Looking for candidates until June 25, the Shark Tank-esque Genuine California milk excelerOffering up to $ 650,000 in prizes for early-growth, high-potential dairy innovations that not only showcase cow’s milk performance and recovery benefits, but can also open the door for California dairy farmers to access the rapidly growing functional foods market, which is expected to reach over $ 275 billion globally by 2025.
“We are looking for products that have functional advantages. In the first case, related to focus, energy, endurance, strength – this stuff is more performance oriented. And then for recovery, it’s more about rejuvenation, relaxation, gut health, and even sleep. “John Talbot, CEO of CMAB, told FoodNavigator-USA.
He explained that competition is focused on functional benefits, as consumers increasingly look to their food and drink for more than just taste – a trend accelerated by the pandemic and the desire to treat food like medicine.
Beyond performance and recovery, the competition is looking for ideas or early stage products in the market that currently have less than $ 250,000 in sales to date, added Fred Schonenberg, Founder of VentureFuel, Inc.
“One of the most exciting prize packages”
To help evolve the innovations that fill this bill, the Real California Milk Excelerator is offering a series of awards that will accelerate development without diluting businesses.
“A lot of times in these programs someone takes just under 10% of your business to get in, which is a huge chunk of your business, and if you’re a really serious entrepreneur, you usually don’t care.”Schonenberg said, adding that the Excelerator was not doing this because he wanted entrepreneurs to develop their own businesses.
“So we have deliberately decided to focus on providing prizes in relation to what CMAB does, namely marketing support”,He said, noting that first place is $ 250,000 in prize money, second is $ 100,000, then each of the 12 semi-finalists will receive a stipend to help them hone marketing, packaging, research with consumers and drive sales.
“There’s over $ 650,000 in awards that are given out, but for the entrepreneurs who listen, what’s most exciting here is that every dollar spent is used to accelerate your business as well as the fact that it doesn’t. don’t eat away at your equity, ”He added.
Schonenberg also noted that the competition was not just about funds – it was also about mentoring and building a support network of leaders from some of the biggest food and beverage companies who will help entrepreneurs. “Go from where they are to where they want to be very quickly.”
The whole program is remote, which allows entrepreneurs to benefit from the Excelerator but also to continue to focus on their business, he added.
The selection of the winners is “ partly art and science ”
To ensure that competitors will make the most of the funds and resources available under the program, they must go through a rigorous review process and a tournament-style pitch competition.
“It’s part of art and science”And involves learning about entrepreneurs’ missions, current scale and traction, funding and ultimate goals, but also, of course, taste, Schonenberg said.
In mid-July, judges will announce 12 semi-finalists who will complete a mentoring program before competing on a live field on October 26-27 before the final competition on November 18.
Just because a company doesn’t win doesn’t mean its idea isn’t promising – that’s why this year the Real California Milk Excelerator created an incubator boot camp in which three of the finalists go. “Split up” to further develop their products, explore the market and grow their business.
Recognizing that the end of the competition is just the start for many entrants, the Excelerator also added a private investor event this year to help match entrepreneurs with retail buyers and potential investors.