ITHACA, N.Y., Nov. 29, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Cornell University’s Center for Regional Economic Advancement (CREA) is accepting applications for the second cohort of Dairy Runway, an entrepreneurship program for food innovators with value-added dairy products at the ideation stage. Launched earlier this year in partnership with the Northeast Dairy Foods Research Center (NDFRC), the program offers a free, virtual curriculum that focuses on product concept and consumer discovery, along with training in prototype development and business coaching. Funded by the New York State Dairy Promotion Order (NYSDPO), the program takes participants through a process to assess their products’ desirability, viability, and feasibility before going to market.
The program’s first cohort kicked off this past summer with 10 food entrepreneurs at the early stages of product development. Participants were selected from over 25 applicants with a variety of products, ranging from flavored milks to savory yogurts and reflecting a growing consumer interest in novel dairy products.
“Our goal for this program is to increase the utilization and sales of milk and dairy ingredients produced in New York, a state known for producing high-quality milk,” said Larry Bailey, chair of the New York State Dairy Promotion Advisory Board. “The Dairy Runway program provides the knowledge and training dairy entrepreneurs need to successfully introduce new products to the market, leading to increased demand for our state’s milk.”
Up to 10 participants will be selected into the program’s second cohort which starts in late January 2024. This five-week course combines self-directed online learning activities with Zoom-based class meetings and one-on-one instructor check-ins. Virtual classes include discussions with industry experts from creative marketing agencies to established retailers.
“CREA excels at producing easily accessible, results-oriented entrepreneurship curricula, and we’re thrilled to provide this resource to New York’s dairy community,” said Jenn Smith, CREA’s Director of Food and Ag Startup Programs. “Dairy is foundational to our state’s economy and our rural communities, and introducing new dairy products that respond to today’s consumer preferences is key to keeping this sector strong.
Program participants who complete the virtual course are offered fully-funded access to Cornell’s food processing facilities, support from Cornell Food Science technical experts, and one-on-one coaching to further test the technical feasibility of their products.
“Our goal with this program is to position dairy innovators for success by teaching them the fundamentals of customer discovery and delivering to that group,” said Dr. Samuel Alcaine, director of the NDFRC and associate professor at Cornell CALS. “By providing the necessary knowledge, training and skillset to dairy entrepreneurs, we can help them avoid those common, early pitfalls innovators can experience when launching a new product.”
The application period for the Dairy Runway program closes January 8, 2024. Dairy innovators with value-added dairy products who are located in New York and New England, and committed to using New York-produced cow milk in their product, are eligible to apply.
The program will host three information sessions for interested innovators to learn more about the program’s requirements and benefits. Register for an information session: https://www.eventbrite.com/o/dairy-innovation-program-59879491743
To learn more about the Dairy Runway program and apply, visit: www.dairyinnovation.org/dairy-runway-program/
To learn more about the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, Dairy Promotion Order, visit: https://agriculture.ny.gov/dairy/dairy-promotion-order
To learn more about the Northeast Dairy Foods Research Center, visit: www.cals.cornell.edu/northeast-dairy-foods-research-center
SOURCE Center for Regional Economic Advancement, Cornell University