Friday, June 9, 2023

KTN Global Alliance calls for Innovative Solutions for Small Traders and Family Owned Shops


KTN Global Alliance is organizing The Global Alliance Innovation Exchange challenge competition, where you can deliver Innovative Solutions for Small Traders and Family owned Shops. It is a great opportunity for you to win this business grant, if you are interested and eligible.

Check the Eligibility Criteria for more information.

Sponsoring Agency: KTN Global Alliance

Type of Fund: Challenge

Deadline: January 28, 2022


The Global Alliance Innovation Exchange challenge competition, delivered by KTN Global Alliance Africa, is supporting Unilever to identify innovative approaches towards new circular business models for reuse and refill models for small traders and family-owned shops in South Africa.

The most promising solution provider is selected by Unilever and may be given a commercial opportunity to deliver their solution in partnership with Unilever and receive support from Innovate UK KTN.

Plastic is very valuable. It helps Unilever to get its products to consumers safely and efficiently. It’s often the lowest carbon footprint option compared to other materials, yet far too much plastic ends up in the environment.

Global research has shown the flow of plastic into the ocean each year could triple by 2040. This must stop.

By 2025 Unilever will:

  • Halve the amount of virgin plastic used in packaging and achieve an absolute reduction of more than 100,000 tonnes in plastic use.
  • Help collect and process more plastic packaging than sold.
  • Ensure that 100% of plastic packaging is designed to be fully reusable, recyclable, or compostable.
  • Increase the use of post-consumer recycled plastic material in packaging to at least 25%.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution and to bring about change different solutions need to be considered. It requires out of the box innovative thinking and new business models, especially for reaching the informal sector in South Africa, where the packaging of products currently centers on small sachets, with an associated high plastic content, but where the reduction of plastic waste is not a driver for the customer base.

Here, Unilever wants your help. How can re-fill and re-use be applied in informal settings such as spaza shops and Dukas? Unilever is looking for innovative solutions to The Global Alliance Innovation Exchange challenge, from a business model to ideas for a specific product, using the refill and re-use approach.

  • How does Unilever develop new circular business models for reuse and refill and encourage sustainable consumption?
  • How do Unilever rethink the product as well as the packaging – for example, a big challenge was what to do with unrecyclable toothpaste tubes – by redesigning the product (toothpaste) from a paste to a solid tablet – the packaging could be completely changed!
  • Think about the product. How it is consumed, when it is consumed, how often, and for what purpose?

Think about the packaging and think about ways to redesign the entire consumer experience that supports refill and reuse. The key to this would be figuring out how to change consumers’ behaviors from a convenience culture (single-use items, pre-packaged foods, convenience meals, etc.) to a culture of responsible consumption and make the refill and reuse behavior a desirable status symbol rather than a niche activity that only ‘eco-warriors’ would engage in.

Eligibility Criteria

The following recipients are eligible:

  • Established businesses, start-ups, SMEs, individual entrepreneurs, or academics.
  • Collaborative solutions (Business to Business B2B and B2R&D) are valid applications. If collaborative solutions are being tabled a single lead organization needs to register the application. The Global Alliance Innovation Exchange organization can be either an industrial or academic partner.
  • Priority is given to solution providers based in South Africa, Kenya, and Nigeria. However, innovative solutions from other countries will be considered.

Applications will be assessed on the following basis:

  • Relevance to the topic
  • Innovative nature of the subject
  • Coherence of the proposed business model
  • Feasibility/ economic viability
  • Development potential
  • Maturity of project/solution
  • Ability to launch project quickly/Ease of implementation
  • A working model/prototype
  • Price/quality ratio

Funding Information 

  • Work with Unilever who will facilitate and support solution testing
  • Receive GBP 25,000 seed funding to work on the specific challenge. Funding will be received in installments, subject to specific Milestones (eg. project plan, mid-project report, and final report)

For more information, visit here.


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