Land O'Lakes Inc. said it is now accepting applications for the second year of its Dairy Accelerator program, which launched in 2017 and provides support and mentorship to dairy entrepreneurs. The deadline for applications is June 29, the Arden Hills, Minn.-based company said.
"The inaugural Land O'Lakes Dairy Accelerator was a tremendous success in our eyes,” said Raquel Melo, vice president of innovation and new business development. “We were thrilled to share our knowledge and expertise with the five participating companies and, in turn, learned equally as much from them, especially about the importance of creativity and agility in innovation today,"
The Land O'Lakes Dairy Accelerator is looking for United States-based entrepreneurs passionate about moving their companies to the next level. The company must use dairy as a primary ingredient, Land O’Lakes said, including but not limited to yogurt, cheese, whey and other milk-based proteins or ingredients. However, it's highly encouraged that new innovations not focus on butter.
Selected participants will receive a $25,000 stipend to attend and contribute to the three-month accelerator program in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, the company said. The accelerator program will provide mentorship and seminars that focus on several areas, including finance, brand building, manufacturing, sales and leadership development. At the conclusion of the program, participants will be able to present their proposals and new business ideas to Land O'Lakes’ leadership.
Companies that participated in the 2017 Dairy Accelerator program included Beehive Cheese, Petit Pot, Dreaming Cow, Jouzge and Yooli.
"In a short period of time we really transformed our business,” said Petit Pot’s founder, Maxime Pouvreau. “We were ready to make changes, we just didn't have the framework. The Dairy Accelerator provided the seed."
The deadline for applications is 11:59 p.m. CDT June 29, 2018. Applicants accepted into the program will be notified in late July. The Dairy Accelerator program will run from mid-September to mid-December 2018. Selected participants must agree to all terms and conditions to participate in the program. Land O'Lakes said it does not require equity from the participating companies. More information can be found at www.dairyaccelerator.landolakesinc.com.