Dubai: PepsiCo has announced it will provide practical and educational support and guidance to over 200,000 social entrepreneurs across the Arab world, Sanjeev Chadha, PepsiCo MEA President told Gulf News.

PepsiCo says it finds supporting social entrepreneurs can be very helpful to promoting society and the economy overall.

“These businesses can bring remarkable changes in societies by finding ways to solve the social problems and empower people to extend their reach,” Chadha said.

He said PepsiCo has allocated over $2 million (Dh7.34 million) to develop programmes that aim to serve society by tackling major issues and generates social values.

According to Chadha, the programme will focus on four major counties: UAE, Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon. Arab entrepreneurs who have a very promising established business based on social interest will be supported by developing programme including mentoring, coaching and technical assistance on key topics such as strategy, business planning, communication and fundraising, Chadha said. Female economic engagement, empowerment of women and the host of issues related to water in the region are all potential areas in which we could work, he said.

In partnership with The Synergos Institute, PepsiCo will offer a range of services and guidance to these Arab innovators who have set up businesses aimed to better serve societal issues. The programme will last two years and be supported by the World Arab Social Innovators Program (AWSI).

AWSI is a programme provided by Synergos that offers integrated financial, technical and strategic services to social innovators as well as providing access to regional and global peer networks.

“In terms of business sustainability and growth, we found that operating with society should be an ultimate target,” he said.

Since social entrepreneurs operate with a major focus on social issues rather than a focus on the business and financial side, PepsiCo is trying to develop the social innovators skills by mobilising human, financial and political resources. While most social entrepreneurs are non profitable business, Chadha said that benefiting society should be the real objective of social innovators looking to enrolled in the programme; however, making profit is part of the process.

“Scalable and sustainable enterprises with main focus on social issues are of main criterion that shape this initiatives,” he said

Bob Dunn CEO of Synergos said: “We are both committed to helping alleviate the problems created by the Region’s demographic and the consequent issues around education and employment. PepsiCo has a strong track record and commitment to bridging this gap.”

“Social entrepreneurship can have a real impact on improving the lives of the disadvantaged in the region which faces a daunting challenge represented by a youth bulge and high unemployment rates. With PepsiCo, we can now do more and think more widely,” he added.