What is the Land O’Lakes Dairy Accelerator?
The three-month Land O’Lakes Dairy Accelerator program provides support and mentorship to dairy entrepreneurs. Land O’Lakes will select up to five entrepreneurial dairy companies to participate in an intensive training program that runs from mid-September through November 2019. Land O’Lakes will sponsor seminars and match participants with mentors who have industry experience in finance, brand building, manufacturing, sales, distribution and leadership development. Participants accepted to the program will receive a $25,000 stipend and other benefits. There will also be opportunities to meet and interact with Land O’Lakes executives and network with other participants.
Why is Land O’Lakes doing this?
Land O’Lakes, Inc. was founded on innovation by the original entrepreneurs – farmers. Land O’Lakes is committed to fostering innovation in the dairy industry and wants to meet innovative companies, spread entrepreneurial thinking, share its expertise, and actively support the growth of the dairy industry.
What are the criteria for consideration in the program?
The Dairy Accelerator is looking for United States-based entrepreneurs passionate about moving their companies to the next level. The company must utilize dairy as the primary ingredient but can use any aspect of dairy, including but not limited to: yogurt, cheese, whey or other milk-based proteins or ingredients. It is encouraged that new ideas not be focused on butter or butter-based spreads. Eligible companies should have sales of approximately $200,000 over the last 12 months.
Where will the Dairy Accelerator be located?
The Land O’Lakes Dairy Accelerator seminars, office space, and community activities will be take place in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area.
Do I have to relocate for the program?
Absolutely not! However, travel to and from the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area during the program will be required.
Will any financial assistance be offered to participating companies to cover travel and lodging costs?
Each company chosen to participate in the Dairy Accelerator will receive a $25,000 stipend to offset expenses associated with program participation including travel.
As a participant, will I have to give up equity in return for the stipend Land O’Lakes is providing?
No, Land O’Lakes does not require equity in return for participation or the stipend.
Will Land O’Lakes invest in my company?
There are no plans at this time for Land O’Lakes to invest in participating companies as part of the program. The intent of the Dairy Accelerator is to simply grow the dairy industry by helping participating companies get to the next level.
Should I send samples of my product?
The selection committee may request samples during the application evaluation process. Unless requested, please do not send.
Will I have to sign a contract with Land O’Lakes to participate in the program?
Yes, all participants will be required to sign an agreement that will provide protection for both the participant and Land O’Lakes in regards to the business idea and intellectual property
What kind of non-financial support will be provided for accepted participants?
The Dairy Accelerator program provides an intensive training program in the fall of 2019 that addresses the key challenges participant companies face in taking their companies to the next level. Participants will also be matched with mentors who have industry experience in finance, brand building, manufacturing, sales, distribution and leadership development.
I’m an employee of Land O’Lakes with a great idea and side business, can I apply?
Unfortunately Land O’Lakes employees may not apply.
How long is this program?
The program lasts for three months beginning in mid-September and culminates with presentations to Land O’Lakes leadership and employees in November of 2019. Over the course of the program, participants will be required to attend seminars in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area and participate in the accelerator community with mentors and other participants.
When and how can I apply?
Applications open in May 2019, and will be completed through our website. Check back for more information
Will all companies be notified if they are selected to participate?
Applicants will receive a message confirming the receipt of their application. All applicants, including finalists, will be notified of their application status by August 15, 2019. The selection committee may be in touch prior to that date to request additional information. Requests for additional information should not be construed as acceptance into the program.
How will you select the participants?
Companies will be evaluated against criteria including their leadership team, Land O’Lakes’ ability to add value, and the company’s vision for leveraging dairy products today and in the future. Land O’Lakes is looking for dairy companies with passionate leadership, that are poised for growth, and have a product or products utilizing dairy as its primary component.