Nestle has launched a research and development innovation challenge in Sub-Saharan Africa as part of the company’s efforts to contribute to the local ecosystem.
It formed part of Nestle’s Global Youth Initiative which has an ambition to help 10 million young people around the world have access to economic opportunities by 2030 in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals on promoting inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all.
The challenge dubbed Spring Fellowship, being organised in partnership with Kinaya Ventures, Nestle said it would 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, which was launched in Ghana, would also take place in Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal and South Africa, was to work with start-ups and universities to identify sustainable and scalable science and technology solutions that helped to accelerate the innovation of products that meet local consumer needs.
The challenge is focused on four areas: environmentally friendly packaging solutions, sustainable cocoa plantlets, affordable nutrition and new routes to market.
Speaking at the launch in Accra yesterday, the Managing Director of Nestle Ghana, Philomena Tan 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.”
She encouraged start-up businesses and students of universities to participate in the innovation challenge.
The Managing Director said the selected teams would enter an accelerator programme to help advance potentially and commercialise their ideas.
She emphasised that during the accelerator, the start-up and university teams would have access to Nestle’s research and development expertise and infrastructure at the Research and Development Centre at Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, including shared labs, kitchen and pilot-testing equipment and subsequently pitched their proof of concept to the management of Nestle.
The Innovation and Renovation Champion and the Business Executive Officer, Culinary of Nestle Centre and West Africa, Dominique Allier, emphasised the importance of the competition and said, “We launched the Research and Development Innovation Challenge, which will span the six countries to further accelerate innovation which is core to bring live Nestlé’s purpose of “enhancing quality life and contributing to healthier life.”
By Kingsley Asare