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Lebanon-based startup Dooda Solutions has been declared the winner of the 2023 installment of the PepsiCo Greenhouse Accelerator Program: MENA Sustainability Edition, with it receiving a cash prize of US$100,000.
As a global mentor-led initiative to help entrepreneurs in the sustainability space grow through collaboration and knowledge sharing, this year’s edition of the PepsiCo Greenhouse Accelerator Program continued the company’s initial partnership with the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) and Food Tech Valley, an initiative launched by H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, which aims to foster innovation in food production.
The announcement of the winner was made during the closing ceremony held at the Museum of the Future in Dubai on November 20, 2023. Each of the six finalists of the program -the other five being RoboCare, NoorNation, YYRegen, Smart Green, and SmartWTI– presented their pitches and products during the course of the event.
The panel of experts who judged the presenting startups included HRH Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud, Founder and CEO, KBW Ventures, Sheikh Dr. Majid Al Qassimi, founder and Partner, Soma Mater Management Consultancies, Wael Ismail, Vice President for Corporate Affairs, PepsiCo Africa, Middle East and South Asia, Alanoud Al Hashmi, CEO, SDG Global, and George Shenouda, Africa Lead, Development and Investment, Masdar.
The closing ceremony also saw the attendance of H.E. Eng. Mohammed Mousa Alameeri, Assistant Undersecretary for the Food Diversity Sector, MOCCAE, and Lāth Carlson, Executive Director, Museum of the Future.
“At the heart of our nation’s priorities lies the commitment to food security and sustainable agriculture,” H.E. Alameeri said, in a statement. “As we prepare to host the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference, Conference of the Parties (COP28), later this month, we recognize the significance of addressing global challenges through innovation and collaboration. We are prioritizing the acceleration of efforts to achieve the objectives of the UAE’s National Food Security Strategy 2051 through partnerships and solutions that bring a paradigm shift in the agricultural sector and food systems. One such initiative is the Greenhouse Accelerator Program, as it provides a stage for entrepreneurs and startups to shed light on their pioneering solutions, driving the cause of sustainability, while fostering innovation. I’m confident that together, we will enhance the resilience and sustainability of the food sector– paving the way for a more sustainable future for all.”
Nada Ghanem, founder and Managing Director at Dooda Solutions receives a cash prize of US$100,000 at the PepsiCo Greenhouse Accelerator Program: MENA Sustainability Edition clsoing ceremony. Source: PepsiCo Middle East
The second edition of the PepsiCo Greenhouse Accelerator Program was centered primarily on innovative sustainable agriculture, a tenet that is in line with PepsiCo’s own sustainability strategy, PepsiCo Positive (pep+).
At the start of the PepsiCo Greenhouse Accelerator Program: MENA Sustainability Edition, each of the six finalists received a grant of $20,000 as well as one-on-one mentorship from experts within PepsiCo as well as external partners during the six-month program. At COP28, six companies chosen from across both editions of the PepsiCo Greenhouse Accelerator Program will get a chance to showcase their businesses.
“Building on the success of the first edition of our MENA Greenhouse Accelerator, this year marked a significant step towards accelerating progress in sustainable agriculture in the region,” Aamer Sheikh, CEO at PepsiCo Middle East, said. “As part of our commitments to achieve net-zero emissions by 2040 and become net water positive by 2030, we are actively facilitating innovation to drive tangible change at scale. At PepsiCo, we are dedicated to supporting innovators and entrepreneurs who are at the forefront of sustainable solutions. By providing them with a wealth of resources and offering them a platform to showcase their solutions on global stages, such as at COP28, we want to help them thrive. We’re excited about Dooda Solutions’ potential to transform the regional agriculture sector, and we look forward to creating more opportunities for other promising startups that will have a lasting positive impact on society.”
Launched in 2018, Dooda Solutions operates earthworm farms and leverages advanced technologies to produce high-quality solid and liquid vermicompost. 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.
“This journey has been transformative, providing our business with invaluable insights, mentorship, and tools to refine and scale our sustainable agriculture solution,” Nada Ghanem, founder and Managing Director at Dooda Solutions, said. “The program’s extensive reach and network have helped us connect with like-minded entrepreneurs, potential partners, and investors who share our vision for sustainable agriculture, not only accelerating our growth but also reinforcing our commitment to driving sustainable change in the MENA region. We are excited about the journey ahead and remain committed to scaling our operations effectively to provide sustainable solutions to all.”