Nestlé has launched an R&D innovation challenge in Sub-Saharan Africa as part of the its efforts to contribute to the local innovation ecosystem. The challenge will help boost local entrepreneurship, as well as provide a platform for startups and universities to contribute to local sustainable growth by bringing breakthrough ideas to the market.
The R&D innovation challenge, which started in Ghana, will also take place in Côte d'Ivoire, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, and South Africa. The goal is to work collaboratively with startups 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.
“There is a growing number of Africa-based entrepreneurs and local researchers with creative ideas to address issues facing their communities,” said Stefan Palzer, Nestlé chief technology officer. “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 startups, Nestlé partnered with Kinaya Ventures as part of the Spring Fellowship Program, which is designed to accelerate corporate startup partnerships and catalyze digital entrepreneurship. The challenge also calls upon universities in Central and West African countries to submit solutions.