Nestlé has launched a new programme in sub-Saharan Africa to help start-ups and universities bring breakthrough ideas to market.
Called the research and development innovation challenge, the goal is to identify sustainable and scalable solutions that help to accelerate the innovation of products that meet local consumer needs.
The challenge calls for solutions across four areas: environmentally friendly packaging, sustainable cocoa plantlets, affordable nutrition and new routes to market.
The programme will take place in six countries: Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal and South Africa.
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 has partnered with Kinaya Ventures as part of the Spring Fellowship Program, which is designed to accelerate corporate start-up partnerships.
In a press conference in Accra, Ghana, to kick start the multi-country roadshow, Philomena Tan, managing director of Nestlé Ghana, said: “With multi-stakeholder collaborations through innovation, scientific research and development backed by the right resources and the needed engagement, local consumer needs including affordable nutrition, sustainable agricultural produce and environmentally friendly packaging are attainable.”
Selected teams will enter an accelerator to help advance and potentially commercialise their ideas. During the programme, the start-up and university teams will have access to Nestlé’s R&D expertise and infrastructure at its centre in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, including shared labs, kitchens and pilot-testing equipment. At the end of the scheme, teams will have the opportunity to pitch their proof of concept to Nestlé management.
Last month, Nestlé announced the launch of its research and development accelerator programme, which is based in Lausanne, Switzerland.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019
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