Nurturing small startups with big ideas: PepsiCo launches MENA edition of Greenhouse Accelerator

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

PepsiCo is looking for standout sustainability design innovators in the Middle East and Africa region. Pic: GettyImages/Dilok Klaisataporn
PepsiCo is looking for standout sustainability design innovators in the Middle East and Africa region. Pic: GettyImages/Dilok Klaisataporn

Related tags: Pepsico, Greenhouse Accelerator Programme, MENA, Sustainability, Circular economy, Sustainable food systems, Uae, UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment

PepsiCo has expanded its green tech accelerator programme in partnership with the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) to reach sustainable design innovators across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

PepsiCo’s Greenhouse Accelerator was launched in Europe in 2017, with the North American version following in 2019.

The mentor-led programme is focused on nurturing the growth of entrepreneurs and startups innovating in the areas of environmentally sustainable packaging alternatives, packaging reduction and recycling options, along with sustainable recycling behaviour modification.

The theme for the 2021-2022 MENA edition​ is sustainability and circular economy solutions, followed by other priorities in later programmes to achieve a wholly sustainable food system.

As a global multinational, PepsiCo actively leads effort to drive a circular economy approach to address the issue of plastic waste through aggressive collection and recycling targets across key markets, active stakeholder engagement, consumer awareness programmes, and investment in more environmentally friendly packaging such as the recently launched Sunbites compostable packaging.

Calling for entries

The global snack giant will enlist 10 forward-thinkers who have a similar mission to be stewards of environmental sustainability for both the MENA region and the planet.

Startups and established businesses with a product, service or system in early growth stages that meet the specified criteria are invited to apply online before the deadline of 10 January 2022.

The successful applicants chosen for the six-month programme will be challenged to demonstrate collaboration and measurable progress, based on a mutually developed action plan. All will receive a $20,000 cash grant, one-on-one mentorship with PepsiCo’s experts, market activation advice and business opportunities.

For its part, the MOCCAE will use its technical and strategic reach to extend the scope of the programme to open it to even more applicants.

“Given the wide-ranging action needed to fight climate change and expand friendly environmental practices across the board, we are honoured to support the PepsiCo Greenhouse Accelerator: MENA Sustainability Edition as a partner,”​ said HE Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment.

At the end of the programme, one winner will be selected and awarded an additional $100,000 in funding to continue its expansion, and an opportunity to partner with PepsiCo to expedite growth.

The Greenhouse Accelerator is just one of the initiatives under the PepsiCo Positive (pep+), the company’s strategic end-to-end transformation framework.

“We are proud to bring this collaborative programme to the MENA region in partnership with the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment,”​ said Eugene Willemsen, CEO, Africa, Middle East and South Asia, PepsiCo.

“At PepsiCo, we believe great solutions can be built and launched through open innovation and collaboration with changemakers and we look forward to supporting, mentoring and connecting small startups that have big ideas, to the resources they need to help create a more sustainable tomorrow.

“As the region’s largest food and beverage company we have a critical role to play to advance this agenda and bring our pep+ strategy to life in key MENA countries.

“I look forward to engaging with the startups and our stakeholders to help build a circular and inclusive value chain and inspire people to make choices that create more smiles for them and the planet.”