Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates: Khalifa Fund and the F&B Manufacturers Business Group (FBMG) in partnership with Mintel - the knowledge partner, Tate & Lyle - technical partner, InnovaMENA – innovation project manager, Invertium – technology partner and leading industry F&B Manufacturers, have announced the launch of the F&B Innovation Lab, a programme that aims to discover, guide and mentor the UAE’s next innovative F&B products. The programme will incubate Emirati talent who have F&B concepts rooted in sustainability, health, and convenience, with industry leading manufactures who can develop and promote successful product-market fits, with the aim of transforming their F&B concepts into internationally available products.
The programme brings together local manufacturers Emirates National Food Co, Baklawa Made Better, Abu Dhabi Vegetable Oil Company, Emirati Macaroni Factory, Hunter Foods, Essa Alghurair Investment, IFFCO Emirates Grains Products Company, BRF Sadia, National Food Industries, Global Food Industries, Friesland Campina Middle East, Al Ain Farms and Al Islami Foods.
The F&B Innovation Lab is set to become the first-of-its-kind programme, which will operate in several specific phases starting from: scouting and attracting talent; interviewing and filtering candidates; a 5-day innovation bootcamp; and an incubation phase that will lead to the eventual commercialisation of the F&B concept.
H.E. Mohammed Ali Al Shorafa, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED) and Khalifa Fund stated: “As part of Khalifa Fund’s contribution towards enhancing the F&B ecosystem for Emirati talent in the sector, we are extremely proud to be launching the F&B Innovation Lab, alongside the F&B Manufacturing Business Group, Mintel, Tate & Lyle and a multitude of our industry leading manufacturing partners.”
He added: “The F&B Innovation Lab will be a unique and innovative programme that aligns with Khalifa Fund’s contribution towards achieving the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision, unlocking the full potential of the UAE’s F&B ecosystem, and ultimately establish further job creation within the sector.”
He concluded: “The UAE’s F&B sector is a prosperous and thriving sector, with the potential to achieve exponential growth and development, which can contribute to the national economy with the help of our strategic partners. The main aim of the F&B Innovation Lab is to create the early foundations for ideation, innovation and an ecosystem for UAE talent in the F&B sector, while actively contributing towards the further enhancement of our advanced food security levels.”
I look forward to seeing further advancements in the UAE’s F&B ecosystem, with a range of new products that are UAE-relevant, and provide local flavour, culture and heritage.”
Mr. Saleh Lootah, Chairman of UAE Food and Beverage Business Group, said: "As leaders of the Food and Beverage manufacturing companies in UAE, it is our responsibility to build a better future. This means investing in our national talent to encourage them, giving them the confidence and a helping hand so that they can scale new heights for the food sector in UAE. It’s thrilling to see active participation from both national and multinational manufacturers who are committed in supporting these talented and extremely innovative young nationals.
I am confident that this initiative will play a decisive role in the future of the food sector and meeting a goal of our National Agenda – of being self-sustainable and a manufacturing hub for the region."
Entrepreneurs have the opportunity to participate in the F&B Innovation Lab until registration ends on 31 January 2021. Following registration, UAE talents will be supported by program partners to develop and validate new F&B products. Those that show potential through the development of a viable product-market fit, will have the option to commercialise with the partnering F&B manufacturers. As well as potential partnership through participation in the F&B Innovation Lab, successful incubates will gain access to mentoring from highly esteemed experts from the F&B industry.
About Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development
Khalifa Fund is an independent, not-for-profit, SME development organisation of the Abu Dhabi Government. Khalifa Fund’s mandate is to develop and empower the culture of entrepreneurship, encourage innovation, and aid and support with UAE’s SME ecosystem.
Khalifa Fund was established in 2007, by the virtue of the Law 14 of 2005 and its amendments, in the implementation of the vision of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi.
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