Nestlé is teaming up with non-profit Girls With Impact (GWI) to help upskill the next generation of entrepreneurs and provide access to development opportunities, mentoring and networking. Through the partnership, Nestlé provided scholarships for more than 100 women to participate in GWI’s 2023 “mini-MBA” program—an action-packed, online program that teaches future innovators key entrepreneurship and leadership skills.
The partnership is part of Nestlé needs YOU, the company’s initiative that aims to equip the future workforce with information and skills to thrive in their careers, regardless of their field or level of experience. Whether it’s supporting early careerists as they explore potential pathways, empowering the next generation of creators as they grow their businesses, or enabling future agriculturalists to solve key issues, the initiative works to help ensure thriving and resilient communities for future generations.
“The ability to innovate, think like an entrepreneur, and make decisions with confidence are key skills that are central to building a future-ready workforce, for any field or industry,” said Joanna Yarbrough, Head of R&D, Nestlé North America. “Nestlé is a company fueled by innovation, and we’re excited to leverage our entrepreneurial spirit alongside Girls With Impact to help empower these women as they prepare to become future innovators and leaders.”
This year’s program culminated with an exciting, live pitch day competition, where four participants were selected from GWI’s mini-MBA cohorts to pitch their business idea in front of a panel of judges at Nestlé USA’s headquarters in Arlington, Virginia. Prior to the pitch day, the four finalists received mentorship from employees on Nestlé’s R&D team to help prepare for their pitches and refine their business ideas.
On pitch day, the finalists and their guests began the day with an office tour, and had the opportunity to network with Nestlé employees over brunch, learn about product lifecycle and innovation with members of Nestlé’s R&D team, and participate in a Q&A with the President of Nestlé’s Global Brands division.
The four participants presented ideas for businesses ranging from supporting pet owners’ needs, to helping students find meaningful volunteer activities, to connecting fashion and culture, to accessing career resources for early careerists. A panel of judges—which consisted of three company leaders—deliberated and selected Sophia Roy as the competition winner for her idea focused on connecting students with access to volunteer opportunities.
Sophia was awarded a stipend from Nestlé to help kickstart her business idea and will also receive a four-month mentorship from one of Nestlé’s R&D team members. Following the winner announcement, the three other finalists were each awarded a stipend to help grow their business ideas, too.
“Nearly 70% of Gen Z women want to drive innovation and make a difference, whether at work or in their own businesses, yet only 36% see themselves as leaders, according to a GWI report," said Carrie Reynolds, Chief Partnerships Officer, Girls With Impact. “We’re so excited the Nestlé team created a platform to mentor, upskill and listen to the ideas of these next generation leaders. Educating them for the business world and providing access to opportunities early on can have a big impact on their futures.”
The Nestlé needs YOU initiative aims to impact more than half a million next generation talent in the U.S. by 2025 through three key pillars: employability, entrepreneurship and agripreneurship. To learn more, visit www.nestleusa.com/nestle-needs-you.