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Start-ups SHOPIT, EXPORTUNITY and WAKULIMA from South Africa, Benin and Tanzania respectively, Wednesday emerged three 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 and Nigeria in particular, 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.
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.
Head of the Nestlé R&D Center in Abidjan, Joëlle Abega-Oyouomi, said “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.”
Business Hilights recalls that 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.
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