PepsiCo, SABIC, and AstroLabs Unite to Kickstart Mega Green Accelerator

Following the initial week of COP28, PepsiCo, SABIC, AstroLabs, and their strategic partners unveiled the Mega Green Accelerator. This new initiative is designed to support emerging innovators in the region as they tackle both regional and global sustainability challenges.

The Middle East is experiencing a warming rate almost twice the global average. However, investment and support for sustainability innovation in the region are lagging. Since 2010, the MENA region has seen the establishment of fewer than 50 new climate technology startups, a stark contrast to the nearly 5,000 in Europe and the US. The Mega Green Accelerator seeks to bridge this gap, enhance regional collaboration, and build a network of MENA-based innovators focused on critical sustainability issues.

The Accelerator's inaugural focus areas include circular economy, clean energy transitions, and water and agriculture – key concerns for the Middle East. The program will offer seed funding, mentorship, and access to leading business figures in the region to participating entrepreneurs.

Eugene Willemsen, CEO of PepsiCo, Africa, Middle East, South Asia, commented: "Innovators in the MENA region have significant potential for scaling and are actively working to create solutions for the region's unique challenges. COP28 is highlighting climate innovations from the UAE and the broader region, and PepsiCo is thrilled to back the next wave of climate leaders through the Mega Green Accelerator. We aim to connect entrepreneurs with the necessary networks and resources, supporting pioneering startups as they expand sustainability solutions, grow their businesses, and establish vital connections."

The Accelerator will also benefit from the distinct capabilities and expertise of strategic partners, including Dubai Future District Fund, Venture Souq, and Shurooq Partners. These partners will offer platforms for investment, mentorship in capital raising, and networking opportunities, contributing to the startup selection process for optimised investment success.

Additionally, ecosystem partners like London Business School Entrepreneurship Club, Berytech, American University of Cairo Venture Lab, the Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Park, and the Mohammed VI Foundation for Environmental Protection will help source applicants, disseminate information, and report progress. Schneider Electric will join as a prize partner, participating in the final participant selection.

Dr. Bob Maughon, SABIC Chief Technology and Sustainability Officer, stated: "SABIC is honoured to collaborate with PepsiCo and other partners in the Mega Green Accelerator. We believe that such cross-sector partnerships are vital for addressing complex issues like climate change. This initiative is an opportunity to enhance not only local economies but also the wellbeing of people and the planet."

Roland Daher, CEO of AstroLabs, added: "Our collaboration with PepsiCo and SABIC is strategically timed to boost innovation within the GCC, emphasising sustainability. With the influx of international, climate-conscious companies, the region is becoming a global hub for innovation. We're committed to fostering an environment where these businesses can thrive locally. Our goal is for the GCC to not only meet the current demand for green solutions but to also lead in sustainable business practices worldwide."

The Mega Green Accelerator's focus aligns with PepsiCo’s pep+ (PepsiCo Positive) transformation strategy and the sustainability goals of the other partners, promoting collaboration across the region to drive a positive impact.