Why is Mars Food running the Accelerator?
We are committed to nurturing fresh ideas that will shape and enhance the meals of tomorrow. We’re confident also that some of the entrepreneurial magic we uncover will inspire and challenge us.
What are the benefits of the program?
What are the minimum requirements for start-ups applying for the program?
You must have an ACN (Australian Company Number) and have been incorporated in Australia for more than 1 year.
Does it cost anything to apply?
There is no cost to apply and no cost to successful applicants joining the program.
My Business is not based in Australia, can I apply?
For 2019, we are taking applications from Australian based start-ups only.
What criteria are under consideration for selection to the Accelerator?
The main criteria can be found here >
What ‘stage’ of company is a good fit for this program? Am I too early? Am I too late?
We’re open to all applications. You may already have a product or service in market and have specific challenges you need to address. Or you may still be at idea or concept stage working on something to address new trends or emerging consumer needs. Or you could be somewhere in between. Our assessment and selection process will ultimately determine which start-ups will most benefit from joining the Accelerator program.
Do we need to have a product that fits a current Mars format (eg, stand-up shelf-stable pouches)?
No. We are looking for a wide range of projects from food entrepreneurs that are looking ahead and shaping the food of tomorrow.
Can we still be accepted to the Accelerator if we have already received some funding?
Absolutely. We do ask that you disclose amounts, but typical seed-funding is no obstacle to applying.
When will Program Applicants be contacted?
Will all companies be notified over their application status?
We will notify all applicants regarding the outcome of their application on or before July 29th, 2019.
Can I speak to someone directly about the program and/or application process?
If you have additional questions or are having technical difficulties submitting your application, please send an email to email@example.com
What is the program structure and timeline?
Where will program events be held?
Locations for events will be confirmed once we know where the successful Start-ups joining the Program are based. We anticipate at least some of the program events will be based at Mars Food Australia’s head office and manufacturing facility at Berkeley Vale on the NSW Central Coast.
What does ‘bespoke’ programming mean?
We’ll work with each of the individual start-ups to design a program that combines a shared curriculum with multiple hands-on mentoring touchpoints. We’ll select specialist Mentors and Experts to support each start-up’s journey through the program. Our partners will be available to provide support and some components of the $50K grant funds will be available to support this.
Who attends the Accelerator sessions?
At least one founder must be available for each session and up to two may attend. Our preference is that at least one founder is dedicated to attend all sessions.
What financial assistance, if any, is offered to participating companies?
Up to $40,000 AUD will be provided to each participating company in the form of equity-free grants (please see more detail on Financial Grants below, and also the Terms and Conditions for complete details). Additionally, Mars will cover reasonable travel expenses for successful start-ups participating in the program. Where possible we’ll line up events in locations near participating start-ups to minimise cost and disruption to personal / family life.
How do the Financial Grants work?
Winners will be eligible to receive up to $40,000 (AUD) in grant funding to be used to help accelerate their business plan. Grants must be used for the benefit of the grant recipient’s business which was the subject of the pitch competition. Grants are not transferable and may not be substituted. Grant recipients are solely responsible for any federal, state, and/or local taxes resulting from grants.
Grant recipients may be required to submit documentation or other proof in response to a request on behalf of Mars to confirm appropriate use of the funds. All details related to the SEEDS of CHANGE™ Accelerator shall be within the sole discretion of Mars.
Does Mars expect equity in my business if I participate?
Neither Mars nor any of its Accelerator program partners require any equity. For more detail see the T&C’s >
Information disclosed or created under the Accelerator program that is not generally known to the public will not be disclosed or used other than for Program-related activities or as otherwise agreed by the parties involved. Mars will have the right to disclose relevant information to third party service providers only to the extent reasonably regarded as necessary to administer the Program. (see full Terms and Conditions)
The $40,000k grant is non-equity based and does not entitle Mars or anyone else involved in the program (advisors, mentors, partners) to any ownership of the participant’s IP or any value that’s created during the program.
It is anticipated that, through their participation in the program, graduating start-ups may be presented with investment opportunities. It is a condition of entry into this program that Mars has ‘first rights’ to the IP developed through the program. Participants must make every effort to commercialise IP developed in the program within three years. If they fail to do so Mars has rights to take up that IP.
I’m an experienced food operator – how else can I get involved?
Great to see your passion for helping food entrepreneurs. If you are a seasoned food operator or food company service provider, and open to helping Accelerator companies, please reach out to us via:firstname.lastname@example.org
I’ve read all of the above but still have a question – what do I do?
If you have a question about your application or the Accelerator program that’s not covered here, you can write to us at email@example.com. We will respond as soon as possible.