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Innovation Impact Grant Programme

Grants to USA, Canada, and International Nonprofits,
For-Profits, and Agencies for Innovative Global Solutions

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Expo 2020 Dubai

Deadline Date:



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Grants to USA, Canada, and International nonprofit organizations, government agencies, social entrepreneurs, and for-profit enterprises for innovative solutions that address global challenges. Applications are invited from smaller or startup-phase organizations that may use funds to field and grow their projects to scale. Focus areas broadly include opportunity, mobility, and sustainability.

A World Expo is a celebration for all, a global destination where everyone can learn, innovate, create progress, and have fun by sharing ideas and working together. Each Expo revolves around its own theme to leave a lasting impact on the path of human progress, thus making each Expo a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Expo 2020 Dubai will be the first World Expo ever hosted in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA), and this program seeks to trigger a long-term effect in this region and the wider world, inspiring the next generation.

Through its theme, “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future”, Expo 2020 Dubai provides a platform to encourage creativity, innovation and collaboration in the areas of Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability. Expo 2020 Dubai provides a one-of-a-kind global stage for showcasing and sharing novel solutions and demonstrating projects that – irrespective of their size and geography – can improve, if not transform, the lives of people around the world.

Overview of Expo Live:

Expo Live is an innovation and partnership program launched by Expo 2020 Dubai to fund, accelerate, and promote creative solutions that improve lives while preserving the planet. Expo Live will harness the convening power of a World Expo to demonstrate how innovations coming from all places and people can advance the pace of progress and inspire a more inclusive and prosperous future.

Expo Live will combine grant programs, innovation challenges and knowledge-sharing events to promote collaboration and to provide technical assistance and exposure to the innovators in the run-up to Expo 2020 Dubai.

Expo Live has Four Objectives:

-Make Expo 2020 Dubai an engine of global innovation that both inspires and acts as a catalyst for creative and scalable solutions.

-Engage participants and stakeholders on the journey to Expo 2020 Dubai by the ‘connecting of minds’ to seek and support solutions across Expo’s sub themes of Opportunity, Mobility, and Sustainability, while contributing to high-quality and relevant content to be exhibited during the event.

-Establish a network for collaboration between nations, organizations and innovators around shared global challenges.

-Create tangible and quantifiable impact to improve the lives of people around the world by supporting the development and transfer of new solutions.


Expo Live’s flagship Innovation Impact Grant Programme will fund novel and innovative solutions that encapsulate the spirit of the theme Connecting Minds, Creating the Future. The focus areas for funding are the sub theme areas of Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability. Successful applicants will demonstrate how new innovations, or the innovative application of existing solutions addressing global challenges, could lead to impressive impacts at community level. Potential for replication, scaling-up or scaling-out of solutions and its impacts are important.

Beyond grant funding, successful grant recipients will also have access to networking and partnership opportunities, marketing and communications exposure, as well as additional funding enabling their solutions to be showcased during Expo 2020 Dubai.


The Innovation Impact Grant Programme focuses on smaller, startup and social enterprise organizations that could utilize grants to fuel and capacitate their projects in their journey to scale.

Funding levels will depend on the stage of maturity of the project, its capacity to implement and grow and the extent of its impacts in the sub theme areas as well as at community level. Tranched funding against milestones will be introduced for larger projects, multi-year initiatives and startup ventures.

Expo Live Innovation Impact Grant Programme will fund projects that are beyond the ideation stage. The intent is to build a portfolio of projects that range from prototype stage (testing and validating a working model), implementation (in-market and continuous product or service improvement), to building the pathways to scale (expanding the product or service to a larger scale).

Focus Areas:

The theme of Connecting Minds, Creating the Future recognizes that the creation of sustainable solutions to global problems demands readiness to reach out across geographies, institutional boundaries, industry clusters, cultures and disciplines. Often it is necessary to move outside the traditional silos to make progress; with solutions emerging from where they are least expected.

