North America’s first known accelerator devoted to dairy technology businesses will open in Longueuil, located in Montreal’s south shore area.
Agropur, the Canadian dairy cooperative giant, is launching the Inno Accel program with an initial cohort of five businesses. Entrepreneur-in-Residence Patrick Gagné (CEO of OSMO Foundation), Jérôme Ferrer (chef and co-owner of the Europea group), and a group of mentors will guide the entrepreneurs.
Inno Accel is an offshoot of the Inno Agropur program, “the largest open innovation initiative in the North American dairy industry”.
The five North American businesses selected for the first Inno Accel cohort are:
1) U Main, “a Montreal company that develops do-it-yourself artisanal cheesemaking kits.”
2) Sweetaly Dolceria, “decadent entrepreneurs who make equally decadent desserts using simple ingredients and their Italian grandmother’s traditional recipes.”
3) SaltiSweet Ice Cream Factory, “the company that is revolutionizing ice cream novelties by replacing the stick with a biscuit, eliminating the unpleasant taste and environmental footprint of wood.”
4) Cheese Grotto, “an ingenious collective that makes beautiful cheese storage devices for the home to preserve fine cheeses under ideal conditions.”
5) Peak Yogurt, “cream-lovers who make delicious triple-cream, low-sugar yogurt that takes its cue from the ketogenic (or keto) diet.”
The businesses will spend four months at Inno Accel supported by two mentors – a successful entrepreneur and a member of the Agropur executive – and some 20 coaches with different areas of expertise (marketing, sales, R&D, etc.).
Those successful entrepreneurs are:
- David Côté, Co-founder, LOOP
- Daniel Drouet, Chief Operating Officer, Soko
- Alex Mensi, Co-founder, Mango
- Nectarios Economakis, Founding Partner, PNR
- Marie-Ève Prévost, Co-founder, MissFresh
Innovation is key to the industry’s survival
Agropur launched its innovation program in 2016 in order to better meet the needs of consumers for a unique dairy experience.
“The global economic environment… require companies to constantly question their ways of doing things,” said Robert Coallier, CEO of Agropur. “Thus, innovation is a necessity, even a condition for survival for the entire dairy industry. For Agropur… we absolutely have to develop new market opportunities and new alliances for dairy production with partners who are characterized by their inventiveness and agility.”
A release noted that the first Inno Accel cohort will take advantage of partnerships with the OSMO Foundation, FoodBytes! by Rabobank and the Quartier de l’innovation.
Entrepreneurs who are interested in being part of the next Inno Accel cohort can apply now on Agropur Cooperative’s innoagropur.com platform.