- At AMWAJ, PepsiCo says social entrepreneurship has become a necessity for the region’s economy
- Young innovators urge to develop ideas that have a positive, sustainable impact on communities
- ‘PepsiCo Social Impact Competition’ celebrates business ideas that can make a difference in the region
- Social entrepreneurs need support to attract investment by aligning business and social purpose
Amman, Jordan: PepsiCo, the global food and beverage company, has highlighted the importance of social entrepreneurship in creating opportunity for sustainable development across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. During the second day of AMWAJ, the sustainability and entrepreneurship forum, PepsiCo encouraged young people across the region to create business models geared towards solving societal problems.
AMWAJ is being held under the patronage of HRH Prince Hassan of Jordan. Organised by PepsiCo, in partnership with Revolve Media, AMWAJ aims to catalyse a culture of partnership between governments, civil society and the private sector to make the world more sustainable while addressing social issues, and strengthen links between business and society.
Under PepsiCo’s ‘2025 Sustainability Agenda,’ the recently launched effort to foster continued business growth in a way that responds to changing consumer and societal needs, the company wants to empower people and social development across its operations, supply chain and communities. PepsiCo is pursuing initiatives to spur social and economic development in communities around the world. These actions are aligned with the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The MENA region has the highest rate of youth unemployment in the world at 27.2%, according to the World Economic Forum. Education quality in MENA, according to the World Bank, is below international standards, and there is a mismatch between skills and market need. AMWAJ aims to use entrepreneurship to turn these challenges into opportunities, recognising that economic expansion and job creation are allied with business models that are disrupting sectors like education, healthcare and energy.
During AMWAJ, PepsiCo will announce the winners of the ‘PepsiCo Social Impact Competition’ for business start-up ideas that have a distinctive social purpose. The competition, run in partnership with WAMDA, is designed to strengthen the ecosystem of social entrepreneurs in the region and raise awareness of the importance of delivering profitability sustainably by integrating society and the environment into the business model. PepsiCo will offer prizes up to US$20,000, as well as skills-building mentorship and investor matchmaking.
“Social entrepreneurship is about creating value while overcoming a specific social challenge in a sustainable way,” said Mustafa Shamseldin, Vice-President, Sales and New Business Development for MENA at PepsiCo. “The MENA region is affected by several social challenges – among them an education and skills deficit, unemployment, water scarcity, and gender inequality. In MENA, over half the population is under 25. Yet, we know the region has a strong entrepreneurial spirit. It is important that social entrepreneurs are helped to identify commercial opportunities in their ventures so that they can attract investment, as well as helping to improve their communities. At PepsiCo, through the Social Impact Competition and several other initiatives, we are helping to cultivate a culture of social entrepreneurship so that our own business, as well as the people we support, can make a positive difference in the world.”
Among AMWAJ’s partners was ‘Ahead of the Curve,’ a social business dedicated to the promotion of sustainable management practice, inclusive market growth and social innovation. The organisation’s Founding Partner and CEO, Dina Sherif, said: “Creating economic value in the MENA region is important, but it is no longer enough. We need to teach our youth to see opportunity in the current challenges we face in the region and that innovation and entrepreneurship should be focused on creating shared value and making the world a better place for everyone.”
In the GCC, PepsiCo employs more than 15,300 people and provides income for 6,500 farmers. Across the MENA region, PepsiCo runs several skills and training programs for women and young people, including ‘Hadafi,’ ‘San3ety,’ ‘Skills for Success’ and ‘Tomooh.’
PepsiCo products are enjoyed by consumers one billion times a day in more than 200 countries and territories around the world. PepsiCo generated more than $63 billion in net revenue in 2015, driven by a complementary food and beverage portfolio that includes Frito-Lay, Gatorade, Pepsi-Cola, Quaker and Tropicana. PepsiCo’s product portfolio includes a wide range of enjoyable foods and beverages, including 22 brands that generate more than $1 billion each in estimated annual retail sales.
At the heart of PepsiCo is Performance with Purpose – our fundamental belief that the success of our company is inextricably linked to the sustainability of the world around. We believe that continuously improving the products we sell, operating responsibly to protect our planet and empowering people around the world is what enables PepsiCo to run a successful global company that creates long-term value for society and our shareholders.