Mars, Inc., McLean, Va., launched SEEDS of CHANGE accelerator to help early stage food-focused companies fast-track growth to build a healthier and more sustainable future.

Named after the Mars Food organic seed and food brand, the SEEDS of CHANGE accelerator will select six U.S. and four Australian participants in start-up food brands, innovative experiential offerings, new business models and emerging technology. The search will focus on companies that share the Mars food values of world flavors, plant-based eating, easy-meal solutions, responsible food and creating with care.

“We’re committed to nurturing the next generation of food innovators who are dedicated to creating and delivering healthier and tastier food solutions for more people,” says Fiona Dawson, global president of multi-sales and global customers. “The accelerator is one of the many ways Mars Food is working to bring our purpose – ‘Better Food Today. A Better World Tomorrow.’ – to life.”

In addition to a $50,000 grant, each start-up will undertake a tailored 4-month program to scale operations. The program, led by Gary Arora, global lead of open innovation at Launchpad for Mars, will give the start-ups access to a panel of industry expert mentors, including Stephen Badger, chairman of the board for Mars, Inc.; Rohan Oza, brand builder and “guest shark” on Shark Tank; and JKR, a design-led creative agency based in New York.

“The SEEDS of CHANGE brand is a prime example of the power of starting small and growing strong,” says Arora. “SEEDS of CHANGE was founded nearly 30 years ago to preserve the biodiversity of seeds and to make these organically grown seeds more readily available to gardens and farmers. By helping start-ups tackle practical business challenges, such as scaling a product and brand storytelling and giving them access to our extended network of mentors and advisors, we’re nurturing the next generation of fresh ideas that will shape and enhance the meals of tomorrow.”