Israel leads an international competition for startups to develop and advance desert technology as the world becomes drier and warmer, seeking solutions to combat desertification and climate change.
Desertification is a growing phenomenon that already affects over 3 billion people. Last year, Israel saw the opportunity to create a center for startups in the field and created DeserTech, a desert technology networking community to operate as part of a climate change innovation center in the city of Beersheva in the country’s Negev desert is working.
“We promote Israeli innovation as the engine of change in the global climate area, and the startup competition is a force multiplier for new ideas and groundbreaking developments,” said Israeli Environment Minister Tamar Zandberg. “The State of Israel has an advantage from many years of experience in the development of innovative solutions for the challenges of living in a desert climate and we implement these in the DeserTech innovation center.”
“In this center we will use Israeli innovations for the benefit of all countries in the world in the fight against the climate crisis and its effects and it will serve as a meeting point for technology, research and politics,” added Zandberg.
The global competition will be announced by the DeserTech community in the Israeli pavilion at Expo Dubai on Monday. The community is a joint initiative of the Merage Foundation Israel, the Israel Innovation Institute, the Ministry of Environmental Protection and the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Partners in the competition are the Embassy of the Netherlands in Israel, the Wohl Foundation, the British Council Israel and the British Embassy in Israel.
“The aim of the competition is to promote a global task force with the aim of improving the lives of billions of people and making the desert flourish. In addition, we will promote the city of Beersheva as a national and global center in this field, ”said Jonathan Menuhin, CEO of the Israel Innovation Institute. “We invite companies from Great Britain and the Netherlands to join Israeli companies and propose their technological solutions in the fight against desertification and adaptation to desert life.”
The initiative aims to promote technological innovations to address global desert challenges, including extreme climate, land degradation, water scarcity and limited access to water, as well as geographical isolation of people and marginalized life forms.
It is estimated that 1.8 billion people will suffer from absolute water scarcity by 2025. Desert environments cover about 40 percent of the earth’s land area and are home to over 20 percent of the world’s population.
The competition has two tracks, one Israeli and one international, and the winning startups will receive $ 31,000 in prize money.
“Israel in general, and the Negev in particular, has a wealth of academic, technological and applied knowledge related to the challenges of living in the desert,” said Nicole Hod Stroh, CEO of the Merage Foundation. “To encourage the successful adaptation of their technologies and create joint business ventures between Dutch, British and Israeli companies, the award for the Dutch and British route will be the participation of 20 companies in a seminar in the Negev.
“At the company seminar, participants learn about the Negev ecosystem, including its research and industrial facilities, connect with local entrepreneurship in the fields of agriculture, renewable energies, water and infrastructure, and learn about the opportunities and challenges of the desert,” she explained.