PepsiCo’s push to empower Saudi female entrepreneurs

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

The PepsiCo Foundation has partnered with INJAZ Al-Arab to empower young Saudi women. Pic: GettyImages/Alessandro Biascioli
The PepsiCo Foundation has partnered with INJAZ Al-Arab to empower young Saudi women. Pic: GettyImages/Alessandro Biascioli

Related tags The PepsiCo Foundation Women empowerment Saudi arabia

The food and beverage giant’s philanthropic arm has partnered with INJAZ Al-Arab to launch a new entrepreneurship development program to empower Saudi female entrepreneurs.

The move is part of the PepsiCo’s expansive women’s empowerment program to invest $100m in initiatives that will benefit 12.5 million women and girls around the globe by 2025.

According to The PepsiCo Foundation, empowering women will spark a virtuous cycle that will build a more sustainable food system. It believes that, when a woman has the time and opportunities to learn, her children are better fed, are healthier and more likely to be educated themselves.

The PepsiCo Foundation’s partnership with INJAZ Al-Arab - a nonprofit that focuses on education and training in workforce readiness, financial literacy and entrepreneurship across the Arab World - extends the company's Tamakani platform launched earlier this year, aimed to support women in the workforce and mentor younger generations to push boundaries.

Economic independence

The platform will be used to recruit 500 female Saudi university students to go through an entrepreneurship development programme run by The PepsiCo Foundation and INJAZ Al-Arab - through INJAZ Saudi.

The students will attend a series of one-day Innovation Camps where they will present their business plans to a panel of judges.

Ten students’ teams will be chosen and invited to a Job Shadow Day at PepsiCo’s local manufacturing facilities and offices, where they will learn firsthand about business practices, including product lines management, manufacturing procedures and supply chain processes.

Five teams will make it through to the next round and will enrol in INJAZ Saudi’s flagship Company Programme – a customised 10-week business simulation specifically designed to enable university students to undergo and complete the full cycle of establishing and operating an enterprise.

This encompasses identifying a viable business idea, raising capital, recognising challenges and opportunities, preparing a business plan and marketing their product or service. The teams will then present their products and services to a panel of prominent local business leaders to compete for the Best Company of the Year Award.

Finally, two winning teams will be selected to receive seed funding and advanced mentorship.

The Kingdom's future entrepreneurs

Empowering women in Saudi Arabia and around the world is a priority for The PepsiCo Foundation. It is a source of great pride that we are helping to develop the ideas of the Kingdom’s future entrepreneurs,”​ said Tamer Mosalam, PepsiCo’s Gulf & Levant Foods VP and Business Unit GM.

“Our strategic partnership  with PepsiCo Foundation is aligned with the country’s 2030 vision in supporting women empowerment initiatives and facilitating job creation through entrepreneurship, to help create economic independence for Saudi women, as well as positively influence their role as key players in the country’s economy,” ​added Akef Aqrabawi, president & CEO, JA Worldwide Inc (INJAZ Al-Arab).

Empowering women

The PepsiCo Foundation – established in 1962 – works with nonprofit partners and invests in the essential elements of a sustainable food system – helping to alleviate hunger, manage water and waste responsibly, and support women as champions of nutrition from farm to family.

In March, it announced a partnership with CARE to tackle gender inequality in the agriculture sector.​ It provided the global poverty-fighting organisation with a $18.2m grant to provide five million female farmers and their families around the world with education, resources and economic support to help them increase their crop yields, incomes and access to nutrition locally.

It is also investing $4m over four years with the Robin Hood Foundation to support education and workforce training programs for 20,000 girls in the Bronx – New York City’s poorest borough and one of the fastest growing technology sectors in the US.

In addition to work-readiness programs for youths in Mexico and South Africa, The Foundation has partnered with International Youth Foundation to develop an online, gendered curriculum called Passport to Success to equip young people six countries with the life skills needed to succeed in life.

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