Mars launches Seeds of Change accelerator program to support food startups

USA – Mars Incorporated has launched Seeds of Change accelerator program to support early stage food-focused companies achieve growth and build ‘a healthier and more sustainable future’.

Mars will select six U.S. and four Australian participants in areas covering start-up food brands, innovative experiential offerings, new business models, and emerging technology.

The search will focus on companies that share the Mars Food values of World Flavors, Plant-Based Eating, Easy-Meal Solutions, Responsible Food and Creating with Care.

Participants will take part in four-month mentorship program with industry experts to scale its operations and receive grants of up to US$50,000.

“We’re committed to nurturing the next generation of food innovators who are dedicated to creating and delivering healthier and tastier food solutions for more people,” said Fiona Dawson, global president of Mars Food, Multisales and Global Customers and sponsor of the program.

“The accelerator is one of the many ways Mars Food is working to bring our Purpose – Better Food Today. A Better World Tomorrow, to life.”

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Under the program led by Gary Arora, global lead of open innovation at Launchpad for Mars, the food-focused startups will be mentored by industry experts including Stephen Badger, Chairman of the Board for Mars, Incorporated; Rohan Oza, a “guest shark” on Shark Tank; and JKR, a design-led creative agency credited with launching notable start-ups.

Applications for the accelerator program are open till May 31 at www.socaccelerator.com.

“The Seeds of Change brand is a prime example of the power of starting small and growing strong,” said Gary Arora.

“Seeds of Change was founded nearly 30 years ago to preserve the biodiversity of seeds and to make these organically grown seeds more readily available to gardens and farmers.

By helping start-ups tackle practical business challenges, such as scaling a product and brand storytelling, and giving them access to our extended network of mentors and advisors, we’re nurturing the next generation of fresh ideas that will shape and enhance the meals of tomorrow.”

The program, named after the Mars Food organic seed and food brand follows the formation of Givaudan’s Mista innovation platform in December.

Mista has Danone, Mars, Ingredion and Givaudan as founding members and aims to enable start-ups and established corporations to optimise ideas, products, people and investments.

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