Home » Christo Wiese-backed Shoprite joins retailers investing $125 million in startups every five years

Christo Wiese-backed Shoprite joins retailers investing $125 million in startups every five years

W23 Global: Transforming grocery retail

by Mfonobong Nsehe
Christo Wiese

Shoprite Holdings, Africa’s largest retailer, which is partly owned by South African billionaire Christo Wiese, joins forces with four other leading grocery giants, committing $125 million over five years to fuel innovation and sustainability in the global grocery retail sector. Spearheaded by the newly formed venture, W23 Global, this initiative seeks to identify and invest in pioneering start-ups and scale-ups with the potential to reshape the industry landscape.

W23 Global represents a strategic alliance between five prominent players in the grocery industry: Shoprite Holdings, Ahold Delhaize, Tesco, Woolworths Group, and Sobeys Inc. With active operations spanning continents from Africa to North America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, these retail powerhouses aim to leverage their collective expertise and resources to drive positive change.

W23 Global: Transforming grocery retail

At the helm of W23 Global stands Ingrid Maes, a seasoned professional with more than 25 years of experience in fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) and grocery retail innovation. As CEO and chief investment officer, Maes brings invaluable insight and leadership to the initiative, having previously overseen Woolworths Group’s innovation fund, W23 Australia.

Speaking on the transformative potential of W23 Global, Maes emphasized its role in providing unparalleled access to innovation and sustainability solutions tailored to the grocery sector’s unique challenges. With each retailer serving as an equal funder and partner in W23 Global, CEOs from these companies will sit on the investment committee, ensuring strategic alignment and shared vision.

CEO emphasizes affordable solutions

Shoprite Holdings, boasting over 2,900 stores across Africa, plays a pivotal role in this partnership. It is partially owned by South African billionaire Christo Wiese, who holds an 11.63 percent stake in the retailer. Pieter Engelbrecht, CEO of Shoprite Group, emphasized the importance of affordable solutions in addressing the needs of customers in South Africa, a country marked by high levels of inequality.

The collaborative efforts of W23 Global underscore a proactive approach by leading retailers to foster innovation and sustainability in the grocery sector. By investing in transformative solutions and leveraging their collective influence, these industry giants aim to drive positive impact on a global scale, setting a new standard for responsible and forward-thinking business practices.

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