Al Wasl Plaza will host the World Expo in Dubai.

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The World in Dubai

World expos have long been a place where innovative ideas make their grand debuts. Ground-breaking inventions such as color television, the telephone and the ice cream cone were first presented at world fairs. Structures such as the Eiffel Tower and the ferris wheel, too, were unveiled at these events.

In three months, Dubai will host the first world expo in the Middle East. The expo was planned for last year, but was pushed to this year due to the pandemic. 

These events tend to be magical — when else does most of the world collaborate and  interesting new innovations are unveiled? But it feels especially uncommon after months of staying away from others against the backdrop of a COVID- struck world.

At the center of the expo is its Al Wasl Plaza, a stunning glass-patterned dome. More than 190 countries are attending, and each will receive its own pavilion, according to the briefing. The six month event aims to attract 25 million visits. 

Over the 182 days of the expo, Dubai will host some of the top innovators across the world; the world chess championship; conversations about sustainability and public policy; celebrations for holidays from Dia Des Las Muertos to Diwali and Christmas; live musical and dance performances; chefs to offer dishes from around the world; and a space exploration week, where it plans to display space rocks from the Apollo 12 mission, according to the briefing.

The Expo is taking precautions to keep visitors safe during the events. There will be sanitation stations across the groups and necessary face masks and social distancing will be implemented, according to the briefing. The expo is also offering free COVID-19 vaccinations to all of its workforce and official participants. It’s also offering the events virtually.

Tickets go on sale July 18 on the expo’s website and through over 2,500 other authorized sellers. One day passes are $26, Tickets for 30 days are $53, and unlimited passes are $135. Anyone under the age of 18 or students who hold an ID from any academic institution receive free entry.

Heba Ali Steps Into Prominent Role in Egypt Ecosystem

Ali, an investor, economist, and business strategist based in Egypt, is the new managing director of Endeavor Egypt, a Cairo-based group working to spur innovation in the area, according to a Facebook announcement. She has 14 years of experience leadership leading ecosystems in emerging markets, according to the announcement. She’s returning to the organization — she was part of the Entrepreneur Selection & Growth team from 2010-2012.

Egypt’s startup scene has been on the rise, with a bulk of the money flowing into fintech. “The Egyptian market is an incredible source of inspiration and the growth it has witnessed over the past 5 years is nothing short of remarkable,” Ali writes in a Facebook post. 

Ali’s position is significant as the scene is dominated mostly by men. 

READ MORE: Egypt’s Startups on the Rise

More Names to Know

Suzanne Bergmeister is the new director of the James Madison University Gilliam Center for Entrepreneurship, August Free Press reports. She comes from the University of Louisville, where she was an entrepreneur-in-residence for the last 15 years at the university’s Forcht Center for Entrepreneurship, according to the announcement. There, she mentored and taught courses.

Sheri Marnell recently stepped into the role of director at the St. Croix Valley Business Innovation Center, a nonprofit incubator in Wisconsin, The Hudson Star Observer reports. Marnell joined the incubator in February to lead it on an interim basis. She previously worked in corporate at Target and was a program director at the University of Wisconsin- Stout.


$10 Million for Tufts University Entrepreneurship

Jack Derby, the former director of the Tufts Entrepreneurship Center and professor, and his wife Jan, have donated $10 million to the center, according to a Tufts University announcement. A majority of the funds will go toward academic scholarships — $9 million — and the remaining $1 million will fund a new building for the center, according to the announcement. The Derby Entrepreneurship Center is planned to open in January 2022.

NJ Program Seeks to Provide Scholarships For Cannabis License Applicants

Jersey City, New Jersey-based Pangaea Health and Wellness is granted $100,000 to Cognitive Harmony Technologies Accelerator, an accelerator program by cannabis business veterans, in order to put five social equity cannabis entrepreneurs seeking a cannabis license through its program, according to a NJ Cannabis Insider announcement. The winners will be selected by the accelerator, NJ Cannabis Insider and NJ State Veterans Chamber of Commerce, according to the announcement on The goal is for applicants who have been negatively affected by the War-on-Drugs to go through the mentorship program and have a better shot at a license, according to the announcement. Pangaea Health is also providing 20,000 square feet to host the incubator. Applications are due July 19.

A New Type of Fund For Social Entrepreneurs

The University of Maryland, Baltimore recently funded two students under its pilot Student Social Venture Fund, a program that aims to fund graduate students at the school with social impact ventures, according to a article. The University is hoping to set a national precedent, according to the article: The goal is to create what it calls a “capital stack,” which provides social entrepreneurs with small funding rounds that won’t bog them down with returning capital to investors. The goal is that this method will allow entrepreneurs to remain mission-focused, according to the article. 

The two students who received the funding of $2,500 each are Alishia Parkhill, founder of  Upholdu, which provides advocacy and coaching for women diagnosed with serious chronic illnesses and Falilu “O.P.” Agbaje, the founder of Aolat Treatment Place, a psychiatric rehabilitation program and outpatient mental health center, according to the article.

SPRINT Grant To Expand University of Delaware Program

The University of Delaware has received $750,000 from the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s Scaling Pandemic Resilience Through Innovation and Technology Challenge, which will expand its Proof-of-Concept program, according to a university announcement. The program is responsible for almost half the deep tech companies active in Delaware’s ecosystem, according to the announcement. The program provides gap funding and training during researchers initial technology. It’s been reserved for the campus, but this funding will allow the university to open the program to community-based entreprenuers, according to the announcement. 

Open Applications

$40k Pitch Competition for Black and LatinX-led Tech Startups

New York-based Black Venture Capital Consortium has opened applications for its Spring Pitch Competition, according to its website. It’s seeking tech startups with at least one founder who is Black or Latinx. The winner will receive a $40,000 cash equity infusion. That startup will be selected by a group of 31 summer interns, who BVCC has chosen, trained and placed in venture capital firms across the country. The competition takes place on August 7. Applications are due July 10.

Open Research Position At MIT

MIT’s Legatum Center is looking for a new director of research, according to a job listing. Applicants must have a master’s degree, experience in research, publications of relevance, and experience working in higher education. The listing notes applicants with a PhD are preferred. The position is for two years, with the possibility of renewal at the end. 

Mentorship Program For Texas Veterans 

Registration for The University of Texas A&M Reynolds and Reynolds Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans is open, according to its website. The program offers entrepreneurship and small business management mentorship to soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines who are disabled as a result of their service, post- 9/11. It was named one of the best entrepreneurship programs in the country from Inc. in 2011. This year’s bootcamp runs from July 10 until July 17, and participants can select times that work best for them.

This story and others on New Builders Dispatch are made possible by a sponsorship from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a private, nonpartisan foundation that provides access to opportunities that help people achieve financial stability, upward mobility, and economic prosperity – regardless of race, gender, or geography. The Kansas City, Mo.-based foundation uses its grantmaking, research, programs, and initiatives to support the start and growth of new businesses, a more prepared workforce, and stronger communities. For more information, visit and connect with and