Nestlé has kicked off a Research and Development (R&D) innovation challenge in Sub-Saharan Africa as part of the company’s efforts to contribute to the local innovation ecosystem.
The Innovation Challenge is in partnership with Kinaya Ventures, a Dakar / Abidjan based innovation and investment platform.
The challenge will help boost local entrepreneurship, as well as provide a platform for start-ups and universities to contribute to local sustainable growth by bringing breakthrough ideas to the market.
The R&D innovation challenge, which kicked off today in Ghana, will also take place in Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, and South Africa.
The goal is to work collaboratively with start-ups and universities to identify sustainable and scalable science and technology solutions that help to accelerate the innovation of products that meet local consumer needs.
The R&D innovation challenge calls for novel solutions across four areas: environmentally friendly packaging solutions, sustainable cocoa plantlets, affordable nutrition and new routes to market.
Stefan Palzer, Nestlé Chief Technology Officer said: “There is a growing number of Africa-based entrepreneurs and local researchers with creative ideas to address issues facing their communities. This R&D innovation challenge presents for our company an exceptional opportunity to leverage the outstanding creativity while helping to turn the most promising ideas into reality.”
To engage with local start-ups, Nestlé partnered with Kinaya Ventures as part of the Spring Fellowship Program, which is designed to accelerate corporate start-up partnerships and catalyze digital entrepreneurship. The challenge also calls upon universities in Central and West African countries to submit solutions.
The selected teams will enter an accelerator program to help advance and potentially commercialize their ideas.
Backing breakthrough ideas! Nestlé is boosting entrepreneurship by kicking-off our R&D innovation challenge in sub-Saharan Africa today. More here: https://t.co/G0fReDYCmk @kinaya_ventures #innovation #tech #research pic.twitter.com/E0GIC2JeNI
— Nestlé (@Nestle) May 27, 2019
During the accelerator, the start-up and university teams will have access to Nestlé’s R&D expertise and infrastructure at the R&D Centre in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, including shared labs, kitchens and pilot-testing equipment.
At the end of the accelerator, teams will have the opportunity to pitch their proof of concept to Nestlé management.
The R&D innovation challenge is part of Nestlé’s Global Youth Initiative, which has the ambition to help 10 million young people around the world have access to economic opportunities by 2030. This supports the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals on promoting inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all.
In 2018, Nestlé also partnered with Ashoka and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation to create the Social Investment Accelerator, which accelerates social entrepreneurship and boosts the economic development of Africa.