Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Chobani Food Incubator?
Chobani’s Food Incubator is designed to help nurture, support and celebrate like-minded food startups that can positively impact our world. Our vision is to help positively shape the food industry of tomorrow. As a part of this unique program, food entrepreneurs who share our vision for Delicious, Nutritious, Natural and Accessible (DNNA) food will receive support, guidance and resources needed to provide better food to all.
Why is the company doing this?
Our company’s mission is to provide better food for more people. We want to extend our mission beyond our own products and into the communities we live in by helping socially responsible food entrepreneurs make their products available to all. We believe that together, we can challenge the food industry, improve broken systems and make a difference.
What does Chobani’s founder, Hamdi Ulukaya, say about the Food Incubator?
Hamdi dreamed up this program. We think you should hear it from the man, himself. Check out his video here: www.chobanifoodincubator.com.
What are the criteria for consideration in the program?
Since our Food Incubator is really about fulfilling our company’s mission to provide better food for more people, we’re looking for “socially responsible” food entrepreneurs—those who have a vision that’s much like our own food philosophy.
We are looking for food makers who are:
- Doing the right thing: Companies creating delicious, nutritious, natural and accessible food
- Inclusive: Products are accessible and affordable to all
- Like-minded: Companies with heart and passion that want to deliver good food to more people
- Ready to go and grow: Company leadership and key people are able to participate in the U.S. based 6-month Incubator Program from October through March
How early is “too early” for my company? All I have is a thought and a dream.
We love both thoughts and dreams and we’re excited to build a community of a passionate food startups to support entrepreneurs at various stages. The program we’ve designed for our first class is intended for those who’re already producing and, in most cases, selling their products.
Where will the Food Incubator be located?
The Chobani Food Incubator calls our SoHo office in New York City home—members of the program will spend time on-site at our Incubator Space, experience our manufacturing facilities in Twin Falls, ID and New Berlin, NY as well as visit other iconic food locations throughout the country. The program will culminate at the EXPO West Natural Food Conference in Anaheim, CA.
Are only applicants within the NYC area being considered?
Absolutely not! We’re welcoming any US-based company with participants able to travel throughout the United States.
Do I have to relocate for the program?
Not at all! Our Food Incubator experience is designed to help small companies with big hearts and ideas, regardless of their location. Our programs consist of monthly meetings at Chobani offices and manufacturing facilities as well as a few other iconic food-related locations. We do expect you to travel and participate in these programs and will help cover the costs associated with you being there - please see "financial assistance" in the next FAQ. You do not need to live near or relocate to any of these locations. Of course we hope that you will take what you have learned with you, and like us, build your company into one that not only affects your hometown, but the world beyond.
Will any financial assistance be offered to Participating Companies such as airfare, hotels and other travel costs?
We’re offering growth capital in the form of a $25,000 equity-free grant. We will also include a travel stipend to cover airfare, hotels and other expenses for on-site Chobani Incubator programs for one executive and up to two team members from each Participating Company.
What kind of non-financial support are you going to give these businesses?
Our Food Incubator companies will have access to Chobani teams, Executives, and Experts. Participants will also take part in valuable classes and workshops in Finance, Procurement, Manufacturing, Packaging and so much more.
How long is this program?
The program includes a 6-month Incubator program for one executive and up to two team members. The Incubator includes monthly meetings at select Chobani destinations across the US over a 6-month period between October and March. In between these programs, which do require participants to be present on location, we will have regular remote program check-ins along with digital support and community engagement.
When and how can I apply?
You can apply to be a part of the Chobani Food Incubator program by completing the online application at Chobanifoodincubator.com, which includes questions about your team, your mission and your company. Applications should be submitted by August 10, 2016, at 12:00pm EDT.
So I’m applying to the Food Incubator and got to the part about uploading a video – how do I do that?
Record a video that’s no more than 90 seconds long and contains your answer to the questions provided within the application website.
Providing a link to the video, hosted on YouTube or Vimeo, works great. You should upload this video as “unlisted” or “not private” to ensure we have access. If you don’t want other people to find it, mark it as “unlisted”.
We care about the quality of your answers, not the production value of your video. The video should simply be the founders talking. No screenshots or postproduction please. We want to get to know you… not your video making skills.
Before submitting the link, we recommend playing it back to yourself from the hosted provider (YouTube of Vimeo) – that’s the way we’ll view it, so this is your shot to make sure we can hear what you’re saying.
I’ve got this existing video that I want you to see. Can I submit that?
We really want to hear about your company in your voice. We can’t talk with all the companies that submit, so this is the best way to accomplish that. So for this we’re asking you and your team to look into that camera and speak right to us.
Can I speak to someone directly about the program and/or application process?
We ask all interested companies to submit their completed applications on the chobanifoodincubator.com website. Applications submitted outside of the website will not be considered. If you have additional questions or are having technical difficulties submitting your application, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Will all companies be notified if they are selected to participate?
Absolutely! We've extended the review period and we'll notify all applicants, including finalists, on or before September 21, 2016.
When will Program Applicants be contacted?
After you apply, you will receive a confirmation message confirming the receipt of your application. All applicants will be notified of their application status, including finalists, by September 15, 2016. We may be in touch prior to that date to request additional information. Yes, you can be accepted into the program without any such prior contact. So no, do not worry if we have not contacted you prior to this date and no need to send us additional outreach after your initial application submission. Eligibility of applicants will be considered only upon the Application and any materials specifically requested by Chobani.
How will you select the participants?
Companies interested in being considered, will need to complete the online application available on our website at Chobanifoodincubator.com. Applications will be evaluated against the Selection Criteria outlined on the website. We are looking for food manufacturing companies that are making Delicious, Nutritious, Natural and Accessible food—companies who manufacture amazing food products and are ready to participate and grow. Up to 6 companies will be selected to join the Chobani Food Incubator program.
I’ve read all of the above but still have a question – what do I do?
If you have a question about your application, that’s not covered here, you can write us at email@example.com. We will do our best to respond as soon as possible.