Agropur is entering the accelerator business this year with the introduction of its Inno Accel program, an offshoot of Inno Agropur, an open innovation initiative formed “to reinvent dairy and quickly bring the most exciting innovations to market.”
Inno Accel will operate like most other accelerator programs by accepting applications from qualifying startups, going through a selection process and eventually connecting the participants with mentors and experts who will help grow the ideas over a period of time.
Five startups from Canada and the US have already been selected for the first cohort. They will spend four months at Inno Accel, supported by two mentors each, including “a successful entrepreneur and a member of the Agropur executive, and some 20 coaches.” The participants are:
U Main - “A Montreal company that develops do-it-yourself artisanal cheesemaking kits.”
Sweetaly Dolceria - “Decadent entrepreneurs who make equally decadent desserts using simple ingredients and their Italian grandmother’s traditional recipes.”
SaltiSweet Ice Cream Factory - “The company that is revolutionizing ice cream novelties by replacing the stick with a biscuit, eliminating the unpleasant taste and environmental footprint of wood.”
Cheese Grotto - “An ingenious collective that makes beautiful cheese storage devices for the home to preserve fine cheeses under ideal conditions.”
Peak Yogurt - “Cream-lovers who make delicious triple-cream, low-sugar yogurt that takes its cue from the ketogenic (or keto) diet.”
The companies will also spend time with ‘Entrepreneur-in-Residence’ Patrick Gagné, CEO of the OSMO Foundation, and Chief Ambassador Jérôme Ferrer, chef and co-owner of the Europea group.
Robert Coallier, CEO of Agropur, said “Innovation is a necessity, even a condition for survival for the entire dairy industry. For Agropur … we absolutely have to develop new market opportunities and new alliances for dairy production with partners who are characterized by their inventiveness and agility.”
Participants will also benefit from the program’s partnerships with the OSMO Foundation, FoodBytes! by Rabobank and the Quartier de l’innovation, important components of the entrepreneur industry. The 2018 group is set to begin its work soon, and applications for the 2019 accelerator are already open on Agropur’s website.
Patrick Gagné said “With Inno Accel, we have a catalyst for that energy and the opportunity to work on projects in an industry that is new for us: the rich and stimulating world of dairy.”