This year's Open Innovation theme attracted dozens of applications from five countries, the California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB) reported. All have the opportunity to secure a place in a three-month program that offers access to funding, mentorship, investors and more, including a network of resources provided by the CMAB.
Four of the eight participants will receive $30,000 each during a live pitch event in November. But the grand prize of $100,000 will go to the one business that demonstrates the most promising growth within 12 months of the final. The whole program, organized in partnership with VentureFuel, is worth $500,000 in funding and resources and has over the past four years worked with more than 45 start-ups from various industries including food and beverage, textiles, and personal care.
All eight finalists will have access to a group stipend and network of resources to help them scale and refine their product. The octet will participate in a mentorship program where the group will be mentored by founders, investors, corporate execs and experts across design, marketing, sales, manufacturing, distribution, farming and processing. Past mentors have included executives from the likes of Unilever, UNFI and Mondelez, CMAB explained.
Scroll through the gallery to find out who are the eight members of the cohort and see their products!