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Unilever Courts Social Commerce Entrepreneurs With New Platform

Submissions for the new initiative, called the Positive Beauty Growth Platform, are open through Oct. 19.

PARIS — Unilever said it has launched a new initiative, called the Positive Beauty Growth Platform, to partner with scale-ups and start-ups in order to drive innovation, technology and brand growth, particularly linked to social commerce in the beauty space.

The consumer goods giant broadly defines social commerce as “the integration of social media and e-commerce, using social platforms to sell and promote products and services.”

Beauty-makers are increasingly turning to social commerce as the channel booms. It’s expected to reach nearly $3.37 trillion by 2028, with the beauty and personal care segment projected to grow within at a compound annual growth rate of more than 30 percent between 2021 and 2028, according to GrandView Research Inc.

Beauty groups also look to glean learnings from entrepreneurs who are shaking up business models today and ramping up competition.

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Unilever’s new platform is overseen by the group’s Beauty and Personal Care Division, which includes brands such as Dove, Axe and Love Beauty & Planet, and The Unilever Foundry, which is the company’s collaborative innovation network.

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The Foundry has led more than 400 start-up projects, such as HelloAva, an artificial intelligence-powered skin care engine, and Helpling, a cleaning services marketplace.

“To bring this growth opportunity to life, the Positive Beauty Growth Platform is especially interested in partnering with entrepreneurs, from seed start-ups to late-stage scale-ups, in the field of livestream commerce, shoppable media, group buying and gaming commerce,” Unilever said in a statement Wednesday.

The Positive Beauty Growth Platform involves a series of pitch competitions and entrepreneurial challenges.

Submissions for it opened on Tuesday and will close on Oct. 19, with the shortlist scheduled to be revealed on Nov. 3. Then, the virtual live pitch competition will take place on Nov. 18.

Chosen teams will be given the possibility to pilot their idea with some of the group’s brands.

“Collaboration in the mega-trends of the future is a strategic imperative for Unilever,” said Sunny Jain, president of Unilever’s Beauty and Personal Care division. “Building a thriving two-way relations with the global start-up community helps power innovation and experimentation, deliver business solutions and fuel growth. The Positive Beauty Growth Platform has been designed to do just that. By harnessing startups’ disruptive approach, we will help future-proof our brands by pioneering into new spaces shaping the beauty industry.”

Unilever said this platform dovetails with the group’s Positive Beauty vision, which was unveiled in March and aims to do more good for people and the planet.

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