CELEBRATE | November 24, 2019

Looking Back at an Impactful Entrepreneurship World Cup

Photo Credit: Misk Global Forum

The Entrepreneurship World Cup 2019 closed with the participation of the world’s best innovators, young leaders, global investors, industry experts, and policymakers.

This first-ever edition of the EWC, hosted at the Misk Global Forum in Riyadh, became quite possibly the largest startup program in the world in less than a year, reaching more than 102,000 entrepreneurs from 187 countries. The top 100 competed on-stage at the EWC Global Finals for more than US$25 million in support and service prizes, including US$1 million cash for the top 5 winners.

More than just a pitch competition, however, EWC provided all contestants with access to free training and resources through GEN Accelerates and GSVlabs Passport. Those who advanced through national or regional finals also received direct mentorship and real-time training opportunities through the GEN Accelerates platform and team. 

What is incredible about EWC is the global entrepreneurship community that has come together to foster innovation and strengthen local and regional ecosystems to support entrepreneurs from all stages and all sectors. We have more than 100 national partners leading EWC in their countries, and together they represent every player in the ecosystem.

EWC China was led by private sector and investors -- Beckstone Group, Founder H Found, Techcode -- similar to EWC Canada and EWC USA led by GSVLabs. EWC Russia and EWC Nigeria were led by academia -- Skolkovo and Pan-Atlantic University -- while EWC Uzbekistan, EWC Colombia and EWC Indonesia were led by the public sector -- Ministry of Innovative Development, Innpulsa and Surabaya City Government respectively.

EWC India was led by tGELF and EWC Argentina, EWC Brazil, EWC Bangladesh, EWC Kenya, EWC Finland, EWC Singapore, EWC Pakistan, and EWC South Africa among others, were led by the Global Entrepreneurship Network in the country, in all cases non-profit organizations.

After a rigorous year-long filtering process with national and regional competitions, the top global finalists represented the best-emerging startups from the faster-growing industries in the world, such as Biotechnology & Health, Renewable Energy, Mobility, Cybersecurity, Deep Technology, and Agritech among others.

All the 100 global finalists had the opportunity to pitch on stage at the EWC global finals and connect with leading investors, industry leaders, mentors and established innovators to develop their business solutions. After the last round of pitches, Kevin O’Leary closed the event saying, “this curation process that occurred here is unprecedented, and it’s one of the best conferences I have ever seen in terms of deal flow.”

The innovative solutions presented are a contribution to humanity and solve some of the world’s most pressing issues. See the complete list here and among the top winners are:

  1. NERv Technology (Canada) proactively detects post-op complications to ensure that no patient loses their life because of an undetected post-operative complication.
  2. Koniku (USA) merges engineered brain cells with traditional silicon chips. They develop innovative biohybrid devices called Konikore™ that can detect any chemical or volatile organic compounds in the ambient air.
  3. Red Sea Farms (Saudi Arabia) enables greenhouse and hydroponic farms to grow more and better food with less water and energy using a patent-pending technology
  4. Sumato-ID (Argentina) creates biometric solutions by optimizing costs and maximizing sales by understanding customer behaviours.
  5. SUN Mobility (India) created an open-architecture, ‘Smart Mobility’ model deployable across multiple vehicle platforms. Their intelligent and connected batteries, along with the Quick Interchange Stations Network, creates a convenient refuelling infrastructure, faster and cheaper than existing petrol and diesel pumps for ICE vehicles.

The Entrepreneurship World Cup would not be possible without the leadership of the Misk Global Forum together with the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) and the support from global partners such as the Global Educational and Leadership Foundation (tGELF), GSVlabs, Entrepreneur’s Organization, KAUST and a collection other regional and national partners.

If you are an organization interested in serving as an EWC National Host in your country for 2020, we invite you to complete the partner application to express your interest.

Thank you to all of you who have joined EWC at any stage in any country of the world. Together we’re becoming agents of change by building a culture of innovation and a global inclusive entrepreneurship ecosystem.

Ana Maria Torres is the Director of the Entrepreneurship World Cup at the Global Entrepreneurship Network. She has been adviser and consultant for… About the author