Haifa Al Kaylani, President & Founder of AIWF, was recently invited to attend the second iteration of the PepsiCo Greenhouse Accelerator Program: MENA Sustainability Edition, in partnership with the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) and Food Tech Valley (FTV), held at the Museum of the Future on Monday 20 November 2023.
The program this year focused on sustainable agriculture in line with PepsiCo’s sustainability strategy, pep+ (PepsiCo Positive). The AgriTech industry in MENA has attracted around $250 million in funding in 2022, instilling confidence in regional start-ups and their innovation potential for sustainable agriculture. The Greenhouse Accelerator Program has created new growth opportunities in this space, helping the startup ecosystem flourish, and has attracted applications from across the region from young innovators who are transforming the sustainability space.
All start-ups that participated in the program received an initial grant of $20,000 and one-on-one mentorship from PepsiCo and external partners over a six month span, guiding them on everything from research and development to business models, marketing, and fundraising. In addition, six companies selected from the Greenhouse Accelerator Program: MENA Sustainability Edition will be featured in a dedicated showcase at COP28 in Dubai. The move will expand the growing businesses opportunities for growth and strengthen the program’s legacy, and AIWF was proud to support this excellent flagship initiative of PepsiCo that speaks to our shared mission to empower women and youth and nurture innovation and entrepreneurship in sustainable agriculture, in the MENA region and globally.
At the very special award ceremony held on Monday, following pitches and a product showcase by each of the outstanding participating start-ups, Dooda Solutions was selected as the winner from a pool of six regional startups and has now received a $100,000 grant, along with a host of other benefits, to scale their sustainable agricultural solution and grow their business.
Dooda Solutions, a woman-led earthworm farm, specializes in producing premium-grade vermicompost (organic fertilizers) at commercial scale. Its nutrient-rich vermicompost restores soil health by improving its structure, increasing nutrient availability, and enhancing microbial activity. In the program’s final stages, the team demonstrated a truly innovative and scalable solution with a commitment to pushing the boundaries of sustainable agriculture innovations. Dooda Solutions was selected from over 180 applicants, following a rigorous multi-stage selection process and six-months of mentorship.
It was indeed an honour for AIWF to be represented at this excellent event, which drew participation from His Excellency Eng. Mohammed Mousa Alameeri, Assistant Undersecretary for the Food Diversity Sector at the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, and Lāth Carlson, Executive Director of Museum of the Future. The expert judging panel comprised His Royal Highness Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud, Founder and CEO of KBW Ventures; Sheikh Dr. Majid Al Qassimi, Founder & Partner of Soma Mater Management Consultancies; Wael Ismail, Vice President for Corporate Affairs at PepsiCo Africa, Middle East and South Asia; Alanoud Al Hashmi, CEO of SDG GLOBAL & Futurist; and George Shenouda, Africa Lead, Development and Investment at Masdar.
AIWF congratulates PepsiCo on a most successful 2023 edition of the PepsiCo Greenhouse Accelerator Program: MENA Sustainability Edition. We value our longstanding partnership with PepsiCo and are proud to support PepsiCo’s global and regional advocacy in sustainable agriculture, food security, water resilience and the empowerment of women and youth, especially in this very special COP28 year.