With 54% of the 61 companies featured in the list from outside the US, the World Economic Forum's Technology Pioneers 2018 represented its most geographically diverse cohort to date. Every continent, barring Antarctica, was represented on the list, while its diversity stretched beyond geography, with 25% of the selected enterprises being female-led, marking 2018 as the index’s best year so far for gender equality.
The group represented businesses working in some of the most forward-thinking technological sectors in our world today and included specialists in artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, blockchain, autonomous vehicles, vertical farming and robotics.
The technology pioneers were chosen by a selection committee comprising more than 60 academics, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and corporate executives. The criteria included innovation, potential impact, and leadership. Technology Pioneers alumni include Airbnb, Google and Kickstarter.
“Innovation comes from all corners of the earth and from a very diverse group of entrepreneurs, and with this selection we recognize that,” said Cheryl Martin, head of the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and member of the managing board at the World Economic Forum. “The next step is to help these pioneers bring their solutions to complex world-critical problems to global markets and to take action for the public good.”
The list demonstrates a promising future for technology-driven innovation outside of the current US-driven, male-led status quo.