Entrepreneurship World Cup 2020 concludes; Winner secures $500,000

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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The Entrepreneurship World Cup (EWC) 2020, the world’s largest startup pitch competition which was held in Saudi Arabia, has come to an end and gave a glimpse of the best global entrepreneurial ideas.

TurtleTree Labs, a Singapore-based food technology startup, won the event and secured a $500,000 cash prize.

The Misk Global Forum hosted the contest which was held in Riyadh.

Dr. Badr Al Badr
Misk Foundation

“Despite the constraints of COVID-19, this year’s virtual gathering was bigger and better than before. At Misk we believe that immense difficulties present great opportunities, but only to those who are active and adaptive. We don’t see Generation X, Y, or Z, or ‘millennials’; we see ‘Generation Solve’ – defined around young people’s potential to turn challenges into youth-led solutions.”

TurtleTree, the winning start-up, sustainably produces milk using cell-based technology. It associates on an international level with dairy brands, healthcare and nutrition firms, dairy processors and confectionery brands.

“We are addressing the value gap created by an insufficient and unsustainable animal-based dairy industry,” the company’s founder Fengru Lin said.“Our approach involves working with mammalian cells so they can be cultured, differentiated and induced to lactate,” she said.

Other winners

Flite Material Sciences and Genecis Bioindustries, which are Canada-based Cleantech start-ups, won the second and third prizes, worth $250,000 and $100,000 respectively.

Flite uses lasers to modify the surface of products so that they protect themselves from rust, frost, fouling and pathogens without the harmful chemical coatings. “Our clean, patented technique can protect human life, make safer products and improve industrial products in almost every industry,” Dan Cohen, founder of the company said.

In order to turn organic waste into high-value materials and chemicals, Genecis uses bacteria and synthetic biology tools. “Our first product line is marine biodegradable polymers that can be used to make thermo-resistant packaging, pharmaceutical products and 3D printing filaments,” Robert Celik, Genecis founder, said.

More categories

In addition to awarding the top three startups, there were four “category awards” that offered a cash reward of $50,000 to each company.

In the best growth category, the UAE-based Key2enable Assistive Technology, which empowers children with disabilities using a range of assistive technologies, was awarded.

Key2enable develops devices that speed up the communication and learning process of users and assist them to become self-sufficient.

“Our revenue comes from direct sales plus monthly subscription plans,” said Jose Rubinger Filho, company’s founder. “First, we understand their [users] needs then, we indicate the best one [solution] in a subscription-based plan.”

The US-based health and wellness companies Rubitection (best early stage) and Vuetech Health Innovations (best idea) and Saudi Arabia-based education technology start-up BrightSign (best social) are also winners of the category prizes.


Entries from more than 175,000 start-ups from almost 200 nations were received by the EWC for its second edition. This year, more than 1,000 shortlisted start-ups pitched in the 65 national finals held across six continents, coordinated and judged by local entrepreneurship ecosystem entities.

The top 10 finalists battled for a for cash prizes totaling $1 million. A bundle of in-kind services valued at $850,000 each will also be received by the top 100 finalists.

At its inaugural event last year, the EWC had attracted more than 100,000 applicants from 187 countries.