Pepsico and Arab Youth Center launch programme to tackle climate change

Three winners will be announced during COP28 in Dubai and receive seed funds

Image Credit: Current Global

PepsiCo and the Arab Youth Center have opened applications for young Arab innovators to apply for the Arab Youth Hackathon.

This regional entrepreneurship programme is aimed at creating smarter solutions to climate-related issues in the areas of agriculture, circular economy, water security, and renewable energy and efficiency.

According to recent research, 65 per cent of Gen Z members in MENA are concerned about the world, but a higher proportion – 66 per cent are hopeful about the change they can deliver and 50 per cent are actively striving to make a change through social, political, or environmental means.

The hackathon will run in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and Lebanon, and is seeking applicants, including university students and early-stage entrepreneurs who either are looking to ideate or have a preliminary existing idea at the testing phase, which will evolve during the hackathons.

Once the shortlist of teams has been selected, PepsiCo, PepsiCo Foundation, Plug and Play and AYC will host a three-day local hackathon, providing mentorship and curated workshops to transfer knowledge to the participants.

In the UAE, the hackathon will take place at the Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Park from 7th to 9th October.

The finals of the competition, featuring 15 of the most promising solutions from the five countries, will take place during December, in Dubai.

The three best innovators will receive an equity-free seed fund from the PepsiCo foundation to launch their businesses, worth $30,000 for the winner, $20,000 for the runner-up, and $10,000 for the second runner-up.

In addition, they will participate in a five-month incubation programme that will help them develop and scale their groundbreaking ideas and ensure long-term success.

Eugene Willemsen, CEO of Africa, Middle East and South Asia at PepsiCo, said, “Young people are comfortable in a world of dialogue and collaboration, and uniquely motivated to contribute to solutions to climate-related issues. They also have the power to influence behavior in their communities and urge policymakers to tackle environmental challenges.

“We are committed to diversity in thought, perspective, and action to move the needle in ways we haven’t imagined before, and the Arab Youth Hackathon harnesses the power of collaboration to channel this potential in tangible and measurable ways.” 

Image Credit: PepsiCo

Mr. Sadeq Jarrar, Executive Director – Arab Youth Center, said“We are thrilled to begin accepting applications for the Arab Youth Hackathon in anticipation of COP28.

“Through this initiative, we hope to foster a culture of leadership among Arab youth for the betterment of future generations.”

 Omeed Mehrinfar, EMEA Managing Partner, Plug and Play said, As one of the most active global investors in sustainability, we are strong believers and renowned enablers of climate technology, thus this is a great opportunity to partner with market and thought leaders such as PepsiCo and Arab Youth Center in activating and implementing this unique cross border sustainability hackathon in the Arab region.”

The Arab Youth Hackathon is open for applications until September 22 and interested participants can submit their entries here