Food and beverage giant Nestlé has launched the Youth Entrepreneurship Platform (YEP) to equip young people with the resources they need to test an idea or grow their business within the food industry.
The website allows young innovators over the age of 18 to access The Nestlé Entrepreneurship Academy, an interactive digital education platform helping them grow entrepreneurial skills and gain experience.
YEP also gives young innovators the chance to apply to one of the company’s 12 global accelerators through the Nestlé R+D Accelerator programme.
Through the accelerator they can develop their innovations and “go from idea to shop” in six months. Participants will also work with some of Nestlé’s R&D experts in food technology, nutrition, regulatory and food safety, design and packaging.
Each team which makes a successful application will receive support from innovation coaches and mentoring from the company’s senior management.
Ideas around regenerative agriculture, plant-based products, affordable nutrition, and packaging and circularity will be prioritised for YEP support, according to the company.
Successful applicants can also access several Nestlé’s market initiatives such as Ignite Ideas, a programme run by the Greek branch of the company in collaboration with the Athens Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, which supports young start-ups in developing their entrepreneurial ideas.
Other initiatives include Reto Culinario, an entrepreneurial contest and TV show displaying young culinary innovation in El Salvador, and CEO X Youth Connect, based in East and Southern Africa, which helps young people engage with CEOs of influential companies who are members of the Global Alliance for YOUth – a collective of 25 international companies working together to provide better working opportunities for young people.
Stefan Palzer, CTO at Nestlé, said: “At Nestlé we work with startups, entrepreneurs, innovators and researchers to drive innovation, bring good ideas to market fast and provide nutritious, sustainable and affordable products for a growing world population.
“Our new digital platform supports young people to bring great ideas to life across the food value chain, shaping the future of food!”
The YEP forms a new part of the Nestlé Needs YOUth global initiative, first launched in 2013 to help more young people become employable and succeed in entrepreneurship in food.
Access to the platform is free of charge, giving young people the chance to “transform the future of food”, says the company.
“Young entrepreneurs need guidance, support, and above all, opportunities and platforms where their voices can be heard and their ideas realised. This includes building their knowledge and skills, testing their ideas in real-life situations, getting feedback from their audiences and receiving support to take their concept to the next level” said Laurent Freixe, Nestlé’s CEO for Latin America and founder of the Nestlé Needs YOUth initiative.
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