PepsiCo has announced the launch of its first MENA edition of the Greenhouse Accelerator program, active globally since 2017. The six-month initiative seeks to enhance innovation and sustainability through collaboration with purpose-driven brands from the MENA start-up ecosystem that share PepsiCo’s vision for a more sustainable food system.
The program was launched in partnership with the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment. Applicants from across the MENA region are welcome to participate.
The Greenhouse Accelerator is another example of how PepsiCo is creating growth and shared value by operating within planetary boundaries and inspiring positive change for the planet and people – efforts it recently formalized as part of PepsiCo Positive (pep+), the company’s strategic end-to-end transformation framework.
“We are excited to bring this collaborative program to the MENA region and actively engage startups who are keen to make a difference. At PepsiCo, we believe great solutions can be built and launched through open innovation and collaboration with changemakers of the future and we look forward to supporting, mentoring, and connecting small startups that have big ideas, to the resources they need to help create a more sustainable tomorrow. As the region’s largest food and beverage company we have a critical role to play to advance this agenda and bring our pep+ strategy to life in key MENA countries. I look forward to engaging with the startups and our stakeholders to help build a circular and inclusive value chain and inspire people to make choices that create more smiles for them and the planet,” said Eugene Willemsen, CEO, Africa, Middle East and South Asia, PepsiCo.
The theme for the upcoming ‘2021- 2022 PepsiCo Greenhouse Accelerator: MENA Sustainability Edition’ will be sustainable packaging and circular economy solutions, followed by other priorities in later programs, to help achieve a sustainable food system.PepsiCo will choose and support 10 companies from the MENA region that are working on accelerating environmental sustainability in the food and beverage industry through disruptive technologies focused on nurturing innovation in the areas of environmentally sustainable packaging alternatives, packaging reduction and recycling options, and sustainable recycling behavior modification to help accelerate growth for companies with a mission to be stewards of environmental sustainability for our region and the planet.
Small startups and businesses with a product, service or system in early growth stages, meeting any of the edition’s specified themes, can apply online for the program before the deadline of January 10, 2022.
Those chosen for the six-month program, will be challenged to demonstrate collaboration and measurable progress, based on a mutually developed action plan. Participants will receive support in the form of a USD 20,000 cash grant, one-on-one mentorship via access to PepsiCo’s experts, market activation advice, and business opportunities. At the end of the program, one winning company will be selected and awarded an additional $100,000 in funding to continue its expansion, and an opportunity to continue partnering with PepsiCo to further expedite its growth.
The PepsiCo Greenhouse Accelerator is a global, mentor-led accelerator program to help food & beverage entrepreneurs grow through collaboration and by nurturing innovation. The program was launched in Europe in 2017 and North America in 2019 and has already delivered five successful editions, supporting several start-ups around the globe.
Several local governments across the region including UAE, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Jordan, and Egypt are doubling down on efforts to create a supportive ecosystem for start-ups and entrepreneurs to thrive. According to a report by MAGNiTT, startups in the MENA region have attracted more than $1.2 billion in funding in the first half of 2021, a 64% year-on-year growth and a 12% increase from $1 billion raised in all of 2020 – a trend that indicates the potential of start-ups to drive wide-ranging economic growth.
Appetite for progress is evident given initiatives like the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Circular Carbon Economy Program (CCEP), and the UAE’s Circular Economy Policy 2021-2030. In the MENA region, PepsiCo leads the effort to drive a circular economy approach to address the issue of plastic waste through aggressive collection and recycling targets across key markets, active stakeholder engagement, consumer awareness programs, and investment in more environment friendly packaging such as the recently launched Aquafina cans and Sunbites compostable packaging.