Consider the various contexts of the word scale.
In the context of economic growth, and how we reinvent that growth model, there is the vast scale of the challenge to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The magnitude of the task at hand, if we’re to reach these goals, can be estimated in financial terms – an estimated US$3 trillion in additional investment per year.
On the other hand, what is the scale of the response that’s needed to foot this bill? With global GDP of US$115 trillion, it’s reasonable to think that the three trillion a year that’s needed should be able to be mobilised.
So where should it come from, this investment? Should it be solely public money? Is the public purse healthy enough or willing enough to dole out the amounts required over the coming decade to achieve the SDGs? Most likely not.
Given the scale of the challenge and the response needed, business must play a central role in any credible response to challenges such as climate change and social inequality.
And not only when it comes to investment, but also when it comes to developing a new generation of solutions, while leveraging the reach that’s required to implement these solutions at scale.
Business has a huge hand to play.
But to do that - to convince business that it must be part of the solution - business must be met on its own turf. Specifically, it should be understood and assumed that while business will need to do good, business should and will concurrently seek to generate performance, growth, and returns for its stakeholders.
That’s why the Xynteo Exchange is a place where business leaders (and changemakers from other spheres) are invited to come together to drive a new kind of growth – growth that sits at the intersection of commercial interest and human need.
Of course, we need all sectors to be on the same bus. Government must provide enabling environments that incentivise action. And civil society, academia and the arts have a vital role to play in building awareness, enlightenment and commitment.
But whichever way the large, systemic problems of today and tomorrow are viewed, business – both large and small – will be needed as a change-driver to help innovate and scale.
At the Marketplace we showcase start-ups and initiatives that are responding to the growth challenge. We enable them to connect with possible partners, and with capital, so they can scale their potential.
Many of history’s most significant innovation breakthroughs were generated by bold, unconventional entrepreneurs. In recognition of this, and to add weight to our efforts in supporting the scale-up of promising initiatives, all participants at the Exchange cast a vote, choosing the Marketplace start-up they feel has the greatest potential to reinvent the growth model.
The winning project will be awarded the Impact Maker Award, which includes a €50,000 cash grant.
This year we have 35 amazing Impact Maker finalists, from 16 countries, including:
- Winnow Vision, an AI solution to reduce food waste and transform the food system
- Zeleros, the venture behind the development of the Hyperloop in Europe
- TrashCon, an Indian start-up solving one of the key waste problems by converting mixed waste into bio-degradable and non-biodegradable waste
- Simusolar a provider and financier of accessible, affordable, and energy-efficient equipment designed for off-grid businesses in Sub-Saharan Africa
Every finalist comes to the Exchange with a highly compelling concept of their own, and we are very excited to get them talking with our Exchange attendees. We have a lot in store, including a series of interactive Master Classes where industry experts share their tips on how to become better agents of change. Along with 'The Lavo' tent, where we'll be hearing directly from entrepreneurs on how they're 'solving for x' - such as the waste epidemic in India and the lack of access for women to finance in Ecuador.
When you’re at the Marketplace, also come and visit The Explorer - the official digital marketplace for green technology from Norway. With the help of algorithms, The Explorer matches international buyers or investors with relevant and reliable Norwegian providers in just seconds. All solutions on The Explorer are vetted, linked to specific Sustainable Development Goals, and help to reduce negative impact on the environment in some way.
There is still an enormous task ahead of us all if we are to achieve the SDGs. At Xynteo, we’re convinced that collaborative action across all sectors, is the means by which society can not only stave off these global, existential threats, but also unlock a new kind of growth – growth that works with and not against nature; delivers value over the long term; and generates value for the many, not just the few.
The time for empty talk is over. It’s time for collaborative action to drive scale.
See you at the Exchange!
This is the final in a series of blogs written by Chester Cunningham, Director of the Xynteo Exchange. For more information on the Marketplace, visit our page.