Today, Nestlé 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 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 started 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 R&D innovation challenge is part of Nestlé’s Global Youth Initiative, which has an ambition to help 10 million young people around the world have access to economic opportunities by 2030.