• AeroFarms is a leading indoor vertical farming and controlled environment agriculture company that has committed to offering mentorship support to four social innovation start-ups that won Cohort 2 of the Global Maker Challenge
• The Award is offered to companies who showcase their commitment towards making a positive impact on society by supporting innovators from the Global Maker Challenge
• An expert judging panel led by the University of Cambridge selected AeroFarms as the winner of the Global Prosperity Award for its social responsibility, leadership and customised support plans that will enable the innovators to scale their solutions
• The innovators benefiting from Aerofarm’s support are Agricycle Global, Algiknit, ID2020, and Ryp Labs
• The Global Prosperity Award was announced at the Global Prosperity Conference, held on November 24, 2021 as part of the six-day GMIS Week at EXPO’s Dubai Exhibition Centre
Dubai, United Arab Emirates – November 25, 2021: The Mohammed bin Rashid Initiative for Global Prosperity today announced that AeroFarms, a New Jersey-based global leader in indoor farming, is the winner for the Global Prosperity Award, a programme that reinforces corporate social responsibility through science, innovation, and entrepreneurship.
AeroFarms will provide mentorship support to four start-ups that were identified as the most disruptive solutions for the Global Maker Challenge, which concluded in September 2020 and ran challenges focused on Sustainable and Healthy Food for All, Innovation for Inclusive Trade, Innovation for Peace and Justice, and Climate Change. The mentorship programme will include training on food safety and quality assurance processes, discussions with AeroFarms’ senior leadership team to strengthen organisational structures, ways to improve private sector engagement, as well as support with public relations and branding.
An expert panel led by Policy Links - Institute for Manufacturing at the University of Cambridge selected AeroFarms for presenting customised support plans to help each of the winning innovators overcome their non-financial operational challenges and achieve greater societal impact. The judging panel also recognised AeroFarms’ leadership and transformative work in agricultural technology. The Global Prosperity Award was announced during The Global Prosperity Conference at EXPO’s Dubai Exhibition Centre on November 24, 2021.
David Rosenberg, Chief Executive Officer of AeroFarms, said: “The Global Prosperity Award presents AeroFarms with the opportunity to give back and help serve as a role model and inspiration on how to push the boundaries of innovation. We are looking forward to working closely with these young organisations that demonstrate an immense drive to make transformative changes in the world and help them improve operational competitiveness and commercial growth. Importantly, this collaboration is closely aligned with AeroFarms’ vision of unlocking disruptive ideas to create a more connected, resilient and sustainable planet.”
Established in 2004, AeroFarms is an indoor vertical farming enterprise that works at the intersection of plant biology, agriculture and disruptive technologies to grow fresh produce and distribute them around the world. The AgTech company recently announced the launch of AeroFarms AgX, a wholly owned subsidiary to develop the world’s largest indoor vertical farm dedicated to cutting-edge R&D based in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The company’s business model addresses 12 of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and won the inaugural Global SDG Award for private sector leadership in the advancement of the UN 2030 Agenda.
The Global Prosperity Award was formed to encourage global organisations to make a lasting social impact on communities around the world and enable startups to ramp up disruptive solutions addressing some of the world's most pressing challenges. The Award connects entrepreneurs and innovators with experts from partner organisations like AeroFarms.
The four most disruptive solutions identified by the Global Maker Challenge are Agricycle Global, a vertically integrated supply chain to empower rural farmers and connect them to the US market; Algiknit, a creator of eco-conscious renewable and biodegradable fibres and yarns; ID2020, a non-profit organisation that aims to develop digital IDs for billions of undocumented people worldwide; and Ryp Labs Inc. a technology company that aims to reduce food waste by extending the shelf life of fruits and vegetables.
Badr Al Olama, Head of the Organising Committee for the Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit (GMIS), said: “As the world continuously fights to overcome the obstacles caused by the pandemic, it is imperative to leverage disruptive technologies and address societal challenges. By supporting innovators that are creating unconventional solutions to improve the state of the world, the Global Prosperity Award once again underscores the UAE’s commitment towards unlocking new opportunities that can accelerate global good.”
“This is yet another exciting year for the Mohammed bin Rashid Initiative for Global Prosperity. AeroFarms is well-recognised in the technology and food security sectors, and is highly regarded globally for being an innovative and agile organisation. I am confident that the selected makers who have committed so much into creating innovative and bold solutions will benefit from this mentorship programme. I look forward to the day where these solutions are aimed towards tackling the most pressing social, economic and environmental challenges of our times,” he added.
The Global Prosperity Award was announced on the back of a session titled ‘Solving the Mentor-Mentee Equation: Is There a Science to it?’, which was attended by Roberto Croci, Managing Director of Microsoft for Startups, Bruna Braga, Head of Partnership of MIT Solve, Jida Itani, Chief Operating Office for Hub 71, and Moody Soliman, Co-Founder of Ryp Labs Inc. The session critically examined the core attributes of a successful mentor-mentee relationship in the context of social impact start-ups, drawing on the panel’s experiences.
Roberto Croci, Managing Director of Microsoft for Startups, said: “Mentorship is what you and your mentee make of it! As a mentor, it is not about having all the answers, it is about displaying empathy, attempting to see things from the mentee’s perspective while not being afraid to probe when things get more intense for your mentee, sharing what you know, including past difficult experiences or situations of your own and translating the unwritten rules and challenges that have helped you develop to where you are now. As a mentee, it is about taking initiative in asking for help and advice, coming to the mentor sessions prepared with specific thoughts and topics, discussing your career goals, interests, concerns, issues, or anything on your mind openly with your mentor. Mentorship is about having meaningful conversations and deepening a mutual relationship to search inside yourself and learn from each other, being open to be vulnerable, providing perspective, recognizing challenges and seeking for help.”
The Global Prosperity Conference was held during the six-day GMIS Week from November 22-27 at EXPO’s Dubai Exhibition Centre, featuring over 200 global speakers. The GMIS Week will include a Global Prosperity Conference run by the Mohammed bin Rashid Initiative for Global Prosperity and The Green Chain Conference, an Alternative & Renewable Energy Conference –– on November 24. The GMIS Week will also host country-focused conferences in partnership with the United Kingdom, Australia and Italy on November 24 & 25. Throughout the week, the Summit is also running an exhibition to highlight the UAE government’s ‘Make it in the Emirates’ campaign, a first-of-its-kind initiative to encourage local and international investors, developers and innovators to benefit from the facilities and incentives offered by the country’s industrial sector.