The new digital platform will enable future professionals 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
Nestlé, which operates a R&D Centre in York where its popular KitKat bars are still made, said YEP brings together all its existing innovation initiatives and programmes in one place.
The platform will give young innovators access to The Nestlé Entrepreneurship Academy plus dedicated programmes to grow knowledge, learn new skills and gain experience. It also offers customised content and resources from specific geographies.
Stefan Palzer, Nestlé CTO, 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!”
Key programmes available on Nestlé’s Youth Entrepreneurship Platform include:
- Nestlé R+D Accelerator: entrepreneurs can apply at one of Nestlé’s 12 Accelerators across the world to develop disruptive food and beverage innovations and bring them to market within six months. Participants can work together with Nestlé's R&D experts, including 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 programme 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 said it 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.
Access to the Nestlé Youth Entrepreneurship Platform is free, and Nestlé claims it presents an attractive opportunity for young innovators to transform the future of food and collaborate with the company towards a regenerative food system at scale.