DENVER — Chipotle Mexican Grill is launching an accelerator program to help scale food-focused start-up ventures in the areas of alternative farming, food waste and recovery, and plant and alternative products. Dubbed the Chipotle Aluminaries Project, the seven-month-long program will include mentorship and coaching from industry leaders. Up to eight ventures will be selected to participate in the first cohort.
“Chipotle has been committed to the future of food with integrity since opening our first restaurant 25 years ago,” said Brian Niccol, chief executive officer at Chipotle Mexican Grill. “Since then, Chipotle and its Foundation have changed how customers and the industry think about food, which is part of our mission to cultivate a better world. By sponsoring the Chipotle Aluminaries Project, we’re looking to advance the work of the next generation of entrepreneurs who are disrupting the food landscape. Are you using technology to make an impact? Are you dreaming up the next sustainable food innovation? If so, we want to support you and help share your story.”
Participants will receive support from chef and restauranteur Richard Blais and entrepreneur Kimbal Musk, plus Chipotle executives including Curt Garner, chief digital and information officer; Caitlin Leibert, director of sustainability; Laurie Schalow, chief communications officer; and Tressie Lieberman, vice-president of digital marketing and off-premise.
“The Chipotle Aluminaries Project is part of a fresh perspective from the Chipotle Cultivate Foundation, which we founded in 2011 to extend our commitment to creating a more sustainable food future,” Ms. Leibert said. “Chipotle believes that philanthropy is more than check cutting, and this is the first of many efforts from the Cultivate Foundation of investing in new ways.”
The Chipotle Aluminaries Project will be launched in partnership with Uncharted, a 501(c)(3) organization. Companies may apply beginning Sept. 12 at uncharted.org/program/chipotle-aluminaries-project.