Today, Nestlé kicked off a Research and Development (R&D) innovation
challenge in Sub-Saharan Africa as part of the company’s efforts to
contribute to the local innovation ecosystem. The challenge will help boost
local entrepreneurship, as well as provide a platform for start-ups and
universities to contribute to local sustainable growth by bringing
breakthrough ideas to the market.
The R&D innovation challenge which kicked off today in Ghana, will also
take place in Côte d'Ivoire, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal and South Africa. The
goal is 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.
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. 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
To engage with local start-ups, Nestlé partnered with Kinaya Ventures as
part of the Spring Fellowship Program, which is designed to accelerate
corporate start-up partnerships and catalyze digital entrepreneurship. The
challenge also calls upon universities in Central and West African
countries to submit solutions.
In a press conference in Accra to kick start the multi country roadshow,
Philomena Tan, Managing Director of Nestlé Ghana said, “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 environmental friendly packaging are attainable”
she encouraged start-up businesses and students of universities to
participate in the innovation challenge.
The selected teams will enter an accelerator program to help advance and
potentially commercialize their ideas. During the accelerator, the start-up
and university teams will 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.
The Innovation & Renovation Champion and the Business Executive
Officer, Culinary of Nestle Central and West Africa, Dominique Allier,
emphasized the importance of the innovation challenge, he said, “we
launched the Research & Development innovation challenge, which will
span the six 6 countries to further accelerate innovation which is core to
bring to live Nestlé’s purpose of “enhancing quality of life and
contributing to a healthier future”.
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
About Nestlé R&D
Nestlé has the world's largest private food and nutrition research
organization, 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. With nutrition at its core, Nestlé R&D is committed to
make the Nestlé portfolio even tastier and healthier, to fulfil its purpose
of enhancing quality of life of people and contributing to a healthier
future. In 2018, Nestlé invested about CHF 1.7 billion in R&D.
For more information see
Launch of Nestlé R&D Accelerator to boost innovation and
Nestlé creates research institute for packaging to accelerate