Procter & Gamble (P&G) Egypt launched its Unbox Innovation Challenge for the MEA on Wednesday, which is a programme that gives start-ups and SMEs the opportunity to integrate into the supply chain of one of the largest and most innovative companies in the world.
The challenge — organised in partnership with UNTAP technologies — set out to invite start-ups to solve two key challenges for P&G’s operations in Egypt — gamified solutions for small retailers and flexible employee experiences.
Out of 52 registered start-ups, six were shortlisted to pitch their start-up and solutions to a panel of experts from P&G’s leadership in the MEA in each of these respective areas of the business.
Al-Dokan — a Cairo-based e-commerce platform — won the sales challenge for its flexible and ready to enable solution for P&G’s communication with and management of small retailers.
QuickRide — the carpooling network from India — won the Employee Experience challenge by providing a solution for commuting to work.
“Innovation has historically been the lifeline of this company, and the driving force behind its evolution and growth over 184 years,” said Samir Lebbar — P&G’s President and General Manager for North Africa — during the closing ceremony of Unbox in Egypt.
“Our collaboration with start-ups is a core part of our global direction, aiming to give innovative entrepreneurs real opportunities to solve real challenges for the company. This allows them to accelerate their growth and also ours as a company. Launching UNBOX in Egypt was an easy decision, because this is a start-up ecosystem that has witnessed massive growth in the past year, and we’re seeing stronger, more disruptive technologies coming out of this market, and even going global.”
Sabrine Assem — CEO and Co-Founder of UNTAP Technologies, the competition management platform — said that the response to the P&G Egypt innovation challenge was very positive in a very short time.
“UNBOX Egypt received over 50 registrations of interest on the platform and resulted in 29 complete submissions and six who made it to the finals. Applications came in predominantly from Egypt, but we also received submissions from the US, Germany, India, Canada, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and the UAE,” said Assem.
The winning companies will now embark on a deeper due diligence and solution refinement process with the P&G leadership team. If the start-up passes the evaluation phase and the solution becomes further developed, it will proceed to be awarded a pilot scope of work or proof of concept.
Ahmed Maher — Managing Director of Al-Dokan — said: “We’re so grateful for the opportunity to receive mentorship from industry leaders in P&G. This is an invaluable experience and will surely help drive our business forward.”
“Working alongside the corporate teams, streamlining, and getting first hand practical data to refine our product offering is itself an investment from P&G in the start-up and innovation ecosystem,” said Naveen Mamgain — Co-Founder and Design Head at QuickRide.
“We’re proud of this achievement, especially for the opportunity to develop a solution for a market outside of India, yet similar in many ways.”