Global Economy

Italy unveils G20 Innovation League to promote startups for sustainable future


The current Italian Presidency of the G20 has unveiled G20 Innovation League, a new and unique initiative designed to drive forward innovative projects that help create a sustainable future. The initiative brings together the most promising startups from G20 countries together with institutions and investment funds so they can collaborate and develop innovative sustainable business projects.

Held in Sorrento, Italy and supported by Italy’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the Ministry of Technological Innovation and Digital Transition, and the Ministry of Economic Development, the event was inaugurated by Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio. He underlined the importance of international cooperation to face the current challenges and innovatively rethink the future. Italy will host G20 Summit in Rome on October 30-31.

The movement has been given a sharp focus in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the global challenges it has presented. A statement from the G20 Innovation League statement said: “To build a more sustainable future, the contribution of institutions and companies is not enough. It is necessary that new ideas and entrepreneurial projects of startups can play a role of primary importance. Five fundamental issues have been identified that will have the most significant impact on the future of the planet [including clean technology, healthcare and smart cities].”

“The real challenge is to encourage new international investments and strengthen cooperation between public and private actors on innovation. For this reason, it’s important to bring together startups with potential investors, and organize B2B meetings with venture capitalists and international companies.”

The startups called to present their projects and to propose sustainable technological solutions took part in five challenges. At the first stage of competition, the most promising startups were nominated by each of the G20 countries. At the second stage, 100 startups that made it to the finals were evaluated by venture investors based on financial results, product uniqueness, team competencies, and innovative ideas to tackle global challenges to help build a more inclusive and sustainable future.

The startups competed in five categories: Artificial Intelligence, Clean Technologies, IoT Technology and Wearable Devices, Smart Cities and New Mobility, and The Future of Healthcare.

The Cleantech category award went to ACT Balde (UK) and Biomicrogels Group (Russia). ACT Balde manufactures a new generation of wind turbines, which are 32 percent lighter and 10 percent higher than conventional wind turbines. This results in 9 percent more energy production for wind farms and other advantages such as reducing faults that can interrupt the functioning of a wind turbine.

Biomicrogels Group technology reduces CO2 emissions when cleaning industrial wastewater from fats, oils and petroleum products during processing. It also increases the efficiency of vegetable oils production.

Andrey Elagin, co-founder and CEO of Biomicrogels Group, described India as fertile ground for developing sustainable projects. He told the Economic Times: “India is one of the priority markets for our company and we see great potential for cooperation with industrial enterprises in the region.”

“Reducing CO2 emissions is a prerequisite for the export of industrial products. Currently, mature economies are pursuing an active policy to reduce harmful emissions into the atmosphere, introducing “carbon tariffs” for local and foreign manufacturers. In this regard, the new solutions from the Biomicrogels Group allow companies to remain competitive at a global level.”

The Smart Cities and Mobility category award went to Dott (Holland) and Virtuo Technologies (France). With a fleet of 45 thousand e-scooters and 11 thousand e-bikes, Dott offers sustainable mobility to over 400,000 users in 30 cities in nine countries, every month. In The efficient use of the Internet of Things category the awardees were Zerynth (Italy) and Poka (Canada) while The Future of Healthcare, awards went to Sansure Biotech (China) and Nalagenetics (Indonesia).

NtechLab (Russia), video analytics software developer, was presented with the first G20 Innovation League award for the best artificial intelligence startup. Earlier this year, India’s Western Railway commissioned 470 video cameras featuring real-time face recognition technology developed by NtechLab. The system has been installed at 30 railway stations across Gujarat and Maharashtra, including Mumbai.

Andrei Telenkov, CEO of NtechLab, told ET, “We believe that next year there will be more Indian companies in the competition. India is a country with a highly developed startup environment, and Indian companies certainly have something to offer the world to tackle the challenges of sustainable development.”

He added, “There is consensus across the world that without intelligent video analytics systems, a city cannot be smart and safe, and business cannot be competitive. The G20 award is an affirmation of NtechLab’s status as one of the world leaders in the development of such systems.”



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