Agropur, Canada’s most important dairy cooperative, is proud to launch Inno Accel, North America’s first accelerator for dairy businesses. The first cohort of five young entrepreneurs from Canada and the US promises to help reinvigorate and reinvent dairy with the support of Entrepreneur-in-Residence Patrick Gagné (CEO of the OSMO Foundation), Chief Ambassador Jérôme Ferrer (chef and co-owner of the Europea group), and a strong network of mentors to help propel their growth.
Inno Accel is an offshoot of the Inno Agropur program, the largest open innovation initiative in the North American dairy industry. It matches Agropur’s resources with high-potential start-ups in order to reinvent dairy and quickly bring the most exciting innovations to market. With initiatives such as its international Inno Challenge, its Inno Capital co-investment fund, its in-house Inno Fabrik process and the www.innoagropur.com open innovation platform, Agropur is taking the lead and is ready to take on the world.
Fledgling North American businesses team up with seasoned mentors
The five North American businesses selected for the first Inno Accel cohort are:
- U Main, a Montreal company that develops do-it-yourself artisanal cheesemaking kits
- Sweetaly Dolceria, decadent entrepreneurs who make equally decadent desserts using simple ingredients and their Italian grandmother’s traditional recipes
- 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
- Cheese Grotto, an ingenious collective that makes beautiful cheese storage devices for the home to preserve fine cheeses under ideal conditions
- Peak Yogurt, cream-lovers who make delicious triple-cream, low-sugar yogurt that takes its cue from the ketogenic (or keto) diet
The group will spend 4 months at Inno Accel, disrupting convention and thinking outside the box. Each business will be 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.) who will provide guidance and help them develop their enterprises in an environment that resembles real-life conditions in the business world and the food industry.
The 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 to explore new avenues in a fast-changing business landscape and keep focusing on better meet the needs of consumers for a unique dairy experience.
“The global economic environment which are highly competitive, and the global economic context, including the AEUMC, require companies to constantly question their ways of doing things. Thus, innovation is a necessity, even a condition for survival for the entire dairy industry. For Agropur, which is celebrating its 80th anniversary and is resolutely turned towards the future, we absolutely have to develop new market opportunities and new alliances for dairy production with partners who are characterized by their inventiveness and agility.” says Robert Coallier, CEO of Agropur.
Prestigious partners, world-class entrepreneurial ecosystem
In addition to Agropur’s expertise, the nearby pilot plant in Saint-Hubert and the brand new co-creation room at Agropur’s head office, the members of the first Inno Accel cohort will have the benefit of partnerships with pillars of the entrepreneurial ecosystem such as the OSMO Foundation, FoodBytes! by Rabobank and the Quartier de l’innovation. Inno Accel will therefore be able to build on its strong connections with world-leading innovation platforms and foodie entrepreneurs to achieve its global ambitions.
“With Inno Accel, we have a catalyst for that energy and the opportunity to work on projects in an industry that is new for us: the rich and stimulating world of dairy.” says OSMO’s Patrick Gagné, Ambassador and Entrepreneur-in-Residence.
Entrepreneurs who are interested in being part of the next Inno Accel cohort can apply now on Agropur Cooperative’s innoagropur.com platform.