Nestlé launches Spring Fellowship challenge in Sub-Saharan Africa

Business News of Tuesday, 28 May 2019


Some officials of Nestlé

A Research and Development (R&D) programme dedicated to identifying sustainable and scalable science and technology solutions to help accelerate the innovation of products that meet local consumer needs was on Monday launched in Accra.

The four months R&D innovation challenge, dubbed the Spring Fellowship, is requesting for novel solutions across four areas: environmentally friendly packaging solutions, sustainable cocoa plantlets, affordable nutrition and new routes to market.

Nestlé is partnering with Kinaya Ventures to champion and accelerate corporate start-up partnerships and catalyze digital entrepreneurship across Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal and South Africa.

At a press conference in Accra to kick-start the multi-country road-show, Madam Philomena Tan, the Managing Director of Nestlé Ghana said, the R&D innovation challenge was part of Nestlé’s Global Youth Initiative, which, seeks to help 10 million young people around the world to have access to economic opportunities by 2030.

“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 said.

Madam Tan explained that the selected teams would enter an accelerator programme to help advance and potentially commercialize their ideas.

During the accelerator, she stated that, 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.

Madam Tan said at the end of the accelerator, the teams would have the opportunity to pitch their proof of concept to Nestlé management and urged startup businesses and students of universities to participate in the innovation challenge.

Mr Dominique Allier, the Innovation & Renovation Champion and the Business Executive Officer, Culinary of Nestle Central and West Africa said the R&D presents the company with an opportunity to leverage the outstanding creativity while helping to turn the most promising ideas into reality.

“We launched the Research & Development innovation challenge, which will span the six countries to further accelerate innovation, which is core to bring to about Nestlé’s purpose of “enhancing quality of life and contributing to a healthier future”, he said.

On her part, Madam Laïssa Mouen, the Co-Founder of Kinaya Ventures said the year 2018 was a monumental year for African startups, with $1.163 billion raised in equity funding, a 108 per cent year on year growth.

She said despite their capacity to develop disruptive solutions, products and services, 80 per cent of African startups fail to succeed in their first year of existence.

Madam Mouen stated that the top three reasons that impeded the progress of these start-ups were the inadequacy between their solutions and prospective clients’ needs; the lack of financing and the absence of depth of market.

She explained that Spring Fellowship was designed for a broad spectrum of entrepreneurs, specialised in one of the following verticals: Agtech, Foodtech, AdTech, MarTech, FashionTech, BeautyTech and RetailTech.

Madam Mouen urged promising Africa-based startup with at least a Minimum Viable Product (MVP), and minimum traction to apply at

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