LEBANON: PepsiCo has announced the ten companies selected for the first MENA edition of the Greenhouse Accelerator program following a rigorous multi-stage judging process. Two start-ups from Lebanon have made it to the shortlist - Diwama which provides an AI-based image recognition software to automate waste analysis and drive recycling revenues for waste management companies as well as ‘Live, Love, Recycle’, which aims to make recycling easier by digitizing the waste management sector.

A specially curated selection committee comprised of high-ranking PepsiCo executives ranked the start-ups across five key criteria including sustainability alignment to PepsiCo Positive (pep+), strategic synergy with PepsiCo, scalability, relevance to MENA, and potential to be a breakthrough innovation.

Judges in this edition looked for startups that are accelerating environmental sustainability in the food and beverage industry through disruptive technologies focused on sustainable packaging alternatives, packaging reduction, recycling processes, and sustainable recycling behavior modification. The Greenhouse Accelerator Program aims to push for solutions and innovations in the packaging space that will help not only PepsiCo, but also other industries in accelerating the change needed for a more sustainable food system.

The MENA edition of the PepsiCo Greenhouse Accelerator program launched last year and received nearly 70 applications from aspiring start-ups in the region. The six-month initiative will focus on an initial grant to support operations and help launch or scale up their innovation. In addition, the program seeks to enhance innovation in the sustainability space through collaboration with purpose-driven brands from the MENA start-up ecosystem that share PepsiCo’s vision for a more sustainable food system.

The ten selected companies will each receive an initial grant of USD 20,000 to support their business, along with guided mentorship from PepsiCo subject matter experts. At the end of the program, the final winner will receive a USD 100,000 USD grant from PepsiCo and have access to a growing network of influential experts and investors, logistics facilities, and have the opportunity for growth through capacity building.

“The PepsiCo Greenhouse Accelerator program is an example of how we are building a positive value chain and prioritizing circularity and inclusivity through PepsiCo Positive (pep+), our strategic end-to-end transformation framework. We have received applications from an outstanding group of start-ups that are innovating in the field of sustainable packaging, and over the next six months, look forward to supporting them and contributing to helping the region as it doubles down on unleashing the potential of disruptors,” said Aamer Sheikh, CEO, Middle East – PepsiCo.

The program will feature one-on-one mentorship, giving entrepreneurs access to PepsiCo and business accelerator experts, who can share advice and guidance on research and development, business models, product development, regulatory practices, and market activation. Their expertise can also help businesses overcome challenges in supply chain, marketing, distribution, manufacturing, packaging, label claims, fundraising and other elements of their operations.

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