Nestlé’s Research and Development (R&D) innovation challenge has been launched in Lagos, aimed at boosting local entrepreneurship.
The challenge, which kicked off recently in Ghana, was part of the company’s efforts to contribute to the local innovation ecosystem. It was expected that the challenge would help boost local entrepreneurship, as well as provide a platform for start-ups, researchers and developers to contribute to local sustainable growth by bringing breakthrough ideas to the market.
The innovation challenge aims to bring partners together 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 would also take place in Kenya, South Africa, Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal.
The goal was 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.
Nestlé’s Chief Technology Officer, Stefan Palzer 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 was designed to accelerate corporate start-up partnerships and catalyse digital entrepreneurship. The challenge also calls upon universities in Central and West African countries to submit solutions.
The selected teams would enter an accelerator program to help advance and potentially commercialise their ideas.
During the accelerator, the start-up and university teams would 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.
Speaking on the challenge, the MD/CEO of Nestlé Nigeria, Mr. Mauricio Alarcon said, “Today, consumer needs and challenges are rapidly evolving. Individuals and families expect tasty nutritious food choices that are at the same time affordable and accessible.
“Innovation has a critical role to play in providing solutions to these needs and challenges. It is also a key driver of economic growth. We are therefore happy to launch the R&D challenge today to provide a platform for collaborating with local start-ups, academia and key external partners.”