US-based global company Mars has launched a purpose-driven, food-focused Seeds of Change accelerator programme.

The programme, named after the Mars Food organic seed and food brand, seeks to support early-stage food companies to fast-track growth and create a healthier and more sustainable future.

It will select a total of ten participants, including six from the US and four from Australia.

Mars Food global president for multi-sales and global customers Fiona Dawson said: “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.”

“We’re nurturing the next generation of fresh ideas that will shape and enhance the meals of tomorrow.”

The participants will be selected based on their innovative experiential offerings, start-up food brands, emerging technology and new business models.

Additionally, the programme will select companies that share Mars Food values of world flavours, plant-based eating, easy-meal solutions, responsible food and creating with care.

The finalised participants will be part of a four-month mentorship programme with industry experts, receiving grants of up to $50,000.

Led by Mars Launchpad open innovation global lead Gary Arora, the programme will give start-ups access to a panel of industry expert mentors.

Arora said: “The Seeds of Change brand is a prime example of the power of starting small and growing strong. The 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 advisers, we’re nurturing the next generation of fresh ideas that will shape and enhance the meals of tomorrow.”