Land O'Lakes, Inc., has launched its Land O'Lakes Dairy Accelerator, a program that will provide support and mentorship to food entrepreneurs who want to grow and drive innovation in the dairy products space.

"Land O'Lakes was founded on innovation by the original entrepreneurs—farmers," said Raquel Melo, vice president of Innovation and New Business Development at Land O'Lakes. "By launching the Dairy Accelerator program, we commit to fostering continued growth in the dairy industry by supporting entrepreneurs and assisting their efforts to bring new dairy companies to the next level."  

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 utilize dairy as a primary ingredient but can use any aspect of dairy including but not limited to: yogurt, cheese, whey or other milk-based proteins or ingredients. However, new innovations cannot focus on butter. Eligible companies should have sales of approximately $200,000 over the last 12 months.

Participants will have access to personnel and seminars focusing on finance, brand building, manufacturing, sales, distribution and leadership development. In addition, the Land O'Lakes Dairy Accelerator program will include access to supply chain, marketing, business development and leadership development experts on an as-needed basis.

At the conclusion of the program, participants will have the opportunity to present their proposals and new business ideas to Land O'Lakes leadership. The Land O'Lakes Dairy Accelerator program's focus is on growing the total dairy industry and does not require equity from participants.

To help participants in this commitment, they will receive a $25,000 stipend that will cover the cost of travel to required program sessions.

The deadline for applications is 11:59 p.m. CDT July 8. Applicants accepted into the program will be notified in early August. The accelerator program runs from mid-September to mid-December 2017 and will be held in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area. Selected participants must agree to all terms and conditions in order to participate in the Land O'Lakes Dairy Accelerator program. More information can be found on the website.