Nestlé Opens Research & Development Innovation Challenge in Nigeria

Nestlé’s has announced the launch of a Research and Development (R&D) Innovation Challenge in Lagos after it kicked off earlier in the week in Ghana.

The company said the launch was part of the company’s efforts to contribute to the local innovation ecosystem.

“It is expected that the challenge will help to 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 company said it will also open R & D innovation centres in Kenya, South Africa, Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal.

The aim is to partner with start-ups and universities to identify sustainable and scalable science and technology solutions that help to accelerate the innovation of products which meet local consumer needs.

Nestle said the R & D innovation challenge will focus on four areas: environmentally-friendly packaging solutions, sustainable cocoa plantlets, affordable nutrition and new routes to market.

Stefan Palzer, Nestlé Chief Technology Officer said there is a growing number of Africa-based entrepreneurs and local researchers with creative ideas to address issues facing their communities.

L-R: Franck-Philippe N’Dia, Technical Competence Unit Lead, Nestlé R&D Abidjan, Céline Worth, R&D Program Manager, Affordable Nutrition, Nestec Switzerland, Laissa Mouen, Co-Founder and CEO, Kinaya Ventures, Joëlle Abega-Oyouomi, Head of Nestlé R&D Abidjan and Honorine Koffi, Communications Manager, Nestlé R&D Abidjan at the launch of Nestlé R&D Innovation Challenge in Lagos on Wednesday, 29/05/2019

He said that to engage with local start-ups, Nestlé partnered with Kinaya Ventures as part of the Spring Fellowship Programme, which is designed to accelerate corporate start-up partnerships and catalyze digital entrepreneurship.

The statement noted that selected teams would enter an accelerator programme to help advance and potentially commercialise their ideas.

During the accelerator, the start-up and university teams will have access to Nestlé’s R & D expertise and infrastructure at the company’s R & D Centre in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, including shared labs, kitchens and pilot-testing equipment.

And at the end of the accelerator, teams will have the opportunity to pitch their proof of concept to Nestlé management.

Speaking on the challenge, Mr Mauricio Alarcon, the MD/CEO of Nestlé Nigeria 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.”

The R&D innovation challenge is part of Nestlé’s Global Youth Initiative which has an 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 economic development of Africa.

Nestlé has the world’s largest private food and nutrition research organisation, involving about 5,000 people in around 30 R&D centers worldwide, including the R&D Center in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, which opened in 2008.

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