PepsiCo’s partnership with Synergos supports social entrepreneurship in the Arab World

Dubai, UAE, July 7, 2013: In a pioneering move that will significantly support the development of social entrepreneurship in the Arab world, PepsiCo, the global food and beverage leader, announced its partnership with The Synergos Institute today. This will address the social, cultural and environmental issues currently facing the Arab world. The first tangible demonstration of this agreement is PepsiCo’s support for Synergos’ Arab World Social Innovators Program (AWSI). This program provides support and guidance for young Arabs keen on building their own businesses within the concepts of social entrepreneurialism.

photo Above: Sanjeev Chadha, CEO of PepsiCo MEA, and Synergos CEO Bob Dunn at the launch of the PepsiCo/Synergos partnership.
Below: PepsiCo’s Sanjeev Chadha with Kamal Mouzawak, an Arab World Social Innovator who created the first farmers’ market in Beirut, Souk el-Tayeb. photo

In supporting and encouraging the growth of social entrepreneurship within the region, PepsiCo’s partnership with Synergos is consistent with its long held aim of bridging the gap between Arab youth and their employment prospects. PepsiCo is committed to the development of opportunities within both education and employment, a twin approach that is genuinely present in the development of social entrepreneurs. Their own commitment to people and long term sustainable businesses will be the basis for the resolution of this issue in the future, which is a view that PepsiCo fully endorses.

As a first step in supporting the development of social entrepreneurship in the Middle East and North Africa region, PepsiCo and Synergos will build upon the success of the PepsiCo Business 4 Change Social Entrepreneurship Conference recently held in Dubai. A range of services and guidance will be offered to innovators, aimed at developing their professional and organisational skills. This will include mentoring, coaching and technical assistance on key topics such as strategy, business planning, communication and fundraising.

With the support of PepsiCo, the AWSI program has created a financial award to be given to qualifying innovators, supporting the growth of their activities. This funding and PepsiCo’s involvement will provide the basis for further external support, generating other funding for each project. This model has already been deployed successfully in other parts of MENA, helping social entrepreneurs, such as Ziad Abichaker, Rana Dajani and Kamal Mouzawak, who have all developed social innovations which bring about change in their communities.

Ziad’s business builds recycling plants to produce organically certified fertilizers and to recycle most waste materials, such as plastic bags, into usable products. Rana’s initiative, ‘We Love Reading,’ builds local libraries in communities across Jordan. Finally, Kamal created the first farmers market in Beirut which preserves food traditions and the culture of sustainable agriculture in Lebanon. Kamal and Rana are part of Synergos’ first class of innovators.

Sanjeev Chadha, PepsiCo MEA President said: “Synergos is a pioneer in the promotion of social entrepreneurship, and we are delighted to partner with them. Our partnership will enable social entrepreneurs to work on projects addressing the critical issues of employment, environment and education.”

Bob Dunn CEO of Synergos said: “Synergos is very proud to be in partnership with PepsiCo. We have a common interest in working with others in the MENA region to improve educational and employment opportunities and to contribute to the well-being of all of its citizens. PepsiCo has a strong track record and commitment to making this happen, and so do we. We’ve demonstrated our ability to help successful enterprises in develop and grow and bring great benefits to their communities. With PepsiCo’s support, we expect social innovators to benefit as many as 200,000 people in the MENA region. And we’re just getting started.”

Kamal Mouzawak, Souk el Tayeb, endorsed the work of AWSI; “I am a social entrepreneur and I have benefited greatly from the support of AWSI. Indeed, I would not be where I am today without the funding and guidance I received. The success of my endeavour is an example of how, within the Arab world in particular, the principles of social entrepreneurship are not only relevant but a solid base from which to build a sustainable business. I welcome the partnership between PepsiCo and Synergos and wish them every success in this worthwhile enterprise.”

PepsiCo and Synergos logos

About PepsiCo
PepsiCo is a global food and beverage leader with net revenues of more than $65 billion and a product portfolio that includes 22 brands that generate more than $1 billion each in annual retail sales. Our main businesses - Quaker, Tropicana, Gatorade, Frito-Lay and Pepsi-Cola - make hundreds of enjoyable foods and beverages that are loved throughout the world. PepsiCo’s people are united by our unique commitment to sustainable growth by investing in a healthier future for people and our planet, which we believe also means a more successful future for PepsiCo. We call this commitment Performance with Purpose: PepsiCo’s promise to provide a wide range of foods and beverages from treats to healthy eats; to find innovative ways to minimize our impact on the environment by conserving energy and water and reducing packaging volume; to provide a great workplace for our associates; and to respect, support and invest in the local communities where we operate. For more information, visit www.pepsico.com.

About Synergos
Based in New York City, The Synergos Institute is a not-for-profit organisation that specialises in solving complex problems of poverty and inequality by promoting and supporting collaborations among business, government, civil society, and marginalized communities. Over the course of more than 25 years, it has supported innovative initiatives in more than 30 countries and regions including Brazil, Canada, Ecuador, Ethiopia, India, Mexico and the U.S.-Mexico border. For more information, visit www.synergos.org.

About the Arab World Social Innovators
The AWSI program aims to increase the scale and sustainability of successful initiatives that bring social and economic change to poor and marginalized communities across the Arab world. Launched by Synergos in 2008, the program selects and supports exceptional entrepreneurs, providing them with tailored services to enhance their leadership and expand the impact of their programs.

Through AWSI, Synergos provides integrated financial, technical and strategic services to the Social Innovators, including unrestricted financial awards to fuel the growth of their programs; capacity building services to strengthen the Social Innovators’ professional and organizational development, and access to a regional and global network of peers, and to members of Synergos’ leadership networks. Synergos connects Social Innovators to leaders in philanthropy, business, civil society and government. Social Innovators also gain access to the media and major conferences where they increase their visibility and forge strategic partnerships. For more information, visit www.synergos.org/socialinnovators.