Seven themes of the Seedstars World 2020/21 Grand Finale


Seven themes of the Seedstars World 2020/21 Grand Finale

Seedstars Global

APRIL 23, 2021

The Grand Finale of the Seedstars World Competition 2020/21 is approaching so let’s dig deeper into what will be happening during the day. With the Regional Finals behind us, the five top startups from emerging markets have been announced, but the title of the Global Winner and a chance to win up to $500,000 in investment is not the only prize that will be awarded on the day.

Each year there are several themes that Seedstars and our partners want to focus on. The seven themes we are tackling this time are: 21st century education, women empowerment, climate action, childhood development, FoodTech, EdTech, and ICT Accessibility. Each of them is an important issue in the emerging markets, with technology and entrepreneurship providing new and innovative solutions every day. As a way of supporting entrepreneurs developing technology in these areas, we will be dedicating special awards in each category.


According to a report published by the Institute for the Future, 85 percent of the jobs that will exist in 2030 haven't been invented yet. If we know that, why have education systems across the world stayed the same for decades? With the current pandemic situation, we have seen how vital digitalization of the sector is, but that is just the top of the iceberg. In order to keep up with the demands of the labour market, educational facilities will have to provide training for new skills identified to be valuable in the future: analytical thinking and innovation, complex problem-solving and technology design, programming, and more. Closing the digital skills gap will also have financial benefits as it would add US$11.5 trillion to global GDP.


Did you know that globally only one in three companies are owned by women? It has been over a 100 years since women in some countries got the right to vote, yet the gender gap is still very much present. Not only that but, women make up 70 percent of the world’s poor. The inequality is unfortunately also present in the world of entrepreneurship and investment, with data showing that less than three percent of VC funding goes to female-founded startups. Why is this still an issue and what concrete steps can be taken to address this?


The climate crisis has never been as urgent as now, we can’t afford to be passive watchers. We believe that technology and entrepreneurship can contribute to solutions aimed at both mitigating and adapting to climate change. Tech entrepreneurs are working on innovation in the fields of clean energy, waste management, and land restoration to build a more sustainable future and provide accessible solutions for all.


Similarly to education technology, during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have had to rethink the environment of our young ones. Early childhood experiences are vital for brain development and consequently learning, health, behaviour and income. Millions of children across the world do not reach their full potential because of poverty. From online learning and digitalisation from early age to solutions aimed at child caretakers, childhood development is a pressing topic that needs to be addressed to secure a better future.


With an increase in the global population, especially in the emerging economies, the supply of food and water will become a top priority. UN data shows that in 2019 almost 690 million people in the world were undernourished, and the pandemic could push an additional 265 million into food insecurity. Simultaneously, agriculture is a major contributor to climate changes as it already uses almost half of the world’s vegetated land and consumes 90 percent of all the water used by humanity. Can technology help solve the global hunger/climate change paradox? We have teamed up with the Swiss canton of VAUD, a frontrunner in food and agricultural innovation, to showcase some of the top FoodTech and AgriTech startups.


More than a year into the pandemic, and educators around the world are still dealing with the difficulties of teaching online. With 1.2 billion children out of the classroom, digital education is becoming a must-have. Even before COVID-19 there was an increase in adoption of education technology, with global investments in this sector reaching $18.66 billion in 2019. So is digital education here to stay? How can tech entrepreneurs help facilitate digital competencies? These are just some of the questions that will be answered during the Grand Finale and one EdTech startup will receive the Education technology award in partnership with HEG Fribourg. Just one example of how it can be done is Programa Valentina, a social business that trains unemployed talent with basic skills and matches them with the needs of corporates, who received this award last year.


There are not a lot of situations in life where we don’t communicate. In the age of information, it has become not only a necessity but also a human right. Yet there is a group of people that often gets overlooked and doesn’t have the same access to information and communications technology (ICT): people with disabilities and people with functional limitations. In partnership with MADA, an Assistive Technology Centre from Qatar, we will tackle the topic of how entrepreneurship can bridge the gap to accessibility for people with impairments and the two finalists of the ICT Accessibility Awards will also present their solutions. Last year’s winners were Talov, an Ecuadorian startup providing solutions for people with hearing impairment and visual disabilities, and Lazarillo from Chile, who have developed an app that helps institutions make their services more accessible to everyone.

What else will be happening during the Grand Finale?

The Grand Finale will be broadcasted on May 20, 2021, in partnership with The Next Web. The highlight of the day will be the pitching competition where the five finalists will present their startups for a chance of winning $500K USD in funding.

The broadcast will also feature insights presentations, an update on Seedstars’ investments and panel discussions with experts on tech and education.

The Seedstars World Competition 2020/21 was made possible by VAUD and the support of the School of Management Fribourg (HEG-FR), Presence Switzerland as well as the Qatar Assistive Technology Center (MADA).

To join in the Grand Finale broadcast, you may register here.

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