Phases of the program

…for the teams

Phase A

Describe your idea and present the team behind it. Submit your entrepreneurial idea.

Phase B

Present your entrepreneurial idea and receive important feedback from specialized experts in order for it to be enhanced and re-shaped based on your specific market needs.

Phase C

Design the action plan of your entrepreneurial idea and receive support for the implementation of your real time Proof of Concept (PoC).

…for individuals

Phase A

Apply individually, describe your competencies that might be beneficial to the team you will join, including your vision and goals.

Phase B

Design along with your team the proposed idea. Receive guidance, feedback and coaching from specialized experts to shape your entrepreneurial proposal so as to fit in the best possible way to your targeted market needs.

Phase C

Design, along with your team, the action plan of your entrepreneurial idea and receive support for the implementation of your real time MVP.

Get to know the organizers

Running for the third time, the “Ignite Ideas” Open Innovation Program is a Nestlé Hellas Single Member S.A. initiative aiming at supporting startups on topics of mutual interest in collaboration with the Athens Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (ACEin), the incubation center of the Athens University of Economics and Business. It is an “open innovation” program, which aims at developing an acceleration process of innovative ideas in areas related to Nestlé’s business activity. Recognizing the significant presence of the Greek innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem, Nestlé invites entrepreneurial teams, start-ups, scientists & researchers to submit new business models and innovative products / services. ACEin is the intermediary partner that provides the methodology and ensures a high level of quality and trust.

Innovation has been at the heart of Nestlé Group since its beginning. The inventions of Farine Lactée, the first food for infants, by Henri Nestlé in 1867, the Perrier water that we all know by Sir John Harmsworth in 1903, Nescafé instant coffee by a team of experts in 1929 and Nespresso by Eric Favre, a Nestlé employee back in 1975, are just some of the milestones that prove that behind every bright idea there is an equally bright mind. Today, the Nestlé Group devotedly invests in Research and Development. Nestlé has the world’s largest private food and nutrition research center, involving about 5.000 people, located in more than 30 R&D facilities worldwide. Recognizing and wanting to contribute to the Greek entrepreneurship ecosystem, Nestlé Hellas is running the “Ignite Ideas” Program, aiming at identifying innovative ideas with expansion potential and supporting teams in realizing their ideas.

As part of its strategy towards innovation and entrepreneurship, the Athens University of Economics and Business (AUEB) has recently established the Athens Center of Entrepreneurship and Innovation (commonly initialized as ACEin), the University’s new incubation center. A key strategy of ACEin is to support newly established very small and small companies, operating in innovative fields, such as e-commerce, ICT, social entrepreneurship, etc. Within the framework of ACEin, these companies are offered training on how to establish and run a start-up, services from experts in fields such as accounting and taxation issues, legal issues, mentoring and networking.

Areas of interest

The challenges that need to be addressed can be grouped in 3 areas. More specifically:

“IGNITE Ideas” has practically demonstrated how valuable Nestlé’s business know-how is along with the “drive” young start-uppers have; Putting the two together is the key to a successful “win-win” entrepreneurial partnership with positive effects on our company’s social agenda.”

Nick Emmanouilidis

Nestlé Hellas CEO and Ignite Ideas Program Sponsor

“Being part of a startup in 2000, I loved the idea of creating a corporate innovation program to support Greek entrepreneurs: Ignite Ideas was born in 2018! I wish that back then we had access to such high-quality coaching, mentoring and training provided by the capable and full of energy people of Nestlé !
We are delighted to be able to support Greek startups complete their proof of concept through collaborative initiatives: 6 projects came out of round I and we are looking forward to round II, on such an inspiring topic as environmental sustainability! Stay tuned!”

Nikos Boucaouris

Nestlé Hellas Continuous Improvement / Coffees Value Stream / Ignite Ideas Program Manager

“Ignite is a really important program for our company. It is an excellent opportunity for Nestlé to come closer to young talents, to learn from them and coach them in a constructive way. Our objective is to impart some entrepreneurial thinking to our executives while at the same time getting to know promising start-up companies. Nestlé sees Ignite as an opportunity to discover new ideas early on and perhaps partner with, invest in, or learn from today’s most innovative entrepreneurs. Seeing how they think and what moves the needle for them has been fascinating”

Nikos Prapas

National Sales Directo

“Innovation, entrepreneurship and people with different ways of thinking, backgrounds & ages collaborated on the Ignite Ideas program to contribute with their idea or experience to a common goal. To turn business ideas into a final innovative product or process. It takes courage, time, passion, flexibility, perseverance and faith in an idea to evolve. And this route is a great experience.”

Alexia Laskaratou

Impulse Confectionery Manager, Nestlé

“Ignite was one of the most fruitful and interesting experiences in my professional career. It’s fascinating to discover new talents and ideas from a totally new perspective. The agility and the innovation of the teams reminded us that there are no boundaries in imagination”

Eftychia Baka

Nestlé Hellas E-Commerce manager

In this defining decade we need collaboration, ideas and actions. I think it’s great when the business takes ownership with initiatives such as Ignite Ideas, together with private and public institutions like the University of Athens to create strong partnerships. I am very happy about this initiative, a very exciting journey that we are all on and I think it should just be the start. We are all in this together and we are very determined to work with you. 

Katja Seidenschnur

Sustainability Director, Nestlé Zone Europe

Support and Awards


Support regarding coaching and space in the premises of ACEin, the incubator of Athens University of Economics & Business, for the further development of innovative business models.


Mentoring support provided by highly skilled executives from Nestlé, fully adapted to the needs of each team for the developing of pilot application in a real-moving environment with the involvement of specialized experts.


Monetary prize for the winning teams.

They said about us

We are very lucky to have participated in the Ignite Ideas program. Through the program we had the opportunity to work with experts. Their energy and support expanded our way of thinking concerning our business idea and market validation. The constructive feedback we received during the program and the pilot implementation helped us to further develop our idea.

Vasilis Stavrou

Co-Founder at Shopmind

Our participation in Nestlé’s Ignite Ideas has helped us discover alternative markets, receive valuable feedback, be exposed to new data and gain a key partner.

Stefanos Tsiakmakis

CEO & Co-Founder at BIO2CHP

Through the Ignite Ideas Program, Nestlé Hellas has proved to be a determining factor in the development of CoffeCo. In addition to financial support, the most important help has been the advice provided by the project leader and the experienced executives of the company. At the same time, the program has offered us an excellent network of external partners, thus integrating us into a professional environment in which we had to adapt. A competition that is gradually evolving in deep collaboration with a large company is the best thing that can happen to a start-up company that has just started taking its first steps.

Marios Vlachogiannis

Chemical Engineer & Co-founder at CoffeCo

Mentions of the Program in reportorial media

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