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The Next Economy
Deloitte, Salesforce, World Economic Forum Launch Yes San Francisco, Urban Sustainability Challenge

The first location-based UpLink Challenge seeks solutions that will further position San Francisco as a model for resilient and inclusive cities of the future.

Deloitte, Salesforce and World Economic Forum (WEF) have launched the Yes San Francisco (Yes SF), Urban Sustainability Challenge — the first location-based edition of WEF’s UpLink Challenge created in direct response to the United NationsSustainable Development Goal 11 of making cities more inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. The Challenge is a unique call to action for entrepreneurs to submit sustainable solutions that contribute to the city’s needs and to have the opportunity to receive funding and support.

Yes SF engages local organizations — including those with significant presence in the city and those who are interested in establishing some part of their operations in the city in the future — to bring specialized expertise to help create equal access to opportunity and a more sustainable future. Collaborators in this effort include Citi — which will leverage the Citi Impact Fund to help UpLink engage a network of investors who can provide strategic guidance and the potential for funding to support the growth and scale of these ventures — and the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce Foundation, which will bring an ecosystem of local stakeholders to advocate and support the progress of the Challenge. The mission of the Challenge is aligned with Deloitte’s social impact strategy, and the company’s ongoing efforts to help drive equity in places with the greatest need.

“The Challenge provides an opportunity to help support the San Francisco community in addressing some of its biggest challenges,” said Kwasi Mitchell, chief purpose and DEI officer at Deloitte. “This type of effort is foundational to our organization’s purpose and commitment to social impact in the communities where we live and work. We hope it will help catalyze systemic change by creating a more sustainable and equitable future for this city.”

Submissions to support sustainable urban transformation in downtown San Francisco will be accepted through the UpLink platform via from June 9 to July 14, 2023. Proposals must demonstrate potential to positively impact the community through sustainable solutions that revitalize spaces across the city. Challenge innovations may include solutions such as:

  • Redesigned indoor and outdoor spaces that bring residents, visitors and new businesses to the area while utilizing sustainable materials that minimize the city’s carbon footprint.

  • Reimagined ideas for urban food production to provide healthy, reliable nutrition to the community.

  • Innovative approaches to water conservation and reuse that stimulate equitable job creation.

“At Salesforce, we believe that collective action is essential to address the complex challenges facing our communities,” said Suzanne DiBianca, EVP and chief impact officer at Salesforce. “That’s why we’re proud to support the Yes San Francisco, Urban Sustainability Challenge — which will harness new innovations from ecopreneurs. By working together, we can bring the power of technology to create a more equitable, sustainable and vibrant San Francisco for all.”

San Francisco is known globally as a birthplace of innovation; but like many cities, it was hit hard by the pandemic and is still recovering economically. The Yes SF Challenge will bring together entrepreneurs, nonprofits and public-sector stakeholders, communities and for-profit companies to spark change and help revitalize a more sustainable San Francisco. The focus on urban transformation aims to further position San Francisco as a leading city where people can sustainably live and work, becoming a model for resilient and inclusive cities of the future.

WEF launched the UpLink open innovation platform at Davos in 2020, with the assistance of Salesforce and Deloitte, to bring together entrepreneurs and experts to source ideas and innovations in support of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The platform facilitates connections for entrepreneurs to grow and scale their businesses with the aim of creating a world where anyone with impactful ideas is empowered to address the world’s most pressing challenges. UpLink has now run more than 43 challenges and identified over 350 entrepreneurs with innovative solutions across critical SDG areas including health, food, freshwater, ocean, plastics, education, climate and more. Entrepreneurs selected for the Yes SF, Urban Sustainability Challenge will be announced in September.

“UpLink helps scale world-class innovations that are crucial to achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals,” said Olivier Schwab, managing director at the World Economic Forum. “The Yes SF, Urban Sustainability Challenge offers a unique opportunity to connect local solutions to the resources, expertise and funding they need to scale and to create transformational change for the city and its inhabitants.”