ITHACA, NY – The Center for Regional Economic Advancement (CREA) at Cornell University and the Northeast Dairy Foods Research Center announced they are launching entrepreneurship curriculum for dairy innovators.

Focused on product concept and consumer discovery, Dairy Runway is described as a virtual course that helps participants determine whether their value-added dairy products are desirable and feasible.

Organizers shared that the program includes entrepreneurial coaching, as well as access to New York-based kitchen incubators, and Dairy Runway graduates will be able to acquire skills and training to help them apply for funding opportunities, such as CREA’s Northeastern Dairy Product Innovation Competition.

Per CREA, as many as 12 teams will be chosen to participate in each Dairy Runway cohort, which combines online learning activities with virtual class meeting and one-on-one instructor check-ins. Plus, some of CREA’s entrepreneurs in residence will be accessible for support.

"Too often entrepreneurs struggle to successfully identify their product consumer group, which can lead to product failure," said Jenn Smith, CREA's director of food and ag startup programs. "We want to provide dairy entrepreneurs a head start by teaching them the fundamentals of consumer discovery and delivering their product to that target group. CREA is well known for producing exceptional and easily accessible entrepreneurship curricula, and we're thrilled to extend this resource to New York's dairy community."

Additional support in the program includes fully funded access to Cornell's prototyping kitchen or another approved incubation kitchen, and support from Cornell food science experts.

"New York is well known for producing high-quality milk, a premium ingredient for many value-added products,” said Larry Bailey, chair of the New York State Dairy Promotion Advisory Board. “Providing food innovators with critical entrepreneurial training will advance the state's effort to introduce more value-added dairy products and increase the utilization and sales of milk and dairy ingredients produced in New York.”

The program is accepting applications through June 22. Dairy innovators with a value-added dairy product who are located in the United States and commit to using New York-produced dairy ingredients can apply. Applications and additional information on Dairy Runway are available online at the program’s website.