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PepsiCo awards “Virdis” team from Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University for groundbreaking sustainability initiative as part of flagship Tamakani program

In a virtual celebration organized by PepsiCo and Injaz Al Arab, teams from two Saudi universities were awarded financial and mentorship support, as part of efforts to drive women’s entrepreneurship in the Kingdom

February 16, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: PepsiCo, the Global Food and Beverage Company, and its charitable arm, the PepsiCo Foundation, in partnership with INJAZ Al-Arab and INJAZ Saudi Arabia, announced the winners of a sustainability-focused challenge organized as part of PepsiCo’s flagship Tamakani program, aimed at driving entrepreneurship among aspiring Saudi women.

The virtual ceremony awarded the “Virdis” team from Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University $10,000 for the groundbreaking project aimed at reducing carbon footprint and delivering a sustainable food system. Two additional teams – “SU” from Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University and “Capsy” from Princess Noura Bint Abdul Rahman University ranked second and third, receiving $6,000 and $4,000 respectively, to convert their entrepreneurial vision into tangible projects. The financial reward is complemented by a mentorship program with Injaz Al-Arab to equip students with education and training as well as financial literacy to ensure workforce readiness.

The program, conducted over the course of a year, offered 500 female students from four Saudi universities – the Princess Noura Bint Abdul Rahman University, Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University, Al Imam Mohamed Bin Saud University, and King Abdulaziz University, the opportunity to present business ideas aimed at creating a more sustainable planet. The challenge asked students to ideate three priority areas – positive water impact, circular future for packaging, and improving choices across the PepsiCo portfolio.

50 students qualified for the final stage, as part of which they experienced the full cycle of setting up and running their own enterprise through a dynamic 10-week business simulation program. PepsiCo volunteers served as support and consultants to each team. Students also had the opportunity to go through a day of a typical PepsiCo job within different departments – hosted virtually with PepsiCo employees across different verticals including HR, Communications, Supply Chain, Sales, Finance, and Legal. All other departments also took students through a day in their work life tasks.

Tamer Mosalam, Vice President & General Manager, Gulf & Levant Foods at PepsiCo said, “Fostering a culture of inclusion and diversity is essential to growth and progress – for companies and countries. At PepsiCo, we recognize this responsibility both internally and externally & Tamakani has been the product of this vision – a dedicated platform that supports and inspires generations of women in the Kingdom. We believe in women and their capabilities and have seen what they can achieve when given the right opportunities. We also recognize the power of partnerships and are proud to collaborate with Injaz Al Arab and the PepsiCo Foundation to leverage their expertise in educating and training aspiring entrepreneurs. The Kingdom’s Vision 2030 is committed to unleashing female potential, and we’re delighted to be part of this journey as we further our commitment to provide equal opportunities for every member of society.”

The ceremony was attended by key representatives from the private sector, partners of INJAZ Saudi, representatives of the Ministry of Education as well as academic experts. The jury consisted of three academics, specialized in Saudi entrepreneurship including Ms. Iman Abdel Shakour, Founder & CEO of Blossom Accelerator, Ms. Amal Dokhan, CEO of Global Entrepreneurship Network GEN Saudi at GEN, and Mr. Tamer Mosalam, Vice President & General Manager, Gulf & Levant Foods at PepsiCo.

In recognition of the strategic partnership between INJAZ and PepsiCo, Mr. Nagib Abdulrahman, CEO of INJAZ Saudi Arabia, affirmed his commitment to empowering Saudi youth, particularly women, through curated training designed to drive entrepreneurship, teamwork, and creativity. He said, “Teamwork and true partnership are the secret to success, and when they are combined with the determination to create positive change, we get rich outcomes that represent the ambitions of Saudi youth.” Tamkani is PepsiCo’s dedicated platform to help create opportunities and guidance for women with promising capabilities, provide support to realize aspirations, scale up innovative initiatives, and mentor Saudi women to realize their full potential.

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