NEW YORK — The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, the New York Dairy Promotion Order (DPO) Advisory Board, and VentureFuel have announced this year’s MilkLaunch startup competition. The program focuses on accelerating product innovation for dairy products in New York State with a new theme of products targeting Generation Z consumers (10 – 23 years old), with a focus on sustainability. The competition will be run by VentureFuel, the leading innovation consultancy that builds accelerators and custom programs to futurize industries and corporations.
MilkLaunch will encourage entrepreneurs, startups, or existing companies to introduce exciting new dairy products including any type of product across cheese, yogurt, liquid milk, ice cream, butter, as well as makeup, clothing, etc., that specifically target Gen-Z consumers, a group that is growing in size and purchasing power. The competition offers over $200,000 in awards, including $10,000 stipends for up to six (6) finalists to perfect their product via lab time, consumer insights, research, and elite mentorship from global experts across the consumer products, retail and dairy industries. The grand prize of $150,000 will be used to accelerate the winner(s) of the competition to get to market and drive dairy sales.
“During our first NY MilkLaunch Program we saw so many innovative products that spoke directly to younger consumers in a contemporary way that really enhanced the excitement around dairy,” said Fred Schonenberg, Founder of VentureFuel. “We also saw many novel ideas focused on sustainability and know that Gen-Z and the New York State Dairy community are both deeply passionate about sustainability, resulting in the perfect combination for this year’s focus.”
“We are thrilled to work with VentureFuel on the MilkLaunch program this year,” said Larry Bailey, Chair of The New York State Dairy Promotion Order Advisory Board. “We as New York Dairy farmers and the DPO are excited by the program’s focus on sustainability and Generation Z to help promote and sell more dairy products to this impactful group of consumers who strive for a better future.”
Manny Lubin, Co-founder of last program’s winner, Slate Milk, shared, “MilkLaunch was a great opportunity for Slate to work with industry experts. It allowed us to learn and get direct feedback from people who have been here before! We’re also still in touch with many of the mentors that were a part of the program. They’ve been super helpful along the way!”
Melissa Martinelli, Co-founder & CEO of runner-up Superfrau shared, “The NY MilkLaunch program provided me with the resources to test our consumer market and invest in continued product development. The programming and grant money catapulted us from a concept to a viable product. What followed was a rebrand and a successful DTC and Whole Foods Market launch. I’m so grateful for the insights and support I got in this program and would highly recommend it to those trying to innovate in dairy.”
The competition is intended for early-stage products ranging from ideas to existing new products. Products must contain at least 50% fluid dairy milk, have sales of less than $250,000, and the winners must commit that all milk will be sourced from New York producers for at least 12 months. Entries are open to all including dairy farms, processors, producers, entrepreneurs, academics, and ideators. Additionally, VentureFuel, Inc. will tap into its worldwide network of more than 500 venture capitalists, seed investors, founders and university labs to help discover applicants.
The DPO Advisory Board, the board that advises the State Department of Agriculture on the allocation of milk producer funds, is supporting this project as part of its 2022 goals to promote and increase the consumption of New York milk and dairy products.
Competition rules and application documents are available at nymilklaunch.com and the deadline to apply is June 15, 2022.
About The New York State Dairy Promotion Advisory Board
The Dairy Promotion Advisory Board consists of ten New York milk producers appointed by the Commissioner of the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets, who serve a three-year term. The first New York State Dairy Promotion Advisory Board was appointed in May 1972 at the request of dairy producers. The board advises the Commissioner on the disposition of approximately $15 million a year in funds collected from milk producers under the producer-approved DPO. It also makes recommendations on promotion and nutrition education programs and various dairy product and research projects. Learn more at https://agriculture.ny.gov/
About VentureFuel, Inc.
VentureFuel helps establish large organizations from global corporations to governments and non-profits innovate faster through startup collaborations. Whether unlocking growth or discovering new efficiencies, our innovation programs solve specific challenges with tangible results, discover first-to-market opportunities and help large organizations develop a repeatable innovation mindset. We are 100% independent, sourcing from our global network of the best investors, scouts, founders and academics. Learn more at: www.venturefuel.net, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram. You can hear The VentureFuel Visionary Podcast on Apple, Spotify Simplecast or anywhere you listen to podcasts.
–New York State Dairy Promotion Advisory Board