PepsiCo and The Arab Youth Centre announce the launch of the ‘Arab Youth Hackathon #HackforChange’ as part of their strategic partnership signed during COP27 to grow youth empowerment initiatives in the Arab region

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  • The hackathon is the first initiative of a strategic partnership between PepsiCo and The Arab Youth Centre, signed during COP27 to collaborate with young innovators for smarter sustainable solutions to the climate action agenda
  • In partnership with the Arab Youth Centre, the hackathon will be funded by the PepsiCo Foundation – the philanthropic arm of PepsiCo, and implemented by Plug and Play Tech Center 
  • The hackathon invites applicants from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Lebanon and Jordon

Dubai, United Arab Emirates: At COP27, PepsiCo signed a strategic partnership with the Arab Youth Centre with the aim to develop regional initiatives that empower the youth and nurture future changemakers. As a first initiative, PepsiCo and the Arab Youth Center announced the launch of the ‘Arab Youth Hackathon #HackforChange’, a regional entrepreneurial program, funded by PepsiCo Foundation – the philanthropic arm of PepsiCo and implemented by Plug and Play Tech Center. The hackathon engages youth across the Middle East and North Africa region in an innovative challenge to create smarter solutions for solving climate challenges revolving around agriculture, circular economy, water security and renewable energy.

Formalized at the 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference and launched at the COP27, the ‘Arab Youth Hackathon #HackforChange’ aims to establish an integrative relationship with the participants throughout the year until the announcement of the winners at the COP28 next year. Slated for launch early next year, applicants from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Lebanon and Jordon, will be invited for a 3-day ideation bootcamp followed by mentorship. Winners will be incubated and awarded seed capital for bringing nascent sustainability ideas to life. 

The hackathon is supported by the Arab Youth Centre who will take the lead in crystalizing the problem statement and in enabling the young minds to leverage regional opportunities. Plug and Play Tech Center, the global innovation platform, will leverage their technical expertise and global network of mentors to provide entrepreneurship content that supports the participants in building their business models and will incubate the winning teams to bring their startups to life.

“COP27 is an important milestone for us, as we continue to prioritize sustainability. We are proud of all collaborative efforts to support the youth in building a better world through the Arab Youth Hackathon. The initiative aligns with our drive to pave the way for growing future leaders, and we are happy to support them in this journey. We look forward to seeing the region’s rising stars shine with their innovative ideas of initiatives that matter,” added Sadeq Jarrar, Executive Director of Arab Youth Center.

“For us at PepsiCo, sustainability is the key driver for technological innovation. We believe that hackathons can go a long way in encouraging changemakers of the future to collaborate and come up with ideas that are not just unique, but also powerful and future-ready for a resilient tomorrow. The announcement of the ‘Arab Youth Hackathon #HackforChange’ comes at a key stop on the road to COP27 as we double down on our sustainability commitment, continuing the momentum to the COP28 and beyond. We are delighted to collaborate with our esteemed partners to launch the ideation program after the successful implementation of our accelerator program – the Greenhouse Accelerator, to ensure we address entrepreneurs at all business stages,” said Wael Ismail, Vice President for Corporate Affairs, MENA and Pakistan, PepsiCo. 

“The youth are reshaping the narrative for climate change and making great progress in delivering upon the UN’s SDGs for a greener future. As part of PepsiCo’s commitment of investing in educational programs, training facilities, mentorship opportunities, and supporting entrepreneurs in achieving their maximum potential, we are elated to sponsor the Arab Youth Hackathon #HackforChange. Led by the intent to establish smarter and equitable solutions for a more sustainable future, the platform will offer a plethora of insights and opportunities for several young innovators from around the region,” commented C.D. Glin, Global Head of Philanthropy and President, PepsiCo Foundation.

The Arab Youth Hackathon program is another example of how PepsiCo is striving to create growth and shared value by operating within planetary boundaries and inspiring positive change for the planet and people, especially as it celebrates one year of PepsiCo Positive (pep+), the company’s strategic end-to-end transformation framework. Throughout the years, PepsiCo has been supporting these efforts through a range of accelerator programs including the Egypt Hackathon 2030, as well as the Greenhouse Accelerator. Through these programs, PepsiCo works closely with partners to achieve locally specific sustainability goals by partnering with the youth to support innovation and entrepreneurships for a more circular economy. 

More announcements related to the Arab Youth Hackathon program including selection criteria and application details will follow in the coming months. 

About PepsiCo

PepsiCo products are enjoyed by consumers more than one billion times a day in more than 200 countries and territories around the world. PepsiCo generated more than $79 billion in net revenue in 2021, driven by a complementary beverage and convenient foods portfolio that includes Lay’s, Doritos, Cheetos, Gatorade, Pepsi-Cola, Mountain Dew, Quaker, and SodaStream. PepsiCo’s product portfolio includes a wide range of enjoyable foods and beverages, including many iconic brands that generate more than $1 billion each in estimated annual retail sales.

Guiding PepsiCo is our vision to Be the Global Leader in Beverages and Convenient Foods by Winning with PepsiCo Positive (pep+). pep+ is our strategic end-to-end transformation that puts sustainability and human capital at the center of how we will create value and growth by operating within planetary boundaries and inspiring positive change for planet and people.

About PepsiCo Foundation

Established in 1962, the PepsiCo Foundation, the philanthropic arm of PepsiCo, invests in the essential elements of a sustainable food system with a mission to support thriving communities. Working with non-profits and experts around the globe, we’re focused on helping communities obtain access to food security, safe water access and economic opportunity. We strive for tangible impact in the places where we live and work—collaborating with industry peers, local and international organizations, and our employees to affect large-scale change on the issues that matter to us and are of global importance.

About Arab Youth Center 

The Arab Youth Center (AYC) is led by His Highness Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan as Chairman of the Arab Youth Center, to empower young Arabs and address their needs. Its vision is to contribute to the creation of a pioneering youth empowerment model in the Arab world and its mission is to empower Arab youth by cooperating with Arab governments and developing various initiatives to nurture the next generation of Arab leaders capable of building a better future. The Center offers a unique platform to develop youth capabilities and support innovation and creativity among youth. AYC implements purposeful initiatives across diverse sectors. In addition, it conducts research with young Arabs to help decision-makers shape policies that enable their progress. AYC cooperates with various public and private sector institutions across the Arab region that are keen to empower youth, creating new opportunities for young Arabs.

About Plug and Play Tech Center

Plug and Play Tech Center is a global innovation platform founded by Saeed Amidi, aiming to connect early-stage investors, start-ups, and the world’s largest corporations together. The firm’s headquarters is based in Sunnyvale, California, and expanded globally with more than 40+ offices across more than 20 countries. Plug and Play’s primary objective is to successfully run corporate innovation programs and accelerator programs for start-ups, operating across 20+ industries worldwide. The company is essentially an ecosystem, which has notably brought together 35,000+ start-ups, 500+ world corporations, venture capital firms, universities, and government agencies in the past 16 years. Since it was founded in 2006, the firm has established a global network for start-ups and corporations, raising over $9 billion in funding by companies within the community.