Nestlé Announces the Winners of the Sub-Saharan Africa Innovation Challenge
Start-ups SHOPIT, EXPORTUNITY and WAKULIMA from South Africa, Benin and Tanzania respectively, emerged today the winners of the Nestlé Research and Development (R&D) Sub-Saharan innovation challenge. Selected from among a highly competitive group of 174 submissions received from 27 different countries across Africa, these start-ups projects were judged by a panel of Nestlé executives as the most promising.
In addition, the initiative MAFANI led by 2 students from University Gaston Berger of Saint Louis (Senegal) was selected as the winner of university category of the challenge and will receive CHF 10,000 in prize money.
In May 2019, Nestlé launched the R&D innovation challenge in Sub-Saharan Africa as part of its efforts to stimulate innovative solutions across four areas: affordable nutrition, environmentally friendly packing solutions, sustainable cocoa plantlets, and new routes to markets. It has set a particular focus on universities and start-ups in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal and South Africa.
The 3 start-ups winners have been awarded a 4-month residency in the new Nestlé R&D Accelerator for Sub-Saharan Africa, located at the Nestlé R&D Center in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.
During their stay, the 3 selected start-ups will have the opportunity to tap into Nestlé’ R&D’s expertise, as well as have access to state-of-the-art infrastructure such as hot desks, labs, kitchens and pilot testing equipment to further advance and potentially commercialize their ideas.
According to Joëlle Abega-Oyouomi, Head of the Nestlé R&D Center in Abidjan, the Sub-Saharan African innovation ecosystem is filled with creative energy and strong entrepreneurial minds. However, there is not enough infrastructure to test and validate new ideas therefore limiting access to a wider market’’. She highlighted that “Nestlé’s R&D science and technology expertise will contribute by providing a platform to deliver innovations adapted to African consumers’ needs and preferences.