Nestlé has invited Kenyan innovators and entrepreneurs to take part in its ongoing 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.
Other countries participating in the Nestlé R&D innovation challenge include Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, 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.
Speaking during a meetup with local developers and entrepreneurs (held at the Nairobi Garage in Kilimani), Nestlé East Africa Cluster, Managing Director, Mr. Njeru Ng’entu said Kenya is the famed world over for its innovative spirit and called on local entrepreneurs to live up to the reputation by developing innovative and sustainable solutions.
“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 (based at the Nairobi Garage) as part of the Spring Fellowship Program, which is designed to accelerate corporate start-up partnerships and catalyze digital entrepreneurship. Kenyan innovators will compete with others from 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. 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.