Ten MENA startups announced for PepsiCo’s Greenhouse Accelerator
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Ten MENA startups announced for PepsiCo’s Greenhouse Accelerator

Ten MENA startups announced for PepsiCo’s Greenhouse Accelerator

The startups will receive an initial grant of $20,000 and mentorship from PepsiCo and Food Tech Valley experts

Gulf Business

PepsiCo has selected 10 companies for the first MENA edition of its Greenhouse Accelerator programme, following a rigorous multi-stage judging process. The initiative was launched in partnership with the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment and formalised following the signing of an MoU between the ministry, Food Tech Valley and PepsiCo.

PepsiCo also became the first multinational company to partner with Food Tech Valley – an initiative launched by the UAE Government to serve as a hub for future clean tech-based food and agricultural products.

A specially curated selection committee comprising PepsiCo executives and members from the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment and Food Tech Valley ranked the startups across key criteria, including sustainability alignment to PepsiCo Positive (pep+), strategic synergy with PepsiCo, scalability, relevance to the MENA and breakthrough potential.

Judges in this edition sought startups that are accelerating environmental sustainability in the food and beverage industry through disruptive technologies by way of sustainable packaging alternatives, reduced packaging, recycling processes, and sustainable recycling behavior modification. The programme aims to push for solutions and innovations in the packaging space that will help PepsiCo and other industries accelerate change towards a more sustainable food system.

The MENA edition of the programme launched last year and received nearly 70 applications from aspiring startups in the region. The six-month initiative will focus on an initial grant to support operations and help launch or scale up their innovation. In addition, it seeks to enhance innovation in the sustainability space through collaborations with purpose-driven brands from the MENA startup ecosystem that share a common vision for a more sustainable food system.

Read: PepsiCo launches MENA edition of Greenhouse Accelerator programme

The 10 selected companies will each receive an initial grant of USD 20,000 to support their business, along with guided mentorship from PepsiCo and Food Tech Valley experts. The experts will offer guidance on research and development, business models, product development, regulatory practices and market activation. Their expertise can also help businesses overcome challenges in the supply chain, marketing, distribution, manufacturing, packaging, label claims, fundraising and other elements of their operations.

At the end of the programme, the final winner will receive a $100,000 grant from PepsiCo and gain access to a growing network of experts and investors, logistics facilities, and have the opportunity for growth through capacity building. The selected startups will also have the opportunity to showcase their innovations to reputable technology industry professionals at the Step Conference, a major regional event that PepsiCo is partnering with and sponsoring this year.

“In the face of rising global challenges, innovative startups have proven to be rich sources of groundbreaking solutions to pressing economic and environmental sustainability issues. The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment is delighted to be a main partner of the Greenhouse Accelerator programme that seeks to harness the power of startups to make the food and beverage sector more sustainable. The initiative aligns with the UAE’s drive to shift towards a circular economy and is another example of how PepsiCo and the Food Tech Valley are inspiring positive change for the good of people and the planet,” said  Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment.

Aamer Sheikh, CEO, Middle East – PepsiCo, said the programme was an example of how the company “is building a positive value chain and prioritising circularity and inclusivity through pep+, our strategic end-to-end transformation framework”.

He added: “We have received applications from an outstanding group of startups that are innovating in the field of sustainable packaging, and over the next six months, look forward to supporting them and contributing to helping the region as it doubles down on unleashing the potential of disruptors.”

 “The startup ecosystem in the MENA has been on a growth trajectory, witnessing the introduction of a multitude of innovative businesses that have pushed the envelope in their respective fields. As such, it gives great pleasure to be signing this MoU in support of the PepsiCo Greenhouse Accelerator programme and regional innovators. Such initiatives are beneficial for our country and our government’s economic diversification plans as it gives pioneering individuals and start-ups the opportunity to showcase their solutions for a sustainable future. We will spare no effort in extending our full support to the winners and look forward to the sustainable ideas of the future,” said Hesham Al Qassim, CEO of wasl Asset Management Group, the developer of Food Tech Valley.

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