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bNovate Won the UpLink Fresh Water Challenge

Updated: Dec 4, 2023

Why is freshwater protection a global issue?

In January 2023, bNovate won the Global Fresh Water Challenge organised by UpLink - World Economic Forum (WEF) and HCL Enterprise. This article will give you insight into what it means to be recognised as a Top 10 Innovator and what is at stake.

bNovate Technologies girl drinking clear water from a fountain,and the Uplink logo, with which bNovate was awarded as a Top Innovator

We use fresh water for cooking, drinking, irrigation and other sanitary uses. It represents only 3% of the world’s water, and two-thirds of it is unavailable to us, frozen in glaciers and ice caps. Climate change, overexploitation, and pollution are the threats to fresh water, are multiple and severe. Yet, we often forget how rare and precious it is. If we could all make small changes at the individual level, global-scale actions are needed, and international institutions have a role to play. The WEF was created to bring political, business, cultural and other leaders of society on board to shape global, regional and industry agendas.

This is why they launched UpLink at Davos 2020 in partnership with Salesforce and Deloitte. UpLink is a platform dedicated to addressing global issues such as the preservation of fresh water. It seeks to source ingenious solutions supporting the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through competition calls. UpLink creates bridges within the innovation ecosystem and connects entrepreneurs to influential networks with the resources to scale them.

In 2022, UpLink launched the Global Fresh Water Challenge funded by HCL Enterprise and supported by ARUP, the Kingdom of the Netherlands | Special Envoy for International Water Affairs, PA Consulting, the Nature Conservancy, and Xylem. Their goal was to round innovations focusing on improving data-driven decision-making, restoring water quality, and strengthening climate change freshwater resilience.

All those are necessary for authorities and water professionals. Yet, the sector is notoriously risk-averse and slow in adopting and disseminating new technologies.

bNovate is recognized as an Uplink Top Innovator

bNovate entered the competition alongside 227 other participants from 45 countries and became one of the Top 10 Innovators with BactoSense. BactoSense is currently the only solution on the market that combines flow cytometry's power for microbial monitoring with automation for simple handling.

With results available within 25 minutes, BactoSense enables continuous surveillance and rapid anomaly detection and ensures a safe water supply. It is sensitive and can identify very low microbial levels in drinking water.

The automated system is amenable for non-specialists with 24/7 surveillance, helping operators avoid mistakes and providing reliable data.

Luigino Grasso, CTO bNovate Technologies, uplink top innovator

“Participating in the UN Water Conference 2023 was an enriching and uplifting experience. I connected with people worldwide who share the common goal of ensuring access to clean and sustainable water for all. I particularly appreciated the emphasis on the importance of collaboration and partnerships to achieve our water goals.”

On top of receiving CHF175,000 to invest in developing BactoSense and other core technologies, bNovate joined other aquapreneurs in the UpLink Innovation Network, thus connecting with investors, corporate partners, experts and other organisations. Luigino Grasso, the CTO of bNovate, met some of them in January in New York at the UN Water Conference 2023.


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