PepsiCo and Arab Youth Centre announce the launch of the Arab Youth Hackathon at COP27 25-November-2022

At COP27, PepsiCo signed a strategic partnership with the Arab Youth Centre to develop regional initiatives that empower the youth and nurture future changemakers. As a first initiative, PepsiCo and the Arab Youth Centre announced the launch of the Arab Youth Hackathon #HackforChange, a regional entrepreneurial programme, 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 in an innovative challenge to create smarter solutions for solving climate challenges revolving around agriculture, circular economy, water security and renewable energy.

Formalised at the 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference and launched at 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 COP28 next year. Slated for launch early next year, applicants from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Lebanon and Jordon, will be invited for a three-day ideation boot camp 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, which will take the lead in crystallising the problem statement and 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 start-ups to life.

“COP27 is an important milestone for us, as we continue to prioritise sustainability,” says Sadeq Jarrar, Executive Director of Arab Youth Center. “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.”

“For us at PepsiCo, sustainability is the key driver for technological innovation,” says Wael Ismail, Vice President for Corporate Affairs, MENA and Pakistan, PepsiCo. “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 COP28 and beyond. We are delighted to collaborate with our esteemed partners to launch the ideation programme after the successful implementation of our accelerator programme - the Greenhouse Accelerator, to ensure we address entrepreneurs at all business stages.”

C.D. Glin, Global Head of Philanthropy and President of PepsiCo Foundation, believes 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 to investing in educational programmes, 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.”

The Arab Youth Hackathon programme 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 programmes including the Egypt Hackathon 2030, as well as the Greenhouse Accelerator. Through these programmes, 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 programme including selection criteria and application details will follow in the coming months.