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Meet The Six Startups Selected For The Second Cohort Of PepsiCo's Greenhouse Accelerator Program: MENA Sustainability Edition Over 180 applications from across the MENA region were sent in for the 2023 edition of this program, of which six startups were selected to participate in it.

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PepsiCo

PepsiCo has announced the six companies that will be a part of the second cohort of its Greenhouse Accelerator Program: MENA Sustainability Edition, which will be focused on sustainable agriculture.

This year's program, which continues PepsiCo's initial partnership with UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) and Food Tech Valley, was launched with an aim to unlock innovative and disruptive agricultural solutions by collaborating with regional startups that share PepsiCo's vision for a more sustainable food system.

In what was a multi-stage selection process, this year's cohort were assessed based on five key criteria: alignment to PepsiCo Positive (pep+)- PepsiCo's sustainability strategy, strategic synergy with PepsiCo, scalability, relevance to MENA, and breakthrough potential. Over 180 applications from across the MENA region were sent in for the 2023 edition of this program, of which six startups were selected to participate in it.

The six startups are:

  1. NoorNation An Egypt-based renewable energy startup that aims to provide sustainable decentralized energy and water infrastructure solutions to the off-grid sector across Egypt and Sub-Saharan Africa. Its product, LifeBox, is a solar-powered, self-contained mobile unit that delivers clean energy and safe water at an affordable price.
  2. Dooda Solutions A Lebanon-based female-led earthworm farm that uses advanced technologies to produce premium grade solid and liquid vermicompost -classified as organic fertilizers- at commercial scale.
  3. YY ReGen A Lebanon-based renewable energy startup committed to providing innovative solutions using sustainable water management, and regenerative farming.
  4. RoboCare A Tunisia-based company that specializes in using spectral technology and artificial intelligence (AI) to promote sustainable agriculture. Its precision farming services offer solutions to monitor crops, prevent stress, control plant requirements, improve land efficiency, and optimize pesticide needs.
  5. SmartWTI A Jordan-based Internet of Things (IoT)/AI solutions provider that specializes in designing and manufacturing water management solutions to enable IoT.
  6. Smart Green A Jordan-based startup that provides agri-tech solutions to agricultural businesses -to enable digital transformation from traditional agriculture to modern agriculture- using Industry 4.0 technologies.

Each of the six selected startups will receive an initial grant of US$20,000 to support their respective businesses and help scale up their innovation, along with guided mentorship from regional subject matter professionals, as well as PepsiCo and Food Tech Valley experts. At the end of the six-month program, one winning company will be awarded an additional $100,000 in funding to continue its expansion goals. The winning startup will also have an opportunity to extend its collaboration with PepsiCo to further expedite its growth.

Related: Agents Of Change: Supporting Arab Youth In Reshaping The Narrative Around Climate Change

The entrepreneurs behind Dooda Solutions, Noor Nation, RoboCare, SmartWTI, and YY ReGen. Image courtesy PepsiCo.

Commenting on the selection of these six startups, H.E. Eng. Mohammed Mousa Alameeri, Assistant Undersecretary for the Food Diversity Sector at the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE), said, "The UAE places great importance on strengthening its food security, and overcoming the significant obstacles that hinder increasing production. Considering that local production of agricultural products and food is an essential component of this strategy, we are working to harness agricultural innovations and modern technologies to overcome the challenges facing the development of this sector, increase and improve production, and promote and consolidate the concept of sustainable agriculture. With this in mind, the country is committed to utilizing modern agricultural technology that not only boosts productivity, but also aids in conserving natural resources by preventing waste and limiting carbon emissions produced by the agriculture sector and the entire food supply chain."

H.E. Alameeri added, "In light of the UAE Year of Sustainability, the Greenhouse Accelerator Program of this year is a significant enhancement and contribution to the nation's initiatives towards implementing modern, sustainable agriculture and food systems. As we gear up for hosting the Conference of the Parties (COP28), we aim to showcase the UAE's achievements in sustainable farming practices, exemplified by the Greenhouse Accelerator Program, in which we are proud to collaborate with PepsiCo and Food Technology Valley. Looking forward, we at the Ministry aspire to broaden our collaborative efforts with various relevant entities, both local and global, to propagate the use of modern, sustainable, and climate-smart agricultural technologies."

On his part, Aamer Sheikh, CEO, Middle East – PepsiCo, shared his views on how this second cohort could pave the way for innovative solutions within sustainable agriculture. "This year, we have embarked on a search for transformative direct farming innovations that increase agricultural productivity while conserving our precious natural resources for the next generations," Sheikh said. "I was impressed with the caliber of the participants in the second cohort, and I am confident that together, we can blaze new trails in sustainable agriculture."

Ahmed AlShaibani, Project Lead at Food Tech Valley, added, "The theme of this year's PepsiCo Greenhouse Accelerator Program aligns with the UAE's National Food Security Strategy 2051 that aspires to position the country as a world-leading hub in innovation-driven food security. Our mandate at Food Tech Valley is to facilitate business growth in food tech space, and we are pleased to support this worthwhile initiative that harnesses the power of innovation for a more sustainable future."

Introduced regionally in 2021, the winner of the inaugural PepsiCo Greenhouse Accelerator Program: MENA Sustainability Edition was Nadeera, a social enterprise that leverages technology to promote waste sorting at source.

For more information on the six shortlisted startups for this year, visit the Greenhouse Accelerator program website, or the PepsiCo Positive (pep+) Middle East LinkedIn page.

Related: Making Change Happen: Why Partnerships With Purpose Are The Way Forward

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