As part of its Global Youth Initiative, Nestlé launched the Nestlé Youth Entrepreneurship Platform (YEP), a new digital platform for young innovators and entrepreneurs who want to learn new knowledge and skills, test an idea or grow their businesses, in areas ranging from food science and technology to the development of products and services - including regenerative agriculture and sustainable packaging.
YEP brings together Nestlé's existing innovation initiatives and programs. The platform gives young innovators access to The Nestlé Entrepreneurship Academy, as well as dedicated programs to grow knowledge, learn new skills, and gain experience. It also offers customized content and resources from specific geographies.
"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," said Nestlé CTO Stefan Palzer. "Our new digital platform supports young people to bring great ideas to life across the food value chain, shaping the future of food."
Key programs available on Nestlé's Youth Entrepreneurship Platform include:
Nestlé R+D Accelerator: entrepreneurs can apply for challenges at one of Nestlé's 12 Accelerators across the world, to focus on developing disruptive food and beverage innovations and bringing them to market in six months. Participants can work together with Nestlé's R&D experts from around the world, such as food technologists, nutritionists, regulatory and food safety experts, designers, and packaging experts. Each team also receives hands-on support from dedicated innovation coaches and mentoring from Nestlé's senior management.
Purina Unleashed: the first and only pet care program designed to identify and support innovative start-ups, focused on leveraging technology to improve the lives of pets and owners.
Numerous Nestlé market initiatives. For example, Ignite Ideas (Nestlé Hellas) supports startups and individuals; Reto Culinario (El Salvador), is an entrepreneurial contest and TV show that showcases youth culinary innovation; CEO X Youth Connect (East and Southern Africa), enables young people to engage with CEOs of large companies active in Nestlé's Alliance for YOUth.
According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), two out of every five young people are either unemployed or have a job that keeps them in poverty. For this reason, Nestlé launched Nestlé Needs YOUth in 2013. The company's Global Youth Initiative helps young people gain the skills they need to thrive in tomorrow's workplaces. Around the world, it has benefited more than 4 million young people across the three pillars, employability, agripreneurship, and entrepreneurship.
Entrepreneurship can be a positive choice, a means of unlocking innovation, skills, and energy to drive economic and social progress. Through the new platform, Nestlé is encouraging this, and is investing in early-stage companies and helping young entrepreneurs to put their ideas into practice.
"Young entrepreneurs need guidance, support, and above all, opportunities and platforms where their voices can be heard and their ideas realized," said Laurent Freixe, Nestlé's CEO for Latin America and founder of the Nestlé Needs YOUth initiative. "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. The Nestlé Youth Entrepreneurship Platform will help equip them with the skills, experience, and mindset they need to kick-start their idea and business."
Access to the Nestlé Youth Entrepreneurship Platform is free, presenting an opportunity for young innovators to transform the future of food and collaborate with Nestlé towards a regenerative food system at scale.