AFRICA – The global food and drink company, Nestle and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Ashoka have kicked-off a social investment accelerator program with an aim to enhance social entrepreneurship as well as economic development in Africa.

Under the programme, twelve social entrepreneurs from Benin, Ghana, Egypt, Kenya, Uganda and South Africa will be trained on tools and methodologies to build, grow and provide channels to access finances for their businesses.

The group of young social entrepreneurs will be selected from various fields such as nutrition, agriculture, education, e-commerce, water and sanitation.

These are mandated to prepare their final submission to angel and social impact investors to access financing.

The five-month period will provide mentorship from a select number of employee experts in legal affairs, accounting, business support, technology and marketing from across the continent.

In Central and West Africa, the initiative involves three start-ups: Exportunity Global Trade hub (Benin), Project Maji designs (Ghana) and Maintenance and Sustainability Africa (MSA) (Ghana).

Commenting the programme, Kayode Oladapo, Category & Marketing Manager- Coffee, for Nestlé Nigeria said: “I am excited to mentor these young talents and I look forward to a great experience that will add value to their business.

In line with the company’s purpose, we are helping create opportunities for growth and experiential learning for young people.

In the end, we are creating shared value and a two-way learning for both the company and these dynamic young people.”

While Nestle is the initiator of the programme, it will be implemented by Ashoka, the world’s leading network of systems-changing social entrepreneurs.

The accelerator program supports Nestle’s Global youth initiative that seeks to help young people develop their skills so that they can find jobs or create their own businesses.

In 2017, the company expanded the Nestlé needs YOUth initiative to encompass the entire value chain that is, operations, supply, agriculture and innovation.

This is in accordance with its ambition to help 10 million young people worldwide access economic opportunities by 2030.

According to Nestle, such commitments helps build thriving, resilient communities and support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).