Two Irish tech-for-good start-ups bag up to $100,000 each from Dubai fund

1 Aug 2017

Dubai skyline. Image: Karmamole/Shutterstock

Two Irish start-ups with a lot of credentials have been awarded up to $100,000 for being ‘visionaries’ as tech-for-good advocates.

In the build-up to the Expo 2020 event – created to fund and accelerate creative solutions to real-world problems – two Irish start-ups have been awarded grants from an allocation of $100m.

A total of 29 winners of the Expo Live grant, worth up to $100,000, were announced by the event’s organisers, including Irish organisations that will be familiar with readers: the CoderDojo Foundation and Aid:Tech.

Having recently formed a partnership with the Raspberry Pi Foundation, CoderDojo has exploded on to the international scene since it was founded in 2011, and is now one of the world’s leading coding education programmes, spread across 60 countries.

In June, more than 800 kids and young people – aged from six to 17, from 17 different countries – attended the CoderDojo Coolest Projects convention in Dublin, which showcased a variety of different projects they made.

Joining CoderDojo as a grant winner was Aid:Tech, a Dublin-based start-up that has won international acclaim and awards for its blockchain technology, which is designed to increase transparency within aid distribution to make sure those who need it most get it.

Speaking with last year, CEO Joseph Thompson said the company had ambitions to expand beyond greater transparency in aid distribution, and into the area of legal identity, which 2.4bn people in the world are believed to not have.

‘An absolutely incredible opportunity for us’

Both start-ups will now travel to the main Expo 2020 event, which will be held in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

Speaking of its award, the CoderDojo Foundation’s executive director, Giustina Mizzoni, said: “Being part of Expo 2020 Dubai is an absolutely incredible opportunity for us. We will have a chance to meet so many people from all around the world and to showcase CoderDojo. We know that it will contribute to scaling even further globally.”

Meanwhile, Thompson of Aid:Tech said that the grant will help the company provide operational support to its technology through global partnerships.

Expo Live vice-president Yousuf Caires described the two organisations as “change-makers addressing our world’s most pressing challenges”.

He added: “They are visionaries who are determined to see their projects bring meaningful change to those that need it. We are fortunate to have them on our programme and look forward to walking by their side on their path to success.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic