Why investors should support entrepreneurs with a purpose

  • UpLink, the World Economic Forum’s open innovation platform, sources innovative solutions to global issues as outlined by the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • The Innovative Funds for the Future challenge targets VC investors to help scale up these solutions from beyond the exploratory phase and into the growth phase.
  • The challenge’s long-term goal is to catalyse the rising of a new class of venture fund managers who are able to develop innovative financing models adapted to challenges SDG entrepreneurs face.

The world is rapidly running out of time to meet its net-zero and sustainability targets. So the World Economic Forum’s open innovation platform UpLink is targeting venture capital (VC) investors in its latest challenge in a bid to speed up this transition.

Launched in 2020, UpLink was created to source innovative solutions to global issues as outlined by the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through a competition framework. Working with a diverse set of partners, UpLink develops and launches innovation challenges to source high-quality submissions from entrepreneurial start-ups.

However, our latest challenge is not so much focused on the solutions themselves but instead on how to scale them up. Our Innovative Funds for our Future initiative targets venture capitalists who are keen to invest through the lens of the SDGs, offering them access to a curated pool of global and high-impact entrepreneurs.

‘Business as usual’ won’t help us achieve net-zero

This is important because the investment community taking a ‘business as usual’ approach isn’t going to help us achieve the UN SDGs on the time horizon that we hoped for. The funding and innovation needed for a transition to a net-zero and sustainable world will only happen if we can accelerate these entrepreneurial ecosystems and support the most innovative SDG-focused funds.

While the global SDG investing market has more than tripled between…

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