The sub themes of Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability reflect the timeless drivers of progress that continue to inspire people, organizations and nations in their endeavors to create a better future. The focus areas for innovative solutions under each sub theme are deliberately kept and to ensure maximum inclusion and to allow creative ideas from across the world to emerge. The tables on the next page are indicative and not comprehensive.

Opportunity is about unlocking the potential of individuals and communities to shape a better future. Within the sub theme of Opportunity, Expo Live aims to bring to life its distinct and collective efforts to allow people and communities to realize their potential in a fast-changing world.

Opportunity lies at the core of human development and growth. It is about the aspirations of people, and turning those aspirations into the realities of tomorrow through education, employment, new industries, financial capital and governance systems.

-Improving access and quality of education, training and capacity-building
-Mentoring and support networks
-Online education and new tools for learning
-Schools and curricula for the future

-Access to employment
-(Re)skilling for emerging jobs
-Workplaces of the future (physical and virtual)
-Automation of work (artificial intelligence and robotics)

New Industries:
-Fostering entrepreneurship
-Boosting small and medium enterprises
-Emerging and pioneering sectors, industries and business models
-Future manufacturing and services

Financial Capital:
-Access to funding and financial services
-Access to global markets
-Future of banking, payments and financial services
-Social enterprises, impact investing and new philanthropy

-Systems to enhance transparency, inventiveness and competitiveness
-Innovation ecosystems
-Creative communities
-Smart government


Mobility is the bridge to Opportunity. By enabling connections, Mobility simulates progress and opens the door to possibility and inclusion. It explores the many different ways in which movement – of people, goods and ideas – can bring the world into greater connection. This sub theme is as much about the way people move as it is about the speed and scale of progress that can be achieved thanks to the ability to connect physically and virtually. Creating smarter and effective connections accelerates progress as new ideas, knowledge and resources can reach communities faster and further.

-Means and modes for transport
-Sustainable, low carbon solutions
-Autonomous vehicles (drones, driverless cars)
-Smart infrastructure

Travel and Exploration
-Exploring new frontiers to connect people, places and opportunities
-Experiential, authentic and immersive travel and tourism to enhance understanding
-Migration-Opportunity nexus
-New technologies and business models

Personal Mobility:
-Restoring personal mobility
-Affordable and accessible prosthetics
-Assistive robotics
-Universal accessibility (physical and digital)

-Humanitarian and vital goods logistics (e.g. food, medicine, water, energy)
-Supply chains of the future
-Tracking and safety of goods
-Logistics corridors and intermodal connectivity

Digital Connectivity:
-Accessing remote services (internet, health, education)
-Big data, Internet of things and smart cities
-Virtual and augmented experiences
-Navigation and satellite applications


Sustainability is about respecting and living in balance with the planet. By understanding the intricate and often hidden web of connections that shape the working of the world, organizations can develop new ways of interacting with the planet’s habitats, discovering new resources or using resources in novel ways, designing systems and processes that help us exist within the boundaries of the environment.

It reflects the commitment to understand and nurture the bond that connects people, society and habitats and to find new paths for prosperity that can lead to a viable future.

Natural Ecosystems and Biodiversity:
-Unlocking traditional and indigenous knowledge
-Biodiversity management, understanding and conservation
-Future of eco-regions and biomes
-Closed loop systems and biomimicry

-Access to current and unexplored resources
-Energy, water and food nexus
-Resource efficiency, management, storage and distribution
-Sustainable food production

Sustainable Cities and Build Habitats:
-Sustainable lifestyles (design and manufacturing)
-Sustainable materials
-Green standards and best practices
-Preserving cultural authenticity

Climate Change:
-Adapting to social impacts of climate change
-Emissions reporting and management
-Novel technologies to mitigate climate change
-Education and advocacy

Green Growth:
-Innovation and investment in human capital and infrastructure for green growth
-Greening consumer behavior
-New economic models and circular economies
-Technologies for a green transition

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 182465

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Estimated Size of Grant:

Up to $100,000 (USD)

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Eligible applicant(s) are legally registered entities such as social entrepreneurs, SMEs, not-for-profit organizations and government related entities.

