible journeys, supported by a global community of partners and collaborators."
Jonathan Ortmans, president of Global Entrepreneurship Network, said: “The pandemic of 2020 was tailor made for a global response, but never got one. Entrepreneurs are natural leaders in times of disruption and the Entrepreneurship World Cup is helping them start and scale at this critically important time.
“These startups have emerged as the best and brightest from a group of 175,000 from 200 countries who will help us build back our jobs and economies even stronger."
Shiv Khemka, executive chairman of The Global Education & Leadership Foundation said: “The 2020 EWC Global Finals experience has been nothing less than inspirational. COVID-19 has forced all of us to adapt to unforeseen circumstances and more importantly has forced many entrepreneurs to pivot and adapt their business models for this new normal.
“Despite the challenges, the majority of the finalists have solutions that focus on social impact and sustainability. I firmly believe that socially conscious entrepreneurship will change the planet, and the Global Finals is proof that there are great entrepreneurs with great ideas ready to be the leaders of today and the leaders of a better tomorrow."
The EWC was supported by a range of global partners, including TechCrunch, WebCongress, Endeavor and organizations that hosted the EWC National Finals. —