As part of Nestlé’s focus on homegrown innovation, its Nestlé Connect University Innovation Challenge has awarded three undergraduate teams out of 200 participants for their winning ideas in nutrition and sustainability. The competition was launched in late 2020 for undergraduates from four universities – University of Kelaniya, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, University of Colombo and University of Moratuwa – to support and encourage innovative thinking among youth in these two areas.
Ms. Ms. Tharushi Mandulika, Ishanika Seneviratne, and Mr. Vindula Perera from the University of Jayawardenapura won first place; while Mr. Mohamed Shakib, Mr. Wageesh Rajapakshe, and Mr. Isuru Udayanga, also from the University of Jayawardenapura, won second place.
“It has been an absolute pleasure and privilege to interact with our young local talent, and hear their thoughts and ideas for the future. Sri Lanka has many natural resources and bright young minds, and in line with our Nestlé Needs Youth program, we want to ensure that they have the opportunities they need to reach their full potential and make meaningful contributions to the country. This competition also supports our desire to heighten the positive impact we have had on Sri Lanka over the last 115 years, via deeper insights and relevant innovations. We want to use more local ingredients and offer products that are not just more nutritious but also sustainable. We believe that we can only bring about lasting positive impact by working closely with the local community for solutions that can benefit all Sri Lankans. We look forward to many more such interactions in the future” said Fabrice Cavallin, Nestlé’s Managing Director.
All participating teams brainstormed ideas for nutritious products that use local ingredients, and initiatives that can enhance the company’s environmental sustainability. The program helped them connect with experts and mentors to take their ideas from concept to prototype, and apply design thinking and lean agile methodologies.