Kansas City, Kan.-based Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), a national farmer-owned dairy cooperative, and Sprint, Overland Park, Kan., said applications are open for the 2018 Accelerator program. The program helps accelerate and grow startup businesses.

For the 2018 program, DFA will be joined by CoBank, a Denver-headquartered cooperative bank serving vital industries across rural America, as a supporting partner. DFA, along with CoBank, will further expand their involvement by recruiting ag tech companies, as well as early stage food product companies that are dairy-focused or dairy-based. It is not a requirement that the product is exclusively dairy, but dairy must be a primary ingredient, DFA said.

“Innovation is a core value for DFA, and we are thrilled to continue our support for the 2018 Accelerator program, which will help spur new ideas and innovation for the dairy industry from farm to table,” said Kevin Strathman, senior vice president of finance for DFA. “It’s truly exciting to be on the forefront of new technologies and developments that will help drive our industry forward. Adding CoBank and their wealth of industry insight into the mix will certainly provide additional value for the entrepreneurs.”

As a sponsor for the Accelerator, DFA will provide mentorship, connections and resources to help accelerate the growth of the ag tech and food company startups selected. Features of the 90-day program, DFA said, include:

  • Targeted, strategic meetings with the corporate partner teams to discuss business development, pilots and potential sponsorships
  • Mentoring from DFA senior members and their networks, as well as from the investor, business development and entrepreneurial communities
  • Business-building sessions around product, brand, marketing and entrepreneurship
  • State-of-the-art workspace facilities provided at Sprint Accelerator in Kansas City’s Crossroads Arts District

“We are excited to have DFA back to support our 2018 program as well as CoBank as a supporting partner,” said Doug Dresslaer, managing director of the Sprint Accelerator. “As we saw from our 2017 program, having strong corporate sponsors to engage with startups is key to a successful program.”

Additional details and applications are available at sprintaccelerator.com. The 90-day program will begin on March 5, 2018.