The biggest names disrupting the world of food today all began as startups. I’m talking companies like Impossible Foods, who helped revolutionize the world of burger alternatives, or Chipotle, who shook up fast food with their healthier, customizable restaurant model dozens of other chains have since replicated.
While we don’t have a crystal ball to see who that next big name could be, food giant Mars is hoping to be a part of their success with their new Seeds of Change accelerator. This four month program provides young startups with up to $50,000 in total funding while acting as a growth launchpad.
Photo courtesy of Mars
Announced recently at Expo West, the accelerator is now accepting applications for its first cycle of 10 companies. The program will take place in the USA (for 6 startups) and Australia (for another 4).
For those young companies that get in, Mars will give $25,000 in grant money, no questions asked. There’s up to an additional $25,000 up for grabs for each startup as well, with that money going towards research, marketing, or whatever other functions the business really needs to scale.
Seeds of Change Accelerator director Gary Arora is looking for mission-driven businesses that fit within multiple of five different “core pillars” that make up various values at Mars. These include flavors from around the world, plant-based products, easy meal solutions, responsible food made sustainably and transparently, and items that artisanally crafted.
Arora noted that companies of any size can make it into the accelerator, the major requirement being that a product has been developed and sold, even if that just translates to a few thousand in sales.
Mars is really looking to experiment with this, and there’s no guarantee of success in such a risky venture. Those that flourish within the accelerator and beyond, though, could find themselves at the forefront at the future of food with backing from one of the world’s largest food titans. Thus, we all should be paying close attention to the Seeds of Change program to see what results come out of it.
Applications for the accelerator are open through May 31st.