Five MN Food and Ag Brands Chosen for New ‘Post Accelerator’
Peace Coffee, probiotic juice shot brand So Good So You, and agriculture insights firm Sentera are among the Minnesota companies selected for a new “post accelerator” program launched by MBOLD, a coalition of leading food and ag organizations working to advance industry innovation.
While many incubators support early stage startups, this new program is designed to support advancement of companies with sales between $5 and $20 million. “Bold Growth: Scaling for Success in Food & Agriculture” is a year-long program that will focus on helping participating companies with growth planning, identifying key business development opportunities, and managing financial resources. The first cohort also includes Bizzy Coffee and Katana AgriScience.
“Entrepreneurship is really at the heart of growing innovation, and we know that big businesses and small businesses need each other,” said JoAnne Berkenkamp, managing director of MBOLD.
An initiative of GREATER MSP, founding coalition members of MBOLD include many of the state’s leading food and ag companies, research institutions, and nonprofits: AgriGrowth, Cargill, Compeer Financial, Ecolab, General Mills, Hormel Foods, Land O’ Lakes, McKinsey & Co., Schwan’s Co., Target, and the University of Minnesota, in addition to food and ag accelerator Grow North and the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute which will actually run the program. MBOLD aims to address challenges in food and ag such as climate change, environmental sustainability, and growing global demand for food, and its “Bold Growth” program is a core contributor to that work.
“One of the things that startup companies need most is access to people who can help them, in the right ways, at the right time,” said Jeff Harmening, chairman and CEO of General Mills and MBOLD co-chair. “MBOLD’s ‘Bold Growth’ program unlocks that door by putting up-and-coming businesses into direct relationships with leaders at some of Minnesota’s foremost food and ag companies. It’s an important way that Minnesota can position our entrepreneurs to hit it out of the ballpark.”
Bold Growth is working with So Good So You and Sentera to identify three or four topics that each company wants to focus on over the course of the year and will help them develop a growth plan and identify how the coalition members can support them through that process, Berkenkamp said. They’ll do the same with Bizzy Coffee, Katana Agri-Science, and Peace Coffee, but those companies will choose a single focus topic each.
“We are honored to be a part of MBOLD’s new ‘Bold Growth’ program,” said Rita Katona and Eric Hall, co-founders of So Good So You (Read more about Katona in the TCB 100 and listen to the couple’s founders’ story on By All Means). “Having the expertise and networks of some of Minnesota’s brightest leaders in retail, CPG, finance, agriculture, and more to support So Good So You on our growth journey is beyond thrilling.”
Eric Taipale, CEO of Sentera, shared their excitement: “Minnesota has a food and agriculture ecosystem without equal. MBOLD is providing Sentera with a fantastic opportunity to connect with business and thought leaders in our home state who set the world standard for driving improved grower outcomes, more sustainable land stewardship, and innovation around consumer needs.”
Berkenkamp says that “Bold Growth” was created to complement the vast entrepreneurship ecosystem that already exists in Minnesota. “We recognize that up-and-coming businesses really value access and candid advice from experienced leaders in their industry, and that’s something that MBOLD has plenty of. Our intention is to add something to this ecosystem that complements the support systems already in place and that leverages the unique capabilities of MBOLD to help make Minnesota a place where growth companies thrive.”