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Encouraging equality in new entrepreneurs

UpLink is an open innovation platform created by Deloitte, Salesforce and the World Economic Forum. It sources pioneering ideas from underrepresented people across the globe and matches them with investors and experts. The result? Tangible solutions to today’s biggest environmental, societal and economic challenges.

Climate change, inequality, poor access to education – three of the most pressing problems of our time. The World Economic Forum, together with our colleagues from Switzerland, India and Deloitte Global, saw an opportunity to tackle these topics head on.

Did you know?

UpLink Top Innovators have captured more than 39 million tons of greenhouse gases, supported 40,000-plus women and members of minority groups, improved the health of more than 121 million people and created 133,000 jobs.

From humble beginnings…

A local Deloitte team in Switzerland, supported by colleagues across the globe, and the World Economic Forum set out to create a platform to identify grassroots solutions and maximise their impact. In a number of workshops, they defined the vision, brand, processes and platform implementation.

And the concept grew into something much bigger. UpLink is now a thriving partnership between Deloitte, the World Economic Forum, which manages operations, and Salesforce, which supplies the underlying software.

“We noticed innovation often comes from all-too-familiar privileged sources,” explains David Helander, senior consultant, Deloitte Digital Switzerland. “The UpLink team wants equal opportunities for everyone. We want to make sure investments go to people in underrepresented parts of the world and to companies run by diverse teams.”

“The challenges of today’s society cannot be solved by a single organisation. Through UpLink, Deloitte is able to identify social entrepreneurs working to solve matters in their local communities and achieving incredible results.”

Punit Renjen

Deloitte Global CEO

…to life-changing solutions

Anyone from anywhere can submit their project and have it reviewed by a broad network of volunteer experts and potentially funded by investors.

More than 260 solutions have been recognised as UpLink Top Innovators, an accolade that brings further opportunities for investment, publicity and mentorship.

Since its launch at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January 2020, UpLink has hosted a number of innovation challenges on specific topics, attracting more than 3,500 submissions from across the globe. In 2021, Deloitte lead one of these challenges, supporting our WorldClass strategy to make a difference to 100 million futures by 2030.

Our WorldClass Education Challenge called for inventive, scalable solutions that focused on either investment in teachers’ development, equitable access to education or equipping students with the skills they need for the workforce of the future. From 400 submissions, we selected 12 innovations across Africa, India and Asia Pacific to receive up to US$1 million in Deloitte professional services on a pro bono basis, along with financial grants.

Punit Renjen, Deloitte Global CEO says, “We launched the WorldClass Education challenge because we are deeply concerned about education inequities that plague too many parts of the world today. UpLink has enabled us to find innovators proposing creative ways to train teachers, equip students with future-ready skills and provide more equitable access for students being left behind.

”The platform is rapidly becoming a global catalyst for transformative and sustainable development. In 2021, it was honoured with a Salesforce Partner Innovation Award, recognising achievement in the non-profit arena. It also published its second Impact Report offering a closer look at solutions from across the globe.

“Uplink’s success wouldn’t be possible without the collaboration with our international teams,” continues David. “It showcases how well we can work together across different geographies.”

“The Forum is now better positioned to foster collaboration among our communities as we work toward achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals.”

Klaus Schwab

Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum