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Nestlé and Hatch announce winners of its first ever Open Innovation Idea Hackathon

Supporting and collaborating with home-grown, purpose-driven innovators for a healthier, greener Sri Lanka

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Nestlé and Hatch announced the winners of its first ever Open Innovation Hackathon Challenge 2021, awarding two teams for their breakthrough ideas on healthy products using local ingredients, and green initiatives. Dulanja Gamanayake, Ashan Kottagoda and Sachinthi Wirasinha won for presenting a waste management solution for the company’s packaging waste, while Sameeha Jabeer, Keshala Jayawickrama and Shanitha Mirihana won for presenting a product made with purely local ingredients and catering to local nutritional needs, with the potential to make a positive impact on the rural farming community.

“We shortlisted 12 applicants from close to 200 entries and found it incredibly difficult to pick just one winning idea from this highly competitive group. Our finalists were from diverse backgrounds, coming from all over the country, with deep local insight and rich meaningful ideas. After an intense two-day hackathon with the teams, where we mentored and guided them on how to convert good ideas to workable prototypes, we were extremely pleased with the final results. I was personally impressed by the innovative thinking and enthusiasm of all participants. Clearly, there is a new generation of interesting and open-minded young innovators in the country. It was our honour and pleasure to innovate with them for a healthier, greener Sri Lanka” said Fabrice Cavallin, Nestlé’s Managing Director.

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The two winning teams said they were excited to be the inaugural winners of the Nestlé-Hatch Idea Hackathon “We couldn’t quite believe it when we heard there were two winners. It just goes to show that there is an innovative-mindset in Sri Lanka, and potential for young people like us to make a positive contribution in shaping Sri Lanka’s future. It’s been a great experience and we’d like to thank Nestlé and Hatch for the invaluable support and knowledge-sharing we received. We couldn’t have done it without the support of our mentors. We’re inspired to keep innovating for positive change!”

"It was a rewarding experience working with Nestlé on the Hackathon, and bringing in Hatch’s process for ideation and problem solving. Having partners that are purpose-driven and ready to embrace Open Innovation, coupled with great ideas, hungry entrepreneurs, and passionate mentors, fuelled the fires that led to not just one but two big ideas being picked. I look forward to seeing these ideas implemented by Nestlé, to change the landscape of Sri Lanka forever” said Jeevan Gnanam, Co-founder of Hatch.

Nestlé partnered with Hatch to launch an Open Innovation Hackathon Challenge for local innovators, with the goal of bringing good ideas on sustainability and nutrition to market more quickly. Through the programme, it helped local innovators connect with experts and mentors to help to take their ideas from concept to prototype, applying design thinking, and lean agile methodologies. The company aims to combine the insight and ingenuity of external innovators, with its scale and expertise as the world’s largest food and beverage company to launch projects that will make a genuine difference for Sri Lanka.

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