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Nestlé launches innovation platform for start-ups

Nestlé has launched an innovation platform for start-ups and innovators across the East and Southern Africa Region (ESAR) who want to work with the food manufacturing industry.

Created in partnership with COOi Studios, the Nestlé Hatcher is described as “a ground-breaking, open-innovation platform”.

“Innovation, business adaptability and strategic partnerships remain some of the bedrocks of our business, particularly during today’s challenging business environment,” says Bruno Olierhoek, chairman and managing director of Nestlé ESAR. “The Nestlé Hatcher innovation programme is part of our research and development efforts to accelerate the innovation of products and services that meet local consumer needs whilst collaborating with various stakeholders.

“Today’s business challenges cannot be resolved by a single organisation but by bringing different yet complementary skills sets. Our fundamental goal with Nestlé Hatcher is to work collaboratively with start-ups to identify sustainable and scalable solutions that help to accelerate the innovation of products and services in order to meet local consumer needs.”

João Barreto, innovation project lead for Nestlé ESAR, said that applicants should visit the Nestlé Hatcher website, at, where different business challenges were being published, starting yesterday (10 March).

“These business challenges will include detailed briefs on what type of solution we are looking for, as well as any pertinent application criteria. If you identify a challenge you would like to apply for, simply click the Apply Now button on the website and fill out the required details through our partner website, YouNoodle, to enter the challenge.”

The Nestlé Hatcher process works across these four steps:

  • Search – A challenge will be posted on the Nestlé Hatcher platform with a detailed brief of and applications for proposals will be opened.
  • Select – After applications close, all applications will be reviewed and rounds of interviews will be conducted to identify and select the best-fit proposal based on the challenge’s criteria. The selected start-up will formalise a partnership to pilot the solution with Nestlé.
  • Incubate – The finalist will proceed to pilot their proposed solution, with assistance from Nestlé along the way, which includes mentorship, business, technology support and industry expertise.
  • Scale – Once the project has successfully passed pilot, Nestlé will decide if they will scale the startup solution or not. If they are to scale, start-up will commence to being a vendor to Nestlé.

The first challenge, Project Uno, focusing on the beverages business, was announced yesterday; inviting innovators and start-up businesses to answer to the challenge therefore presenting them with an opportunity of becoming a Nestlé supplier.

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