Following the success of its inaugural MENA edition, PepsiCo has announced the second regional edition of its Greenhouse Accelerator Program. The theme for the upcoming round is sustainable agricultural practices, which is closely aligned with PepsiCo’s end-to-end transformation strategy, pep+ (PepsiCo Positive), and its underlying ambitions for Positive Agriculture as well as aiding in the region’s relief from food insecurity. Applications are now open to startups and entrepreneurs across the MENA region.
The initiative is once again in partnership with the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) and Food Tech Valley. As part of the program with PepsiCo, the entities will offer technical and strategic mentorship to applicants participating in the program, as well as access to local and regional knowledge networks.
“By supporting the PepsiCo Greenhouse Accelerator Program: MENA Sustainability Edition, we are not only continuing the momentum from last year and expanding innovation in agriculture but also building on the country’s wider commitment to tackling climate change with clear vision and action. With the UAE preparing to host COP28 and the announcement of 2023 as the Year of Sustainability, there will be an enormous spotlight on innovators who can develop solutions to optimize the valuable natural resources needed in agriculture. From saving water and reducing electricity to rethinking processes and strategies, sustainable agriculture is the key to ensuring food security for everyone, while being considerate of our shared environment. Our best wishes accompany the start-ups who are dreaming big and putting their solutions on the map, where it can grow into opportunities that can sustain long-term economic and environmental prosperity,” said HE Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment.
“Establishing food security is a crucial part of the quest for a more sustainable future, especially in the MENA region. By engaging the latest technologies and inspiring start-ups who are at the forefront of innovation, we can help transform agriculture so that it can deliver sustainable local production and diversified imports that will enhance the self-sufficiency of countries and contribute to a sustainable global food supply chain. We’re excited to see agriculture at the heart of this year’s PepsiCo Greenhouse Accelerator Program: MENA Sustainability Edition and we’re delighted to support this fantastic initiative that also feeds into our mission to build a smarter food system together,” said Ahmed AlShaibani, Project Lead for Food Tech Valley.
Through pep+, the company is working to source crops and ingredients in ways that restore the soil and strengthen farming communities, and the Greenhouse Accelerator Program is intended to unlock innovative and disruptive agricultural solutions in partnership with purpose-driven start-ups from the region.
“We understand the crucial role of innovation and sustainability in driving forward our pep+ strategy. After seeing first-hand the positive impact felt by innovators during the first regional round of the Greenhouse Accelerator Program, we are proud to build on this momentum with a second edition – expanding the program to Egypt and playing a meaningful part in helping entrepreneurs tackle sustainability challenges. With the region heavily reliant on imports, it’s essential that we support the passionate changemakers working to make a significant impact through positive agricultural practices. The private sector has an important role to play in addressing the major challenges facing the MENA region, such as food security, arid climate, scarce arable land, and limited water supply, and our goal is to lead by example,” said Aamer Sheikh, CEO – Middle East, PepsiCo.
Established and revenue-generating start-ups that are developing business models related to processes, products, and/or technologies and support the management of direct farming operations to reduce the carbon footprint in the agricultural space and enhance food security in the region are invited to apply via the Greenhouse Accelerator Program website before the deadline of 10th April 2023.
The participants that are chosen for the six-month program, will be challenged to demonstrate collaboration and measurable progress, based on a mutually developed action plan. They will receive support in the form of a $20,000 cash grant, one-on-one mentorship via access to experts from PepsiCo and partners, market activation and access to networks, and business opportunities. When the program ends, one winning company will be selected and awarded an additional $100,000 in funding to continue its expansion, and a potential opportunity to extend its partnership with PepsiCo to further expedite its growth.
The first MENA edition’s theme was sustainable packaging and recycling, and the winner was UAE-based Nadeera, a social enterprise that leverages technology to promote waste sorting at source. Through its ‘Yalla Return’ product, Nadeera drives a trash-for-cash model, providing cash rewards based on the quantity of recyclables consumers turn in.