Sainsbury’s launches two new initiatives to support entrepreneurial business

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

Sainsbury’s launched its first incubator programme for Black-led businesses
Sainsbury’s launched its first incubator programme for Black-led businesses

Related tags: Supply chain

Supermarket chain Sainsbury’s has launched two new initiatives to support entrepreneurial business within the supply chain.

It has announced the launch of the Sainsbury's Innovation Investments which will invest a minimum of £5m over the next four years into startup businesses commercialising innovative, sustainable technologies that look to reduce operational carbon emissions and water usage in the food sector.  

Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE) will scout and invest into early stage companies, not limited to the Sainsbury’s supply chain. In addition to providing much needed investment, Sainsbury’s is looking to accelerate dynamic start-ups and Small/Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in developing, testing, and deploying transformational technology that can reduce carbon emissions and water usage.

Incubator programme

This launch follows the launch of Sainsbury’s first incubator programme for ​Black-led businessesThrive with Sainsbury’s​, is a free 16-week programme designed to support Black founder-led brands on their journey from start-up to supermarket shelves essential funding, practical support and expert mentoring to participating businesses

Created and delivered in partnership with Foundervine and Mission Ventures, the programme is open to entrepreneurial food and drink businesses seeking to grow but facing one of many barriers that might be holding them back. 

Nine successful applicants to the programme will receive a welcome grant of £20,000, as well as more than 150 hours of practical 1:1 support and group learning opportunities with a variety of subject matter experts during the process

Talking about the Innovation Investments programme Patrick Dunne, Sainsbury’s Property and Procurement Director, said: “We are committed to reaching our Net Zero target of 2035 and are proud to be doing our part in leading the way to create solutions that will reduce carbon emissions and water usage not just in our stores, but across the entire sector.

Climate crisis 

We know that reducing emissions and water use is a critical part of tackling the climate crisis and to achieve this, we understand the importance of investing in pioneering technologies that can be adopted by all retailers.

On the incubator programme Silika Shellie-Manso, director of Grocery Innovation at Sainsbury’s said: “A key focus of our Win in Food strategy is to bring innovation to our customers and at Sainsbury’s we’ve always been passionate about seeking out new or emerging brands. 

"As an inclusive retailer, we believe that to offer great food and drink for everyone, it should be made by everyone. We know that despite the strength of ideas and potential amongst Black founders, often opportunities and success can be hindered by ethnicity, which is we are starting with this group of the most underrepresented founders first.?” 

Related topics: Start-ups

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