-Projects related to youth empowerment and/or initiated by the youth are encouraged to participate through their institutional affiliations (e.g. schools and universities, or community-based organizations).
-In the case of individual innovators applying for grants, they must have a legally registered entity.
-The applicant may act individually or with co-applicants. Co-applicants must satisfy the same eligibility criteria as applicable to the applicant.

No individuals or organizations with questionable legal status or standing may apply.
These could include:
-Being convicted of an offense concerning their professional conduct by a judgment of a competent authority;
-Non-compliance with social security or tax payments in accordance with the legal provisions of the country in which they are established or those of the country where the contract is to be performed;
-In financial trouble, which may include bankruptcy or suspended business activities;
-Legally convicted for fraud, corruption, involvement in a criminal organization, money laundering or any other illegal activity; and/or
-Misrepresentation in supplying the information required in this application process.

Pre-Application Information:

Fourth Cycle Now Open
You can submit applications for funding and support until December 31, 2018.

Technical Assistance:

Applicants from qualifying developing countries may be eligible for technical assistance (TA) during the application, screening and evaluation stages. The level of technical support will depend on needs. Expo Live will consider customized technical assistance on a case-by-case basis.

In the post-award stage, TA to qualifying projects should ideally be integrated with project/business plans and budgets, and thus be covered by grant agreements. During the due diligence stage, Expo Live may conduct capacity assessments and prepare recommendations to address capacity gaps. Expo Live may also assess potential project risks and, if required, recommend risk mitigation measures (e.g. business or management support in different disciplines) to be funded as part of grant agreements.

Capacity building and TA may be extended to the monitoring and evaluation stage, with the emphasis on building financial and programmatic reporting capacity.

Application and Review Process:

Abstract Applications:
-Applicants may submit abstracts online
-Eligible abstracts will be evaluated and shortlisted by the Expo Live evaluators. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to submit a full application.
-Applicants can expect a decision within 20 working days after abstract submission.

Full Application:
-Upon receipt of an invitation, a full project application and supporting documents must be submitted within 10 working days.
-The Expo Live, in collaboration with the Legal, Finance and Governance Departments, will conduct a financial and legal due diligence review for all full application submissions
-The Expo Live evaluators will next review and assess proposals based on the technical criteria
-Depending on the technical and scientific nature of the application, this stage should be completed within 30 working days after submission.

Live Presentation:
-Shortlisted applicants will be invited to Dubai (United Arab Emirates) to present their projects in person. The Evaluation Committee will rank projects and recommend final selection for consideration by the Expo 2020 Dubai Board of Directors.

Grant Approval:
-The Expo 2020 Dubai Board of Directors will consider the diversity of geographic representation; the spread of sub theme-related projects; and the representation of projects, technologies and business models at different stages of maturity.

Grant Agreement:
-Once a grant has received approval for funding, a preliminary award notification letter will be sent to the applicant containing a list of any outstanding issues that need to be resolved prior to signing the agreement.
-The agreement will be customized to provide for implementation plan, budget, key performance indicators and risk mitigation.
-Original copies of the agreement must be signed by both parties before funds can be disbursed. Standard terms and conditions will apply.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Apply Online:

For further information and enquiries:
+971 4 555 2020

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming

USA Territories: American Samoa (USA)   Guam (USA)   Puerto Rico (USA)   Virgin Islands (USA)   Northern Mariana Islands (USA)

USA Compact Free Associations: The Federated States of Micronesia (USA)   Marshall Islands (USA)   Republic of Palau (USA)

Canada: Alberta   British Columbia   Manitoba   New Brunswick   Newfoundland and Labrador   Northwest Territories   Nova Scotia   Nunavut   Ontario   Prince Edward Island   Quebec   Saskatchewan   Yukon


International country outside of the USA, Israel and Canada.