Mondelez International is setting up an accelerator scheme to work with fledgling businesses in what the Cadbury maker calls “well-being snacks”.
The US giant has unveiled CoLab, a 12-week programme in which up to ten start-ups will take part, with each receiving a US$20,000 grant.
Mondelez, which said the programme is set to start in June, is looking for businesses based in the US that already generate at least $500,000 in revenue. The Oreo owner said the firms must “have high growth potential”.
CoLab will be housed within Mondelez’s SnackFutures innovation and venture arm, which was set up in 2018 to work with start-ups and help the group launch its own brands.
In a statement announcing the formation of CoLab, Mondelez said: “SnackFutures will provide participating start-ups with tools, technologies and access to networks and industry expertise, while also gaining insights, capabilities and prospective investment opportunities.”
Brigette Wolf, the head of SnackFutures, said the establishment of CoLab was in part fuelled by conversations she and her colleague had had with start-ups since Mondelez set up the innovation and venture unit.
“CoLab was created very intentionally, based on the insights and learnings we obtained first-hand from entrepreneurs,” Wolf told just-food.
“Our first year we spent travelling the globe to truly listen and learn about what the start-up community needed, and what value it could bring to our snacking agenda. We had a major presence at [industry events] Seeds & Chips, NOSH and Expo West over the last few years and we heard time and time again that there was a need for ‘big CPG’ to be responsive, flexible and collaborative in how they worked with start-ups. This is a natural progression to take those learnings and our commitment to a growth mindset to the next level.
"Furthermore, we've been walking in start-ups' shoes for the last three years, launching our own brands just as an entrepreneur would. When the Covid-19 pandemic hit and we all faced unprecedented and unpredictable challenges, we knew the need was greater than ever to up-level our engagement with, and support of, the start-up community. So, CoLab is actually coming at the perfect time."